I’m just coming out and saying it:  I have a man-crush on Cody Reed. I’m not sure how it came to pass. Perhaps it’s the goggles triggering me back to those heady hot-corner Sabo days. Maybe it has to do with the due diligence (such as it is) that I did when the Johnny Cueto trade went down. While everyone was rightly pointing at Brandon Finnegan as the linchpin of the deal, I told anyone who would listen that I thought Reed was the dude who would make the trade fondly remembered.

Whatever the reason, I root hard for Cody. I move my chair a little closer to the television when he takes the bump. My heart is a roller coaster that swells with every strikeout and sinks with every meatball that drifts back over the dish. So, the news that he has moved into the rotation has me checking my popcorn supplies and the level in my bottle of Woodford Reserve.

It’s easy to forget that he was once pretty dominant in Pensacola and Triple A Louisville. The catcher’s mitt would sing when his fastball touched it. His big league appearances were disappointments in comparison, but even then you could see flashes, the occasions he would make big league hitters like Kris Bryant look foolish with his change. However, too often it seemed as if opposing batters knew exactly what was coming, and indeed, we heard rumors he was tipping his pitches. Or perhaps it was just his delivery—long-limbed and wide open—that ransomed away his secrets.

Back to Louisville he headed to make the kind of mechanical changes necessary to make batters begin guessing again. Since then, the road has been rough and uneven until recently when he began to show flashes of the pitcher the Reds thought they were getting from Kansas City.

In a recent Redleg Nation podcast, Jason Linden spoke with Louisville Bats pitching coach Jeff Fassero about Goggles:

“He’s starting to understand that his slider has to be over the plate. If you watch his films from the big leagues, his slider was never over the plate. He thinks a little too much. He has a good fastball. Doesn’t have great command of it. But it’s good enough to throw it over the plate. It doesn’t have to be spot on every time.

Seven starts ago, I finally just jumped in the bullpen and I said, ‘quit trying to hit spots. Your fastball moves. You’re throwing the ball 92 to 97. Throw it over the plate and make them hit it. It’s going to make your slider better. It’s going to make them chase it when it’s out of the zone when you’re not throwing for strikes. It’s going to make your changeup effective.’ Basically, that’s what he’s done. He’s throwing in the general area of the glove, where the glove’s at. He’s not trying to dot the middle of the glove.”

Brooks Baseball has the skinny on Reed:

Cody Reed has thrown 1,538 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Slider (88mph) and Fourseam Fastball (94mph), also mixing in a Sinker (93mph) and Change (87mph).

Basic description of 2018 pitches compared to other LHP:
His slider is thrown extremely hard. His fourseam fastball has heavy sinking action and has well above average velo. His sinker has heavy sinking action, has well above average velo and has slight armside run. His change is thrown extremely hard, generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ changeups, dives down out of the zone and is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ changeups.

The pitcher’s mound is a vertiginous place. Standing on the highest part of the playing field, it must, at times also be a lonely place, a tawny ground where it’s easy to lose not only one’s footing, but one’s entire self in the moment. Pitchers are a community of one, the initiators of the action, the sole bearer of the news, both fair and foul. For Reed, it will be place to face down past disappointments and start down the path of redemption, offering proof he belongs in the big leagues.

During a stoppage for a review of a call recently, Reed called Tucker Barnhart out to the mound to talk to him for a moment:

“I looked at him and I was like, ‘He’s out. I just watched the replay, he’s out.’ And I said, ‘I live for stuff like this.’ He [Tucker] goes, ‘I know you do.’”

The truth that baseball can be a cruel game is found in this cold fact: pitching prospects have more than a 50% bust rate. Cody Reed takes the mound, the first test on his long quest to beat the odds. Not to worry, though. He lives for this.

Just ask him.

11 Responses

  1. big5ed

    Me, too. You gotta be patient with pitchers, especially taller lefties. Sounds like Fassero got him to believe that “I’m good enough; I’m smart enough; and doggone it, people like me.”

  2. citizen54

    Great story. I think Reed will be fine if the Reds give him a legitimate shot.

    • roger garrett

      Up until this year with Romano and Castillo getting 20+ starts and are now around 40 for their careers the Reds don’t give legitimate shots.It takes time for young pitchers,sometimes 50 or more starts to become consistent but the Reds won’t do that yet won’t trade a one of their young starters in fear they will figure it out later.That’s why we are where we are at today.

  3. David

    Reed’s problems in the ML have been mostly between his ears. Not that he is stupid, at all. But he was trying to do TOO MUCH, and trying to work too fast (2 years ago when starting).
    Concentrate, repeat your motion and mechanics, stay calm, stay deliberate.

    Marty has said he is one of the nicest young men in the organization. I think a lot of people like him and want him to succeed. I hope this works out well today for him.

  4. Jeff Reed

    Let’s hope Cody can continue to get the ball over the plate. If so, he can be tough.

  5. Tom Mitsoff

    He had a pretty good performance today, all things considered. I certainly can’t blame him for walking Yelich with the bases loaded. That might have been the best strategic move considering how hot Yelich has been. Better than making a mistake in the strike zone.

    • bouwills

      I can. Cody Reed would like to make $25MM or more a year throwing baseballs. If Yellich is more than a match for what he has to offer, He won’t be a sp in this league long enough to make that kind of money.

      • bouwills

        Opportunity knocks. It doesn’t sneak in the back door.

  6. kmartin

    Good article. I also really like Cody Reed. I have never been able to quantify why I like one player over another. From day one I always liked Suarez over Peraza. From day one I always liked Lorenzen and Reed over Stephenson. Go figure.

  7. bouwills

    Reed had a good 4 innings. I’m happy for him & I hope he gets another start. On the other hand, I agree with Riggleman. When your sp is no longer challenging the hitters, send him to the showers.

  8. cfd3000

    I’m a Reed fan too, and optimistic after today’s start. He pitched out of one jamb nicely, and got bitten by a bit of bad luck in the 5th. The bloop to left and Cain’s squib were both very soft contact but fell for hits. Unlucky. There were few hard hit balls and he was fairly pitch efficient. I wish Riggleman had given him a longer leash. But it’s a good beginning and I’m really looking forward to see his next five or six starts before the end of the year. Rooting hard for Cody and the Reds.