Spring Roundup: Mark Reed

<B>MESA, Ariz.</B> - Mark Reed is entering his first full season as a Cubs prospect. The 2004 third round draft pick feels he will likely start the season at Class Mid-A Peoria after spending a majority of Spring Training with the group.

"I would love to start the season there," Reed said. "It would be awesome and I know some great players who came out of that city."

Reed was drafted as a catcher last June out of Bonita High School in La Verne, Calif. He bats from the left side and has been honing his overall catching skills this spring. One of his mentors has been the Cubs' roving catching instructor and former Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little.

"Working with Grady has been unbelievable," Reed said. "How many catching prospects work with a former big league manager to learn how the game works? It's been great."

Reed is pretty familiar with the major leagues, primarily thanks to his older brother, Jeremy, who plays center field for the Seattle Mariners. Jeremy was with the White Sox until he was shipped to Seattle last summer. The whole experience of being traded and then promoted to the majors has shown the Reed brothers the different opportunities that can be presented in baseball.

"It has been a pretty amazing experience for him (Jeremy)," Mark said. "He wouldn't have made it to the big leagues with the White Sox; it worked well for him. I know it's different for me since I am coming straight out of high school and therefore am younger than he was. It's awesome to have somebody to call on. Everybody has had different experiences."

The soon to be 19-year-old Reed played with the Arizona League Mesa Cubs last season in rookie ball. He only appeared in 10 games, but had a .351 batting average with seven RBI in his brief stay. With a limited amount of minor league exposure, Reed knows he has quite a bit of work ahead of him.

"I don't strike out too much," Reed said. "Defensively, I have come a long way. I feel good going into this year."

The adventure of being a professional baseball player really excites Reed. The expectations are certainly there with the Cubs selecting him in the third round, and his brother, a 2002 second round pick out of Long Beach State, moving up so quickly in the Mariners' organization.

"It is something you have to be physically and mentally ready for," Reed said. "You are going to go through some tough times, but you have to work your butt off to get to the next level."

To add to Reed's motivation, he has never been to Wrigley Field. The teenager will face a complete season of minor league competition at whichever level the organization places him at. It will be an educational experience for the catcher as he progresses through the Cubs' system.

"There is nothing like it (being a baseball player)," Reed said. "I wouldn't want to do anything else. I would love to play at the highest level. It is one of the biggest dreams I have ever had."

Scott Sabin is the contributing editor of Inside The Ivy. Write to Scott at scott@insidetheivy.com.

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