Cincinnati Reds: Getting to Know Cody Reed

Of the three pitchers the Cincinnati Reds acquired for Johnny Cueto, 22-year-old Cody Reed is the furthest away from the big leagues, but his stock is rising rapidly.

A 6-foot-5, 220 pound left-hander, Reed was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Northwest Mississippi Community College. He debuted in rookie ball later that year, splitting his time between starting and relieving. His initial taste of professional baseball likely left a bitter taste in his mouth, as he went 0-1 with a 6.07 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, and a 25-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 29.2 innings.

Reed spent all of 2014 in Low-A Lexington and had more unimpressive results on the mound, posting a 3-9 record with a 5.46 ERA and 1.68 WHIP, striking out just 6.2 batters per nine innings and walking 3.9.

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Although he had struggled through his first two minor league seasons, Reed’s potential was still recognized as he was rated the Royals No. 29 prospect by before the 2015 campaign. Since then, Reed has displayed that potential and then some with a breakthrough year.

Reed has put up career-best numbers across the board, including a high in strikeouts (7.9 K/9) and low in walks (2.4 BB/9). He started the season in High-A Wilmington and owned Carolina League hitters. In 13 appearances (10 starts), Reed went 5-5 with a 2.14 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, earning him the starting nod for the Carolina League in their All-Star game on June 23. He pitched a scoreless inning in the game and was promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas afterward.

He’s had mixed results at the Double-A level, but was recently named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week following a seven-inning, two-hit shutout in his last start.

It seemed as though Reed was a throw-in to the deal for Cueto, but his performance in 2015 has caught the attention of many in baseball. He was named the Reds eighth-best prospect in’s recent midseason rankings and Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper called him the “sleeper” of the trade.

Per Cooper, Reed owes a lot of his success to an improvement in his mechanics, fixing a hitch in his delivery that was causing him to fly open and have control problems. Here’s more from Cooper on Reed’s improved arsenal:

“With a better finish to his delivery, he developed the ability to locate more consistently down in the zone, allowing his 92-95 mph fastball (which touches 97 mph at its best) to play better down in the zone. It has late life when he elevates it as well. Reed flashes an above-average slider that he can now throw for strikes as well as using as a chase pitch. And his once fringy changeup has improved to become an average offering.”

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It’ll likely be a year or two before Reed debuts in Cincinnati, but there are clearly a lot of reasons to be excited about his future. He may not have the stuff of Brandon Finnegan or the experience of John Lamb, but of the three, Reed may be the safest bet to become a solid big league starter.

Reed now has a consistent delivery and his size helps to alleviate concerns about injury, which Finnegan and Lamb have both dealt with in their careers. He has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider with a changeup that’s improving for a solid three-pitch repertoire.

He’s set to report to Double-A Pensacola, where he’ll hope to continue his breakout season and continue rising up the ranks of Reds prospects.

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