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MLB Rookie Report: Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds will send rookie left-hander Cody  A. "Mississippi" Reed to the mound today for his major league debut. He's not to be confused with another lefty with the same name, Cody  A. "Alabama" Reed in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. Both of them are big hard-throwing lefties but the Reds version is more advanced and ready for his debut.

Reed was originally in the Royals system, coming over to Cincinnati in the Johnny Cueto trade. He was excellent in 2015, posting a 2.41 ERA in 146 innings between High-A and Double-A with a 144/42 KBB.

From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book

Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-5 WT: 220 DOB: April 15, 1993

2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade C

Cody Reed was originally drafted by the Royals in the second round in 2013 out of Northwest Mississippi Junior College. He was terrible in his pro debut, improved to mediocre in 2014, then took a giant step forward in 2015, emerging as one of the best left-handed prospects in baseball and being a key component of the Johnny Cueto trade. When drafted, Reed had a 95 MPH fastball and little else, struggling with his secondary pitches and general control. That changed last year, as his slider turned into an excellent pitch (double-plus according to some sources), his change-up became at least average, and his control dramatically improved. It is easy to miss because it was split up between three teams but his K/BB was 144/42, way better than the 58/36 he posted in ’14 and light years ahead of the 25/23 in his debut. We still need to see how Reed transitions to Triple-A and if the control problems recur against more difficult opponents, but he has the upside of a number two starter and looks a lot more likely to reach that upside after these positive developments. Grade B+.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY

Reed has solidified his progress this year, posting a 3.20 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Louisville with a 63/17 K/BB in 64.2 innings.

The pre-season scouting report is generally still valid: he's been throwing in the low-to-mid-90s in Triple-A and mixing in his nasty breaking ball. His straight change-up, which drew some pretty good reviews last year, hasn't been terribly effective in Triple-A but the hard stuff is so good that it hasn't mattered much. He's also shown some ability to vary speeds on the breaking ball, which shows up in the clip below looking more like a curve in some instances. Either way it is extremely tough for hitters to pick up.

Reed's ability to throw strikes and work all quadrants of the strike zone is now one of his best attributes, a remarkable improvement for a guy who was walking almost a hitter per inning with an ERA over 6.00 in the Pioneer League three years ago. If his command remains this steady, he'll be an above-average major league starter and perhaps more.

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