Jimmy Reed spent Friday afternoon parked in front of the computer, watching the MLB draft’s second day unfold online. He was at home, with his parents and adviser, and occasionally took walking breaks, just to stretch things out.
Through round five, Reed saw few college seniors picked, and began to grow concerned. Then, two senior pitchers went early in the sixth round, back-to-back at picks 174 and 175. Ten picks later, Reed only heard the announcer say, “The St. Louis Cardinals pick University of Maryland…” before he began screaming.
The Cardinals, an organization with a proven reputation for developing pitchers, selected Reed 185th overall on Friday. The lefthander, who stitched together a 2.33 ERA this season, tossing 22 strikeouts over his last two outings and winning consecutive ACC pitcher of the week awards, the first ever Terp to do so, said he also spoke with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals that morning.
“I’d been texting the Cardinals area scout that I’ve spoken to for most of the year, back and forth throughout the day, keeping me posted,” an elated Reed said by phone. “I guess it all came to fruition right there.”
A crafty workhorse who throws four pitches for strikes, including a deadly cutter that counts as his swing-and-miss pitch, Reed was picked in the 21st round by the Yankees last year but elected to return to College Park for his senior season. He said he hoped all year that the Cardinals would draft him, thanks to their track record on the mound. “Even in the last couple weeks, the younger guys that have come up and had a direct impact, the success of the organization is unbelievable,” Reed said.
Reed said he expects to sign within the next several days, once the draft wraps up. St. Louis has affiliates in the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League, as well as a Rookie League team in Johnson City, Tenn. For now, the area scout had some simple advice.
“He said just enjoy it for now, we’re really happy for you, can’t wait to get you here, Reed said.
Reed becomes Maryland’s highest-drafted player since pitcher Brett Cecil in 2007 (1st round, 39th overall to Toronto Blue Jays), and is just the fifth Terp in 20 years to go higher than 200th.
“The guy is a professional pitcher,” Maryland Coach John Szefc said last month. “A lot of young guys struggle with the whole mental side of things. He admittedly used to.
“He’s really helped us to grow the program while he’s been here. To come here as a new coaching staff and have a legitimate senior, Friday-night arm has made our transition a lot smoother than if he was not here, to say the least.”