Rockies select Stanford standout with second overall pick |

Rockies select Stanford standout with second overall pick

DENVER ” Greg Reynolds is a power pitcher with an open mind.

The Stanford junior who was selected second overall by the Colorado Rockies in Tuesday’s draft will start refining his sharp sinker in anticipation of pitching at Coors Field, where he won’t be able to rely on his mid-90s fastball.

“In order to be successful in the Rockies organization, you’ve got to be able to sink a few balls and get a lot of groundball outs and keep the ball out of the air,” Reynolds said. “There’s no denying that. It will be a fun place to pitch.”

Before beginning his pro career, Reynolds is chasing another goal: a trip to the College World Series. Reynolds (7-5 with a 3.36 ERA) will pitch in the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend.

During a conference call with reporters, the ping of aluminum could be heard in the background as Reynolds took a break from Stanford’s practice to talk about his future.

“It will be fun to hear the crack of the bat rather than the ping of the bat,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds, who turns 21 next month, struggled his first two years at Stanford but turned it around his junior season thanks to his mastery of a two-seam fastball.

“I was getting hit around the park a lot and something had to change,” Reynolds said. “I just had to develop a little bit more sink.”

Reynolds posted impressive wins this season over California’s Brandon Morrow and Washington’s Tim Lincecum. Morrow was selected fifth overall by Seattle and Lincecum was taken 10th by San Francisco.

“Those were two of the biggest games on my calendar,” Reynolds said. “In order to be one of the best, you have to beat all the best around you. Luckily, I had the opportunity to pitch against some of the best pitchers in the country. It definitely brought my game to a new level.”

Those two wins helped send Reynolds’ stock soaring.

Reynolds completed five games and struck out 99 batters while walking just 28 in 120 2-3 innings this season. He said he knew he would go high in the draft after he started throwing more strikes in the second half of the season.

“One of the most important things I did was starting to get quick outs. Getting those quick outs allowed me to go deeper into games, and ultimately get a few complete games under my belt,” Reynolds said. “It was getting command of my fastball and keeping it down in the zone and letting hitters get themselves out with it.”

Sounds like the perfect recipe for success at Coors Field.

The Rockies loved Reynolds’ command.

“He really established himself as a premier prospect this season, and we’re very excited about this selection,” Rockies senior director of scouting Bill Schmidt said.

The selection of Reynolds broke the Rockies’ three-year string of selecting infielders with their first pick of the draft. The last pitcher Colorado selected was lefty Jeff Francis in 2002.

Reynolds, of Pacifica, Calif., was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the 41st round in 2003. He chose Stanford instead.

There were 18 rounds completed Tuesday. The Rockies drafted eight pitchers, six outfielders, two infielders and two catchers. Of the picks, four were high school players, including outfielder David Christensen (Parkland, Fla.) in the second round.

Schmidt said the Rockies struggled with the decision to select Reynolds or Cal State Long Beach third baseman Evan Longoria, who was selected by Tampa Bay at No. 3.

“There’s always a need with pitching,” Schmidt said.

The Rockies feel confident in signing Reynolds, unlike right-hander Matt Harrington in 2000, who was the seventh pick but never signed with Colorado and re-entered the draft a year later.

“We’re looking for people who, one, want to play for the Rockies, two, want to get out and play right away,” Schmidt said. “He’s made it known he’d like to get his professional career started.”

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