His solution, a sinking fastball to go along with the high, hard one that he fires between 91 and 94 miles per hour, made him a key member of a Cardinal team that has advanced far in tournament play. It also led the Colorado Rockies to take him with the second overall pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.
"I struggled a lot my first two years here, and I had to make a change, and that was the development of my two-seam fastball," Reynolds said. "A lot of it was just by default. I was getting hit around the park a lot my first two years, and something had to change."
Reynolds, 20 years old and 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, is 7-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 17 starts this season for the Cardinal, who will play at Oregon State in a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional starting Saturday. In his career, Reynolds is 13-9 with a 4.16 ERA in 50 appearances, including 27 starts.
Reynolds, a junior, is precluded from officially signing with the Rockies until after Stanford's season is complete, but sources tell MLB.com that the parameters are in place for him to receive a $3.25 million signing bonus. That would eclipse the club record, $2.75 million that went to another former Stanford right-hander, 2000 second-round choice Jason Young.
Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt declined to comment on negotiations, but said Reynolds has indicated he wants to get his professional career started. In 2003, the Phillies selected Reynolds, then a senior at Terra Nova High School in Pacifica, Calif., in the 41st round. The Rockies also followed him during that period.
"He was recruited for multiple sports, for football [as a quarterback], and ultimately chose Stanford," Schmidt said. "He was a guy we were aware of from high school."
Going into the draft, the Rockies had been expected to select North Carolina left-hander Andrew Miller if the Royals did not take him with the top overall pick.
That's what happened when the Royals chose right-hander Luke Hochevar, a former Tennessee pitcher who re-entered the draft when he declined to sign with the Dodgers last year. He is pitching for the independent Fort Worth Cats.
The Rockies have for several years have stayed away from protracted -- and often expensive -- contract or bonus negotiations with draft picks. This year, they backed away from Miller. Colorado kept an eye on several collegiate pitchers and one position player, Long Beach State infielder Evan Longoria.
In fact, many draft experts expected the Rockies to take Longoria, a teammate of the club's top 2005 choice and the seventh pick overall, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. But Reynolds' name began being connected to the Rockies late last week.
On Monday, word circulated that the Rockies felt confident enough after pre-draft talks with Reynolds to choose him. Longoria went to Tampa Bay with the third overall pick and Miller went to Detroit at No. 6.
Rockies all-time first-round selections
|1992||John Burke||RHP||27||University of Florida|
|1993||Jamey Wright||RHP||28||Okla. City Westmoore HS|
|1994||Doug Million||LHP||7||Sarasota (Fla.) HS|
|1995||Todd Helton||1B||8||University of Tennessee|
|1996||Jake Westbrook||RHP||21||Danielsville Madison HS|
|1997||Mark Mangum||RHP||18||Kingwood (Texas) HS|
|1998||Matt Roney||RHP||28||Edmond (Okla.) North HS|
|Choo Freeman||OF||36||Dallas Christian HS|
|Jeff Winchester||C||40||Metaire Bishop Rummel HS|
|1999||Jason Jennings||RHP||16||Baylor University|
|2000||Matt Harrington||RHP||7||Palmdale (Calif.) HS|
|2001||Jayson Nix||SS||44||Midland (Texas) HS|
|2002||Jeff Francis||LHP||9||U. of British Columbia|
|2003||Ian Stewart||3B||10||LaQuinta (Calif.) HS|
|2004||Chris Nelson||SS||9||Stone Mountain Redan HS|
|2005||Troy Tulowitzki||SS||7||Long Beach State|
|Chaz Roe||RHP||32||Lexington Lafayette HS|
|2006||Greg Reynolds||RHP||2||Stanford University|
"I was very excited," Reynolds said. "Being out here on the West Coast and growing up on the West Coast, I definitely wanted to stay out here. The Rockies were one of the only teams in the National League West that were in the top 10 and were considering me. I couldn't be more happy with the way things worked out."
Since their inaugural draft in 1992, the Rockies have made 19 choices in either the first round or as "sandwich picks," which are awarded between the first and second rounds as compensation for losing free agents to other clubs. Reynolds is the 11th pitcher and fourth collegiate pitcher among those draft choices.
In addition to having command of both fastballs, Reynolds also possesses a curveball and changeup that potentially could be solid against Major League hitters.
Reynolds won late-season matchups with a couple of the collegiate pitchers the Rockies were considering -- California's Brandon Morrow, who went fifth overall to Seattle, and Washington's Tim Lincecum, who went 10th to San Francisco.
The key to winning important games was his ability to get quick outs. For example, in NCAA Regional play against North Carolina State, Reynolds forced 12 ground-ball outs and struck out seven in a 7-2, complete-game victory.
"He continued to get better throughout the season, and I would say he's probably pitched as well as anybody the last two months of the college season," Schmidt said. "We scouted him last summer in the Cape Cod [League]. It wasn't just what he did this spring. There's history."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.