Cody Reed is the third player listed in almost every report about the trade because he was the Ã¢â‚¬Å“throw in.Ã¢â‚¬Â He was the guy that was included to round out the deal because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never been listed on any prospect rankings and struggled mightily in his first two years of pro ball. However, once I started looking into him, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the player that the Reds got back that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m most excited about. As a vocal critic of JockettyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, I have to tip my hat to the Reds front office for getting a player like him included in the deal.
What is there to be excited about? For me itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s primarily his stuff, his size, and his upward career trajectory.
Cody brings two legitimate plus pitches to the table, his fastball and slider. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, although in his first two years of professional pitching he did tend to lose some velocity late in the game. His slider is tight with late break, rather than being loopy out of his hand, and he has really nice downward plane on both pitches. Scouts have noted that he has a simple delivery with good extension, which gives hitters that Ã¢â‚¬Å“ball explodes out of his handÃ¢â‚¬Â impression. He also throws a changeup, which is just average right now. In time, I would assume that the Reds will help him develop that, and potentially another offering, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got a great base for a starterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s repertoire.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s some video to get a sense of his stuff off the mound: http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=278907483&sid=milb
(I also like that he pitches in glasses, war paint, and a gigantic rat-tail, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not really an objective thing, I just like to have some personality on the mound, especially now that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve lost Cueto).
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s funny to write about being happy that a pitcher has a big frame when talking about the Cueto trade, but the CuetoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and PedroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of MLB are the exception not the rule. Despite liking to watch Cueto more than any other Reds pitcher in my lifetime, I still feel better about getting a big pitcher because it often means they can generate velocity and movement with less stress on the body. And big doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t begin to describe Reed, as heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s currently listed at 6Ã¢â‚¬â„¢5Ã¢â‚¬Â, 220 lb, which is pretty gigantic. While thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not quite Jumbo territory, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the type of guy that when scouts say he can touch the high 90s, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easier to believe.
So how is this the guy that most people are calling the filler to the deal? By stuff and size he profiles as the best prospect the Reds got. I think it comes down to the path that his career has taken. He is the very embodiment of a late bloomer, and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s late-bloomed twice now.
Reed is 22 now, born April 15, 1993 in Horn Lake Mississippi, on the border of Arkansas and Tennessee. He went to Horn Lake High and was a decent pitcher, but his fastball was 83-84 mph, and he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t good enough to get drafted anywhere in the first 30 rounds or so. He went to Northwest Mississippi Community College, a two-year school where he could play and develop. He credits his coaches there for helping him progress (though IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure physical development had a lot to do with it too), and he started to be able to pitch in the low 90s. In 2013, his sophomore year, he began to touch the mid-90s and was included in draft discussions around the country.
The Royals took him in the second round of the 2013 draft, 46th overall, and he decided to start his pro career rather than pitch for Ole Miss, which had offered him a scholarship. However, despite the nice draft slot, he struggled immediately in the rookie Pioneer League. He pitched to a 6.07 ERA in 30 innings, making 15 appearances and just 6 starts. The problem? He walked 23 batters in those 30 innings. The next year was a little better, but he was still walking too many and striking out too few, and pitched to a 5.46 ERA in low A. That was just last year.
But then came 2015. Scouts across the board noticed that his velocity was improved, his slider was improved, but most importantly, his command was improved. In 96 innings so far this year, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s walked only 26, just 3 more than he did in his pro debut. His 2.4 BB/9 and 7.9 K/9 are both career bests. He earned a promotion to AA in June after making the A+ all-star game, and has a 3.45 ERA in 5 starts so far. The Reds have sent him to AA Pensacola to continue his incredible turn around year.
As much as I hate losing a favorite like Cueto, I always like when new guys are brought into the Reds organization. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to get a real sense of the guy from whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out there on the internet, but from what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen, he seems like a nice guy, a hard worker, and someone who takes coaching well. He likes interacting with the fans and you can follow him on twitter at @c_reed24. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a video Q & A he did before he was drafted, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a pretty good story about meeting his idol David Price toward the end. http://www.nwccrangers.com/news/2013/6/4/BB_0604135208.aspx
I think Cody Reed looks like a legitimate #2/#3 SP prospect at this point, which is more than you can say for the other two pitchers that we got back for Cueto. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the first round draft pick pedigree (though he only missed it by a half a round), but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to have thrown more than 120 innings by the time this season is done, and should be much more highly ranked as a prospect next year. He should be ticketed for AAA next year, and potentially for Cincinnati the next.