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DeSclafani proving perfect fit in Cincinnati

MLB.com

Anthony DeSclafani is right at home in the Cincinnati Reds' organization.

For starters, the Freehold, N.J., native hails from Colts Neck High School, a mere 20 minutes from the hometown of teammate Todd Frazier. Then there are the college connections. DeSclafani and his new manager, Bryan Price, share an alma mater in the University of Florida.

Anthony DeSclafani is right at home in the Cincinnati Reds' organization.

For starters, the Freehold, N.J., native hails from Colts Neck High School, a mere 20 minutes from the hometown of teammate Todd Frazier. Then there are the college connections. DeSclafani and his new manager, Bryan Price, share an alma mater in the University of Florida.

Not that that earns DeSclafani -- or "Disco," as he's known -- any extra brownie points with Price. He doesn't need those. Price was impressed enough by DeSclafani's baseball skills that he offered the 25-year-old a spot in his club's starting rotation out of Spring Training.

That's an opportunity DeSclafani hasn't had before, and one that he has taken advantage of. In his first four starts, he has gone 2-1 with a stellar 1.04 ERA.

Video: CIN@CHC: DeSclafani on 3-2 win over Cubs

Originally, DeSclafani was selected by Boston in the 22nd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Opting not to sign, he went instead to Florida, where he was drafted again, this time by the Blue Jays in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft. DeSclafani pitched for Toronto's Class A club in 2012 before being shipped to Miami in the blockbuster 12-player megatrade involving notables Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson.

"I was there for two years, made a lot of good friends and met a lot of good people," DeSclafani said. "I kind of feel like I found myself in that organization and caught stride with pitching and stuff like that. I kind of just felt, mechanically, things started clicking. Just from a mental aspect, I was just trying to be consistent mentally and go out there every day and try to prove myself. Along with feeling good mechanically and stuff like that, I felt like things just started gaining traction and felt like I was heading in the right direction."

DeSclafani noted that a few of Miami's coaches were especially helpful.

"With the tips that they gave me, I just used them and they kind of let me figure my way out, and it ended up working out," he said.

Ultimately, DeSclafani wound up going 2-2 in Miami over 13 appearances in 2014. Though his 6.27 ERA was a bit high, he did appear in relief versus the Reds in August, pitching one inning and striking out two while giving up one hit. That caught Cincinnati's eye, as did DeSclafani's 2.67 ERA in six starts in the Arizona Fall League thereafter.

Video: MIA@CIN: DeSclafani whiffs two in scoreless inning

DeSclafani was dealt to the Reds in a Dec. 11 trade headlined by starter Mat Latos.

"I love it here in Cincinnati," DeSclafani said. "Everyone's been really good to me, the coaching staff has been awesome, the vibe around the clubhouse is great and I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity here. And it's a dream come true to be part of a starting rotation.

"I think it'll be good. I know what I'm capable of doing, just from the past couple years. I know when everything's feeling right. I try to keep a positive attitude and just do what I know I can do best. I think it'll all work out."

So far, so good.

"When I came into this year, it wasn't a guarantee that I was going to be in the starting rotation," DeSclafani said. "The opportunity was definitely there, but you still have to go out and prove to the coaches and everyone else that you are who you are. If anything, it was definitely stressful coming to this camp."

But the nerves have disappeared, according to the righty. Is it something about playing in Cincinnati that's different?

"I don't know, I just feel relaxed," DeSclafani said. "It's really hard to describe, but I feel relaxed over here. It's really all I can say, I just feel comfortable. Sometimes it's just a different fit."

Change, after all, seems to be suiting DeSclafani well.

Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Anthony DeSclafani