I had the opportunity to speak with Chris Reed before his Nov. 8 Arizona Fall League game.
Edited for sanity, because nobody wants to read “uh” and “um” and laughs and transitions and crap.
Pitching in the AFL is always difficult, so are you making any conscious adjustments to that or is it just specifically working on things beyond results?
“Yeah, we’re working on a few things. Working both sides of the plate and throwing off-speed in fastball counts. And I’d say adjusting to the hitters too because that’s who you’re going to be facing in the future.
Is there a mental aspect to that due to the increased competition or the hitter’s environment there in Arizona?
“Guys are looking for fastballs here, so you have to throw off-speed in fastball counts, and you have to be consistent with the fastball. Also, taking a mental approach where you have to pound the zone and make them hit it, hopefully right at somebody.”
As far as adjustments go, were there any mechanical or mental things that the Dodgers have made with you or wanted out of you?
“Yeah, I made a few mechanical adjustments. We’re trying to work them out because we didn’t want to make them in-season, so I’m working on that here. It’s more about repertoire and facing hitters here, but yeah, a few mechanical adjustments.”
Is there anything more specific you can say about it?
“Staying behind the ball and taking my hand behind me versus towards third base, shortening my arm path up, and hiding the ball a little better.”
You talked about pitch selection and what not, so as far as that’s concerned, what pitch do you have the most confidence in and what pitch needs improvement going forward?
“I’m most confident in my two-seam fastball, that has been my go-to pitch, both inside and outside. It’s been my best pitch and my best command, but also, I’ve been working on getting my slider back, so when I have that, I’m most confident in using that in two-strike situations or even like getting ahead of lefties. I like to use that pitch. In terms of what pitch I need to work on the most, it’s my change-up, but I felt I came a long way with that here so I feel I can use that next season as well.”
As far as your change-up goes, do the Dodgers have an organizational philosophy to teach that or is that more of your own work?
“We’re working with individual coaches that throw similar to you or have an idea of what you’re going through, so I’ve been working with Matt Herges here in terms of putting more pressure on the inside of my middle finger and the circle part of the change-up. So that’s what I’ve been working on, is just putting more pressure on the inside of the ball.”
Chris Reed was great to talk with because he seemed conscious of what I wanted to know and even provided extra details to questions without me asking. I thought it was a pretty revealing conversation because I was personally interested to see what the Dodgers were having him do mechanically so I could look at it later.
The last question I asked was because I know readers here and commenters at True Blue LA have speculated that the Dodgers hate the change-up and don’t teach it, speculation primarily based on the lack of pitchers that use the pitch in the system. However, it seemed to me that if you do throw the pitch, they don’t mind and find coaches that can work with them. Maybe it’s a new switch in organizational philosophy? I dunno, but if they did have something against it before, it certainly didn’t seem like there was an organizational mandate on it now.