Name: Evan Reed
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: December 31, 1985
The Rangers selected right-handed pitcher Evan Reed in the third round of the 2007 MLB Draft after the hurler had one of the top seasons for a closer in all of college baseball.
A starting pitcher for much of his collegiate career, command issues forced Reed to the bullpen before his junior season at Cal Poly. The hurler responded by posting 11 saves and a 3.19 ERA. His command improved throughout the season – one factor that led to him shooting up the draft boards.
With a strong 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame and above-average stuff, Reed certainly has the tools to be a starting pitcher. Because of this, it came as no surprise when the Rangers chose to slowly stretch him back into a starter.
"Our scouts felt he needed some time as a starter to develop," said Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Rick Adair. "We brought him along slowly and he's up to five or six innings now and he's pitching well."
After beginning with short-season Spokane, Reed was eventually promoted to Single-A Clinton, where he made four regular season starts. The California native averaged five innings per outing. Despite moving up a level, Reed continued to post dominant numbers. The prospect surrendered just nine hits in 20 innings with the LumberKings, leading to an opponents batting average of .136.
Not surprisingly, Reed was pleased with his debut season.
"I have just gotten real good teaching with the pitching coaches I've worked with," replied Reed. "I feel like I've had pretty good results and the reason I've had good results is because I have gotten some good workouts in the bullpen. It has allowed me to throw more strikes and attack the hitters."
The Rangers focused on getting Reed to throw more strikes and attack hitters when he joined the fall instructional league club over the offseason. Reed made some mechanical adjustments that he hopes will help solve his command issues.
"Sometimes I seem to leak a little of my energy across my body," he said. "They tried to straighten me out a little bit in order to allow all my momentum and power to go straight to home plate. Hopefully in the end it'll also help my command."
Already armed with a strong fastball-slider combination, Reed entered professional baseball lacking a consistent changeup. But the 22-year-old also used his time at instructs to work on the pitch.
"I actually messed around with some different grips," said Reed of his changeup, "and I'm starting to feel one that's feeling comfortable coming out of my fingers. The changeup is such a feel pitch, I need to consistently throw it and integrate it into my long toss."
Reed enters his first full season knowing he will start, but the righty is still unsure as to where he will be pitching when spring training breaks.
"That's up to them," Reed replied when asked where he would begin next year. "This will be my first spring training. I've heard what to expect, and I've got a lot to look forward to. But as of now I have no idea."
Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
Reed's fastball ranges anywhere from the high-80s to mid-90s, but it generally sits in the low-90s. Although he has had trouble commanding his fastball in the past, he does a good job of keeping it low in the zone. The righty surrendered just two home runs during his collegiate career and didn't allow one in his professional debut. Reed pitches off his fastball and is aggressive with it – one quality that made him an outstanding closer in his junior year at Cal Poly. He also works with a low-80s slider – his most advanced offspeed pitch – and a changeup. Reed focused on developing his changeup when he was at fall instructional league this past offseason.
Projection: Reed moved to the bullpen at Cal Poly because he was unable to find consistency as a starting pitcher. There is always a chance he could become a late-inning reliever, but the right-hander has the stuff and body to be a starting pitcher in professional baseball. Reed will remain a starter unless he proves he is unable to do it. Reed's ceiling could be as a number two starter in the big leagues, but he projects as more of a middle-of-the-rotation guy.
2008 Outlook: After showing he was too advanced for the short-season Northwest League last summer, Reed moved on to the Class-A Midwest League and surrendered just nine hits in 20 innings. The Rangers may believe Reed is advanced enough to begin 2008 at High-A Bakersfield, though he could start at Single-A Clinton, where he would be a candidate for a quick promotion. If Reed is able to iron out some command issues, he could reach Double-A Frisco by the end of the season. Reed and Alabama product Tommy Hunter are arguably the two most polished pitchers drafted by the Rangers last summer and both have the opportunity to progress through the system relatively quickly.