Changes made Reed attractive to Dodgers

Changes made Reed attractive to Dodgers

PHILADELPHIA -- London-born Chris Reed and his family moved to California when he was 3, and he grew up a San Fernando Valley boy.

While pitching for Reseda's Cleveland High School, he pitched at Dodger Stadium in the city championship.

So, naturally, he's a Dodgers fan, right?

"Not really. But my favorite team was not the Giants," said the Dodgers' new first-round pick, obviously well versed in rivalries for his potential new employer.

Draft Central

Reed, a left-handed reliever, was the Dodgers' surprise choice at No. 16 overall, having blossomed his junior season after struggling his first two seasons. He had nine saves in 11 opportunities this year and a 1.80 ERA in 27 relief appearances over 45 innings, and is currently continuing his season in the NCAA Super Regionals. After his first two seasons at Stanford, Reed had a 7.04 ERA, only 25 appearances and more walks than strikeouts.

Scouts believe he took his game to a higher level by playing in the Atlantic Collegiate Summer League. Reed has a more cerebral explanation, befitting a Stanford marketing/finance/engineering major.

"I changed how I viewed the game and how I prepared by body and mind to pitch," said Reed. "It's been a process."

The process has only just begun. A closer at Stanford, Reed is determined to be a starting pitcher. And the Dodgers will give him that chance, which is why the club is cautiously optimistic Reed will sign and forgo his senior season at Stanford.

"I just prefer starting," said Reed, who had only one start this season -- roughed up for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. "I like the routine of starting. My body is better suited and my stuff as well. It's hard to develop a changeup as a reliever, and that's probably my favorite pitch. My body fits starting perfectly."

Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White concedes that Reed would undoubtedly get to the Major Leagues faster as a reliever.

"If that's what's best for the team, I'm willing to do that," Reed said. "But I love starting."

Reed was on the first-round radar of very few teams a year ago, but he said he was convinced he'd be a first-round pick. He's 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and, as he points out, left-handed.

"I set that goal about May of last year," he said. "The dramatic turnaround from where I was, I worked hard to get here. I had to commit myself to be serious about baseball and do everything to get better and be the best. When I went back East I got more innings in and worked on my mechanics and my slider and changeup. I just changed my mental state of mind. Baseball was what I loved to do and if I was serious, I had to give everything I have."

He said he pretty much willed it upon himself because he "knew [he] could outwork everybody else," although he gave an assist to Stanford pitching coach Rusty Filter, for "helping me understand the mental aspect and to come to the yard prepared every day."

Of course, there remains the not-insignificant detail of agreeing to a contract. His adviser is Scott Boras, which makes Reed the first Boras client the Dodgers have drafted since White drafted Luke Hochevar in 2005. Those negotiations turned disastrous, as Hochevar did not sign while Boras and White waged a war of words.

Reed was asked if the history between the Dodgers and Boras concerned him.

"Not particularly, no," he said. "The business decisions will be made later."

Reed said he was prepared to have his father handle negotiations, but instead chose Boras to handle the "business aspect."

"In the end," he said, "it's my decision."

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at 9 a.m. PT Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.