Twins' Reed making transition from college look easy

Twins' Reed making transition from college look easy

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The transition from college to professional baseball is supposed to come with bumps in the road, but don't tell that to Jake Reed.

It's likely a rough patch will come, but so far, the Twins' fifth-round pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft is off to a great start in his first season as a professional.

In 20 games split between rookie ball and Class A Cedar Rapids, Reed posted a 0.29 ERA and struck out 39 batters in 31 innings.

That success has continued right into the Arizona Fall League where Reed was named the Player of the Week in Week 1 and has appeared in six games, while tossing eight scoreless innings.

"It's been fun," Reed said. "It's been a good experience, just using a lot to my advantage. There's a lot of guys here that have a lot more experience than me in pro ball, so I've been picking their brains and trying to see how much I can get out of this."

While Reed's stats may suggest the transition from the University of Oregon to the professional ranks has been seamless, there have been a number of adjustments.

"It's just made me focus a lot more on each pitch," Reed said. "In college, when you're throwing mid to upper 90s, you can throw it right by guys. But, once you get to this level, especially in the AFL, where all these guys are seeing that every at-bat in Double-A and Triple-A, you can't do that. You've really got to pitch and focus on every pitch. I think that's really going to help me moving forward."

In addition to focusing on his approach to different hitters, Reed has also been using the Fall League to improve his changeup and breaking ball.

"I've been picking guys brains working on different grips and stuff like that with guys that have more experience than me," Reed said. "It's been great since I've been here with all the cerebral stuff and getting better at those sorts of things."

During the regular season and in the Fall League, Reed has pitched out of the bullpen as he was a closer in his final season at Oregon.

However, that has not always been the case for the right-hander.

During his freshman and sophomore seasons, Reed was a starter and went a combined 14-10 with a 3.19 ERA in 34 starts.

However, prior to the 2014 season, Reed gave up starting games and started closing them.

In 2014, he pitched 37 innings and posted a 1.95 ERA while collecting 13 saves.

Reed doesn't know what his role will be in the future, but he does know he prefers to pitch out of the bullpen.

"Not at all," Reed said when asked if he misses starting. "I don't miss it at all. Coming in at the end of the game, or whenever, I don't know what my role is going to be in the future, but coming out of the bullpen is so much better. I like it a lot."

But why?

"The adrenaline is something I like," Reed said. "Getting the ball in big situations and feeling the trust the team has in you is something I really like. I like getting the ball in clutch situations."

William Boor is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.