Bats: Left Throws: Left
Height: 6-5 Weight: 228 (non-Rendezvous BBQ day), 237 (Rendezvous BBQ day)
Cody Austin Reed was born in Memphis, TN on April 15, 1993, just one day after Brandon Finnegan, his teammate with both the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds. It seems Reed put on his baby shoes and moseyed just 16 miles south of the Memphis International Airport shortly thereafter, as he attended high school at Horn Lake High School just over the Tennessee/Mississippi border in - you guessed it - Horn Lake, MS.
After high school, he matriculated into Northwest Mississippi Community College just down the road in Senatobia, MS, which is a town that's located in the generally central portion of the state near such towns as:
- Arkabutla, MS
- Savage, MS
- Sledge, MS
- Looxahoma, MS
- Thyatira, MS
- Chulahoma, MS
- Byhalia, MS
- Alphaba, MS
- Bobo, MS
Central Mississippi is a truly fascinating place.
Thirteen former NWMSCC players have signed with MLB teams in the college's history, while only three - including Reed - have actually made it to the big leagues. Most prominent among those so far is Bill Selby, who amassed -1.4 bWAR as a utility man in 473 career PA from 1996-2003 with Boston, Cleveland, and your own Cincinnati Reds (in 2001). Selby, conveniently enough, also attended Reed's same high school, and he and Reed also make up two of the three career big leaguers who have ever come through Horn Lake HS. The third would be pitcher Dusty Hughes, who pitched with Kansas City and Minnesota from 2009-2011.
Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from Northwest Mississippi Community College (Senatobia, MS)
Debut: June 18, 2016 (Age 23-064d, 18,762nd in MLB history) vs. HOU 7.0 IP, 6 H, 9 SO, 3 BB, 4 ER
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2016 season
2017 Contract Status: Pre-Arb eligible
Service Time (01/2017): 0.107 • Arb Eligible: 2020 • Free Agent: 2023
June 6, 2013: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd round of the 2013 amateur draft. Player signed June 11, 2013.
July 26, 2015: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Cueto and cash.
Admittedly, with only 47.2 big league innings under his belt, reading too much into any sort of pitch chart at this point isn't going to tell you a whole lot about Reed's overall game and ability. Hell, given how awful the surface stats were in those 47.2 innings, memorizing most of his would convince you to never watch him again. However, ones like this Pitch Type chart (by average) at least show what he threw, and how hard he threw it - both of which are fairly straightforward.
Here's the same chart as the first one, only by max velocity as opposed to average. All this adds is that we now know the talented lefty has a fastball that can absolutely hit 98 mph if need be, though it also shows that he might well have been overthrowing his slider during his big league call-up.
For more charts of his brief big league time, check out Brooks Baseball's interactive page (that will become more and more interesting and informative with the more pitches Reed throws at the big league level).
Since Reed's big league sample is still so small, it's worth checking back on some of the scouting reports on him prior to his big league debut last June:
- Here's J.J. Cooper of Baseball America touting Reed's slider as "his best pitch" and stating that Reed "could be the Reds' best starting pitcher before long."
- Here's Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs analyzing Reed's arm slot, and stating that improved command on the mound could make him a #3 pitcher in a solid rotation
- Here's Minor League Ball's John Sickels stating that "If his command remains this steady, he'll be an above-average major league starter and perhaps more."
Perhaps the single most interesting thing to glean from both projections is that neither sees a full season in the big leagues for Reed. In an ideal world with ample healthy options around him, perhaps that's what the Cincinnati Reds themselves would envision, as it would allow him to get a bit more time in AAA - he's only thrown 73 career innings there - before jumping back into the big league deep end.
As things sit currently, however, Reed appears to be penciled in to start the year in the Cincinnati rotation, and barring a failure along the lines of his initial foray last year, he'll be up with the club throughout the year. If he produces rate stats the way these projections suggest over a 30+ start season, that's a plenty serviceable starter for anyone.
"If he produces rate stats the way these projections suggest over a 30+ start season, that's a plenty serviceable starter for anyone," said the blogger, knowing full well he's wearing his Hopes & Dreams goggles instead of his practicality spectacles.
There are infinite reasons as to why Reed was ranked as high as the #34 overall prospect in the game prior to 2016 (by Baseball America). There are also infinite reasons as to why he was pummeled repeatedly in his big league cup of coffee, highlighted mostly by the 12 dingers he allowed (which equated to a ghastly 2.27 HR per 9 IP). His outlook for the 2017 season sits firmly as a blend of those two poles, hopefully a step forward from his 2016 struggles while also still at the base of an upward career arc.
6-5 lefties who can throw just under 100 mph, have reasonably solid mechanics, and throw cross-body sliders that move like a breakdancer should always, always get you excited, and Reed absolutely fits that bill. But as FS-Ohio's Chris Welsh noted during one of Reed's recent Cactus League starts, there's a big difference between the 'control' his peripheral stats in the minors suggest he has and the 'command' that allows him to throw all of his pitches both to the glove and for strikes when need be. The former portion of his game has above-average performance already, but it's the latter that will make or break him at the big league level this year and beyond.
How soon he masters that is one of the single most important aspects of Cincinnati's rebuild, in my opinion, and I'm not at all being hyperbolic. They need a young starter to be a dependable anchor for their rotation, and peers like Robert Stephenson (inconsistent control), Anthony DeSclafani (injury history), Raisel Iglesias (injuries, bullpen move), and Michael Lorenzen (injury, bullpen move) haven't been able to put that role on lockdown. Reed's talented enough to be that guy, and with the competition for starting spots having fallen down around him, he's got a clear path to seize that role as early as next month.