Born May 20, 1990 in London, England, though he grew up in southern California. Attended Stanford University. Drafted in the first round (16th overall) in the 2011 First Year Player Draft. Signed August 12, 2011 for $1,589,000. Listed at 6'4 and 195 lbs. Bats and throws left-handed.
After going undrafted out of high school, Reed enrolled at Stanford and pitched his first season as a freshman in 2009. He didn't get much action, recording only 7 outs while allowing 4 runs and 2 walks which led to a 15.43 ERA. The following season was an improvement but not much of a success. In 20.2 innings, Chris posted a 6.30 ERA with 15 walks compared to 14 strikeouts.
Reed's big break came in the summer of 2010. While pitching in the Atlantic Collegiate League, when he posted a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings, striking out 23 but also walking 13. That success continued into his junior year in 2011, where he pitched significantly more and was very effective. In 52.2 innings (one start), Chris struck out 52 and walked just 17. He also allowed only 1 home run, just the second of his career at Stanford. His ERA was an impressive 2.56.
Reed is the rare college junior who's considered something of a project. Much like 2009 first rounder Aaron Miller, Chris didn't have a lot of experience or success leading into his draft year. They also pitched mainly out of relief in their college careers. However, because of his size, athleticism and repertoire, the Dodgers plan on using Reed as a starter.
Reed negates some of his height by incorporating something of a drop-and-drive delivery with a ¾ arm slot. His mechanics are sound and his arm action is clean. He's athletic enough to repeat his delivery, but still struggles with them on occasion due to lack of experience. Consistency in this area will be key to his development.
Chris throws both a four and two seam fastball, with his velocity ranging from the high 80s to the mid 90s. I'd expect a subtle drop in his velocity during his first full season as a starter, but he could gain stability as he builds up endurance and stamina. Both pitches are good offerings, as his four-seamer features late bore and his two-seamer has sink and run.
In addition to his fastball, Reed features two secondary offerings with potential. His mid 80s slider is already a plus pitch when he locates it, as it breaks late and hard. His changeup could also develop into an above average offering, as he already shows feel for the pitch.
The main thing for Chris to improve is his command. Due to some inconsistency in his delivery, he has trouble throwing strikes. He also needs to focus on throwing his changeup a healthy amount since he didn't need to use it much as a reliever in college.
Average. While Reed has the tools to succeed, the Dodgers haven't had a lot of success converting relievers to starters. They tried with Josh Lindblom, who suffered a shoulder injury and lost velocity before eventually returning to the pen. They also tried with Jon Meloan, who began his pro career as a starter, moved to the pen, returned to starting and was never the same.
There's not a lot of precedent, but Chris is fairly unique. He has a very fresh arm, having pitched less than 100 innings since 2009. He has the physical abilities to succeed and his makeup is another definite plus. What it boils down to is how well he develops in terms of repeating his delivery and whether he can maintain his velocity with an increased workload.
The plan is to send him back to High A to begin the season, where he'll join his fellow first rounders Aaron Miller and Zach Lee in what could be a dominant rotation. I expect some growing pains, but this year is really about building strength and preparing him for life as a starting pitcher.
Prospect Countdown: #9 Chris Reed
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