Cincinnati Reds: Cody Reed joins the bullpen but should be starter

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 10: Cody Reed #25 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a first inning pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark on March 10, 2017 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 10: Cody Reed #25 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a first inning pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark on March 10, 2017 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds recalled pitcher Cody Reed from Triple-A Louisville to be another arm out of the bullpen. However, Reed deserves a look in the starting rotation.

Cody Reed was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Monday after the Cincinnati Reds demoted Keury Mella. Reed will come out of the Reds’ bullpen, however, the left-hander from Memphis, Tennessee should be part of the Reds’ starting rotation.

Cody Reed opened the season on the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day roster. He pitched three innings in his only start this season on April 9th. Reed allowed five runs on four hits while striking out five batters and walking one.

In that start against the Philadelphia Phillies, Reed also allowed two home runs. One of those was to Rhys Hoskins, I think we can all forgive him for that one. Hoskins has 22 homers on the season. The other was to Scott Kingery, who has only 5 round trippers on the season with a .321 slugging percentage. Reds fans can be a bit more critical of that misstep.

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Reed, similar to Robert Stephenson, had been dominant of late for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Reed was 4-8 in 18 games, 17 of which were starts. Reed maintained a 3.92 ERA while striking out 105 and walking 31. Over his last 4 starts in Louisville, Reed had a 1.38 ERA. He struck out 35 batters and walked only 3.

Reed can definitely go the distance in games. In 9 of his 17 starts, Reed went more than 6 innings, and on 3 occasions pitched into the eighth. Given Reed’s endurance, it’s curious that the Reds brought Reed up to be part of the bullpen.

Obviously, regardless of what happens with the Reds’ starting rotation over the last month-plus of the season, be it injury, trades, or whatever, Reed will not be part of the rotation. You can’t take a pitcher who’s been throwing five to six innings, shrink his workload down to one or two, then ramp him back up to be a starter. That means that Reed will finish this season out of the bullpen.

Cody Reed has yet to have a fair shake to make his case as a member of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation. Yes, Reed started 10 games his rookie season in 2016 and didn’t win a game. But, he was seeing his first action in the Major Leagues, playing for a rebuilding team.

The following season, Reed received only one start. After starting the season in the bullpen and not allowing a single hit or run through eight relief innings, Bryan Price decided to switch Reed to the starter’s role on three days rest against the Chicago Cubs. Reed, unsurprisingly given the circumstances, was roughed up for seven runs on four hits through two innings.

Reed came out of the bullpen four days later, then saw two innings of action the first week of May. During those two relief appearances, Reed walked 6 batters, allowed 3 runs and had an ERA of 6.75. He was then demoted to Triple-A until September.

Cody Reed has never been given a real shot to show what he can do at the big league level. The left-hander has a dominant slider and a fastball that can touch 98-MPH. Like all young pitchers, if he can keep command of his fastball, he can be very effective.

The Cincinnati Reds could desperately use a left-handed starter heading into the 2019 season. Hopefully, Reed is able to show the Reds that he’s ready to contribute, and he’ll get a chance during Spring Training next season.

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For now, Reed will be coming out of the pen. He pitched well last night against the Cleveland Indians. He allowed only a single to Yan Gomes in the eighth, while striking out Greg Allen. With as poor as some of Cincinnati’s starts have been, he may get several opportunities to provide long relief and show how dominant he can be over several innings of work.