Reynolds A Cardinal Bright Spot
Despite mediocre numbers, Stanford righthander has raised draft stock by proving his durability, effectiveness
PALO ALTO, Calif.--It’s hard to pinpoint the evolution of Stanford righthander Greg Reynolds as a durable and effective starter.
Maybe it was the 11-inning, 10-strikeout performance against Baylor in last year’s NCAA regional that gave Reynolds confidence (even though the Cardinal was eliminated with a 4-3 loss). Perhaps it was Reynolds’ work for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League last summer, where he posted a 1.70 ERA, striking out 34 in 53 innings. Maybe it was the fact that Stanford coach Mark Marquess needed a Friday night starter to take the place of lefty Mark Romanczuk, who signed as a fourth-round pick last summer.
Or maybe it was simply Reynolds’ time.
Reynolds’ numbers this season aren’t necessarily dominating. He’s 4-3, 3.66 with a 67-21 strikeout-walk ratio in 79 innings for a 19-20 Cardinal club--last in the Pacific-10 Conference at 5-10--trying to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993.
Still, Reynolds’ season and overall package have been good enough for the scouts attending his starts. They are enamored with the junior’s athletic 6-foot-7, 225-pound frame and his ability to throw a fastball in the low 90s on a consistent basis. He’s shown flashes of dominance, such as in his complete-game three-hitter to beat Arizona State 7-1 in the first game of an important conference series win the last weekend of April.
Reynolds also throws a changeup and recently switched from a slider to a true curveball. He throws it slower to get strikes early in counts and snaps it off harder to get strikeouts in advantage counts.
“Greg has that kind of stuff to go in the first five rounds of the draft,” Cardinal pitching coach Tom Kunis said. “He can throw three pitches for strikes. He has learned how to deal with pressure.”
Serving as a Friday starter in the Pac-10 brings plenty of pressure this season, as five league members join Stanford in sending a potential high-round pick to the mound in series openers. Thus, the already offense-starved Cardinal averaged less than three runs per game in eight of Reynolds’ starts.
“It doesn’t bother me if we don’t score many runs,” Reynolds said. “It makes me a better pitcher. Pressure comes with being the Friday night pitcher. I’m always going against everyone’s No. 1. I have a smaller margin for error.”
“Greg has great poise,” Marquess said. “His command is better than when he was a freshman. It’s a maturing process. Almost every time he has gone out there, he has given us a chance to win the game.”
Reynolds, who pitched 27 innings as a freshman and 51 innings as a sophomore, said the maturity has been more mental than physical.
“I have all the physical tools to be successful,” Reynolds said. “It took me all this time to get the confidence.”
“Greg is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the staff,” Cardinal catcher John Hester said. “He has pitched in some bad luck. His record isn’t indicative of how he has pitched.”
Reynolds excelled in three sports and was offered several Division I football scholarships as a quarterback out of Terra Nova High in Pacifica, Calif. He hit 17 home runs over his final two seasons, and as a pitcher was considered a second-round talent and the fourth-best prep prospect in Northern California. He ultimately fell to the Phillies in the 41st round because of his Stanford commitment and an up-and-down Senior season.
“Greg Reynolds was ‘The Franchise’ for us,” Terra Nova coach Ron Krieger said. “But, more importantly, he was a great team player and loved the game. He was always respectful of the game and where he had come from.”
Now Reynolds, an avid golfer and fly fisherman, gets his second chance at the draft and should join a long list of Stanford pitchers taken high over the past decade. One crosschecker, while noting that Reynolds’ fastball tended to flatten out, said Reynolds’ combination of a clean delivery, repeatable mechanics and above-average velocity made him a cinch for the first round.
“I’m not worried about impressing scouts,” Reynolds said. “I’m more about being a team player.” John Reid writes for the Palo Alto Daily News