Dodgers designate ‘my boy’ Chris Reed for assignment

I’m not a fan of Dodger players failing. I’m certainly not a fan of Dodger prospects failing. But I’ve been saying basically since the day he was drafted that Chris Reed wouldn’t enjoy a ton of success in relation to his draft position. On Friday, he was designated for assignment by the Dodgers after they claimed reliever Preston Guilmet off waivers.

This isn’t a surprise to me. When I saw Guilmet get claimed, one of the first players who came to mind who was wasn’t long for the 40-man roster was Reed. He has struggled mightily this season between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Tulsa. His ground ball rate has taken a dip (1.59 GO/AO in 2014 to 0.81 in 2015) and he isn’t missing bats anymore (5.5 K/9) and walking hitters at a career-worst rate (5.7 BB/9). That is a recipe for baseball disaster. The low points came with Tulsa on June 4 (2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 1 K) and June 14 (1/3 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 5 BB). Combined, that’s a line of 1 IP, 4 H, 10 R, 6 BB and 1 K. Nowhere in professional baseball does that play.

Reed, 25, was the Dodgers’ 1st-round pick in 2011 out of Stanford University. He was a curiously frustrating pick at the time. Here’s what I wrote about it then:

“This was about the worst-case scenario. Reed, while having a chance to start, is projected by some to be a reliever. I just don’t understand the logic behind this pick (other than financial issues).

He has a fastball (92-95 MPH), slider and changeup. The Dodgers have to try him as a starter right now, as he was the No. 16 overall pick. I wouldn’t hold my breath on him working out in that role.

Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com said he was overdrafted. He also said signability and the ability to get a deal done quickly was key in this pick.

I am admittedly biased against college pitchers with limited ceilings, but I don’t much care for this pick. And it’s probably not entirely fair to analyze this pick as much until Reed has a chance to show his stuff, but color me unimpressed. “

Everything there checked out at the time and checks out now. Reed had some good performances in the system, most notably when he threw six no-hit innings in April 2014. Other than that, he’s been an afterthought for the most part in the rotation and bullpen.

It’s quite the fall for the former 1st-rounder, especially when you see some of the guys on the 40-man roster who avoided the ax: Ronald Torreyes, Chin-hui Tsao, and Andy Wilkins. Not exactly a who’s-who of great players there.

While publications like Baseball America have been pretty high on him since he was draft (ranked 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th from 2012-15), I haven’t been as bullish on him. Here are my rankings of Reed since being drafted:

  • 2012: 19
  • Mid-2012: 6
  • 2013: 8
  • Mid-2013: 7
  • 2014: 8
  • Mid-2014: 8
  • 2015: 23

Eh, I guess I’ve been a little higher on him than I thought. But those Top 6-8 rankings are sandwiched between a 19 and 23, for what it’s worth. While he isn’t officially out of the organization yet (a team might claim him and take a chance on the arm), I wasn’t throwing him much love in my soon-to-be-published 2015 midseason Top 30 prospects list.

Biggest faller: Reed (-∞)”

Let’s go back to 2011 for a moment. I’ve seen in numerous places, “The Dodgers passed on Sonny Gray to take Chris Reed.” While this is factual, there was zero chance Logan White and Co., was going to draft Gray.

If you look at White’s collegiate 1st-rounders while with the Dodgers, you’ll notice a trend:

Notice a trend? They’re all tall pitchers with solid frames. Gray checks in at 5’11, 195 pounds. While hindsight is indeed 20/20, there was no evidence or history that would predict the Dodgers selecting Gray at No. 16 in 2011. If not for the financial constraints put in place by Frank McCourt, I’d bet a substantial amount of money the Dodgers would have popped a guy like Robert Stephenson (6’2, 200 pounds, projectable right-hander out of Alhambra High School) or Taylor Guerrieri (6’3, 195 pounds, Spring Valley High School). That was the Logan White m.o.

It was a poor selection, but I refuse to blame anyone more than McCourt. Remember, the Dodgers dished out $5.25 million (spread out over five years) to Zach Lee the year before. Coupled with the refusal to spend on the international market, his refusal to go significantly over budget in the draft hurt the Dodgers’ chances of landing quality players, too.

But back to Reed. He’s left-handed, so his baseball career is far from over. He can hit the low-to-mid-9os and has shown an (at least) above-average slider in the past. Perhaps he makes it all the way through waivers and is outrighted. Perhaps the Dodgers find a trade partner for him. Perhaps he’s released (unlikely). All of these are possibilities. It’s just painful for the team to have missed so incredibly badly with its first pick in a draft that has been labeled one of the best in the last decade.

Reed was probably the worst 1st-round (supplemental 1st round included) selection White made in his time as Dodgers’ scouting director. It’s hard to get by the Hochevar mess, but he did for 1-1 the next year to the Royals and Hochevar’s backing out of the agreed upon deal wasn’t White’s fault. There are rumors he wanted Clay Buchholz instead of Hochevar, but I’m not sure how much I believe that. Ethan Martin wasn’t great, but at least he made the major leagues. Miller gives him a run because of the position change and the fact he retired earlier this year.

This was inevitable, especially with the infusion of talent since draft day and July 2. Reed had next to no trade value and was struggling in his fourth stint in Double-A (after getting demoted from Triple-A). A change of scenery could be what’s best for him. I’m not happy he failed as a Dodger top pick and prospect, but I’m happy I don’t have to worry about him being “my boy” anymore.

Onto the next: Kyle Farmer.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.