Budget-Conscious Dodgers Reach To Draft Reed

LOS ANGELES—The Dodgers couldn't afford a first-round pick this year, so they didn't take one. They used their first selection at No. 16 on Stanford lefthander Chris Reed, a pitcher few projected to go that high.

Reed struck out 48 batters in 49 2/3 innings this year, saving nine games in 11 tries, posting a 2.54 ERA and holding opponents to a .201 average. He went 8-2, 3.96 in 53 games in his college career.

Those are decent numbers, but probably not worthy of a first-round selection. However, the Dodgers say Reed has a hard slider, a good changeup and a fastball that touches 95 mph—a repertoire that could play well in the bullpen or the rotation if the team elects to try him as a starter.

It was the ninth time in 10 drafts under scouting director Logan White that the team took a pitcher with its first pick.

Under the most optimistic scenarios, Reed was thought to be a supplemental first-rounder. So when the financially troubled Dodgers took him at No. 16 it fueled speculation the team was over-drafting a player who might come cheaply. White answered that criticism directly.

"This guy," he said "is a legitimate pick for us."

Reed is being advised by agent Scott Boras. The last time the Dodgers drafted a Boras player this high was in 2005 when they took Tennesse righthander Luke Hochevar in the supplemental first round and failed to come to terms with him. A year later Hochevar went to the Royals with the first overall pick.

White called Reed "a fresh arm with a high ceiling" who teams might have overlooked because, as a reliever, he wasn't on the field much. But White, who conceded he is working under a budget, said the Dodgers have "been on him for a long time . . . I like him a lot."

Last summer the Dodgers busted their budget in the draft by luring righthander Zach Lee off the football field at Louisiana State with a franchise-record $5.25 million bonus. They don't intend to go beyond slot money of about $1.5 million with Reed.