Strasburg congratulates drafted ex-teammate
From one Aztec to another, phenom calls Reed after pick
Stephen Strasburg spent a good deal of time this week preparing for his long-anticipated Major League debut and then dazzling the baseball world when he finally got on the mound.
But the Nationals' right-handed pitching phenom also took a few minutes to check in on a friend, former teammate and possible successor this week, proving he has the humanity to match his athleticism.
When Addison Reed -- the third-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in the First-Year Player Draft and Strasburg's closer at San Diego State for two years -- was drafted, it was only minutes before his phone rang and he recognized the voice of Strasburg, the sudden celebrity, on the other end of the line.
"He called me right when I got drafted," Reed said Monday prior to Strasburg's electrifying 14-strikeout win over the Pirates. "It meant a lot to me. I know that he's got a lot on his plate today with his start, but he was the first person to call me, right when my name was called. He just said, 'Congratulations.' It meant a lot."
Coming into this past offseason, there was a Strasburg-sized hole in San Diego State's rotation, and it was Reed who was tapped by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn to fill it.
Reed had been a lights-out closer for the Aztecs, with two pitches he could locate and turn to in order to get hitters out.
In his sophomore year, Reed set a San Diego State and Mountain West Conference record with 20 saves in 25 appearances, with a 0.65 ERA to boot.
It was as a closer for the Aztecs that the 6-foot-4, 215-pound hurler realized he could potentially have a future in baseball beyond college.
"My freshman year of college was when I thought there might be a future in it, and if I kept working hard, someday [my dream of becoming a professional] would come true," Reed said.
Reed worked on his endurance in the offseason with the hope of becoming a full-time starter. He adjusted well, going 8-2 with a 2.50 ERA over 11 starts, coupled with two complete games.
For his part, Reed credits his time as a starter for his development as a pitcher.
"I think just more experience," Reed said of his junior-year improvement. "I mean, I was just getting out there more, being out there and throwing more innings, and facing more hitters. I learned how to be out there longer."
The MLB.com scouting report states that Reed has an 89-92 mph fastball when starting, and touches 96 out of the bullpen.
He is also armed with an above-average slider and changeup.
The White Sox have not said whether they plan to develop Reed as a starter or a reliever, and he is not about to make that decision for them.
"Honestly, I feel comfortable doing both of them," Reed said. "I closed the first few years, so I feel real comfortable there. I feel really experienced in that role. Starting this whole year was kind of different for me, but I got comfortable with it. Whatever they want me to do I'm going to do."
Reed just wrapped up his junior season with San Diego State, so it should be mentioned that he could conceivably return to college baseball, but it seems unlikely, given his excitement toward being drafted.
"Speechless," Reed said. "Still, people are asking me, and it's still so surreal. It's been a dream of mine since I was born. Baseball's the only thing I've ever played and obviously what I've been working my whole life for, and now the day it comes, it's just awesome, [an] indescribable feeling."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.