Tacoma Rainiers center fielder Jeremy Reed has had a busy July. First there was the blockbuster deal that shipped the 23-year-old White Sox prospect along with catcher Miguel Olivio, and fellow prospect Michael Morse to the Mariners in exchange for Freddy Garcia and Ben Davis.
Then there was the MLB All-Star Futures Game held July 11 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Reed was one of three Mariners that played in the game, joining right-hander Felix Hernandez, and outfielder Shin-soo Choo.
When Reed returned to Tacoma he barely had time to breath before he had to repack his bags and embark upon a murderous 12 game, 12 day road trip, their longest such stretch of the season.
At every stop along the way, Reed has had to deal with an onslaught of media, watching his every move, asking him on a daily basis whether or not he thinks he will get the call-up to Seattle. In typical So Cal fashion, Reed shrugs off the pressure and takes it all in stride.
"You know it's all baseball," Reed said, referring to his new surroundings. "Baseball is basically you have to go out there and perform. I don't really notice very many differences (between Chicago and Seattle) as of right now. The people are all great, the coaching staff is good, and the players are good. That's all that matters to me."
So why are the media and baseball consuming public so enamored with this Reed character anyway? Is it because he rooms with Anaheim 2B Adam Kennedy in the off-season?
It's because, "he's the complete package," as Rainiers manager Dan Rohn said, "an all-around player. He can play probably all three outfield spots, he's a smart base-runner, a line-drive, gap-to-gap guy, with occasional pull power. I like what I see." Rainiers fans have to like what they see too.
Reed has been a sparkplug for the Rainiers since joining the club, a genuine impact player who can change the outcome of a game with any given plate-appearance. In 28 games with Tacoma this year the former second-rounder has lived up to the hype, hitting for average(.295) and power (three homers, three triples, six doubles), stealing bases(5), and intimidating runners with his work in center field.
Reed doesn't buy into the hype surrounding himself, however. He just puts his head down and works, putting it all out on the field like the players he looks up to.
"I always watched Griffey and guys like that," Reed said. " I watched Mark Kotsay when I was growing up down there in that area of California."
"I model my game after a lot of hard working players; Mark Kotsay, one of them, Darren Erstad, one of them, Adam Kennedy; those kinds of players—But I would always watch Griffey in the outfield."
Hard work is something that is more than evident in Reed's day-to-day play on the field. The blue-chipper, however, might sometimes get over anxious during games and work too hard.
During a game on August 1, Reed's box score read 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. But what his line doesn't say is that he was put-out at second base on two separate occasions attempting to leg out doubles. While both hits resulted in RBI for Reed, they each also resulted in him shaking his head on a long walk back to the dugout.
Luckily, both the Mariners organization and Dan Rohn feel Reed's demeanor and willingness to work hard far outweigh any flaws in the youngster's game.
"Jeremy's greatest strength is his attitude." said Rohn. "He goes out and tries to beat you every time he goes out on the field". Reed's athletic ability doesn't hurt either. When at his best he is a true five-tool player.
So what does the So Cal kid need to work on to get to Safeco Field? "Just consistency overall in my whole game," Reed said. "Hitting and staying consistent at the plate, I feel pretty good (right now), but when I feel like I am staying consistent at swinging at good pitches, that's when I feel like I'm the best."
Rohn thinks the blossoming center fielder needs to work on his consistency as well.
"I think he just has to continue to be consistent" Rohn said. "Bottom line he's just at the point now in his career where you just need to put consistent numbers up and continue to play the game the way he's playing, there's not a whole lot to improve on, just consistency."
If Reed can take his own advice, he should be something very special in just a few years time.
For now the former Chicago White Sox Minor League Player of the Year is just hoping for a call from Seattle, while he knows very well that the decision is out of his hands.
"I hope to be (in Seattle) soon," Reed said. "But I know that's not my call, that's somebody else's call. But whenever they're ready, I feel like I'm ready."
Sean Duade is currently a Junior at the University of Puget Sound and welcomes your feedback at SDuade@ups.edu
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