When the Cincinnati Reds traded Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals the name that was headlined in the deal was Brandon Finnegan. The player that reached the Reds first was John Lamb. The player we may eventually look at as the best of the group could be the third guy in the deal and that is Cody Reed.

With the regular season coming to an end for Pensacola yesterday (they are heading to the playoffs, which will begin on Thursday for them), left handed starter Cody Reed wound up making eight starts after joining the Reds organization, all with the Double-A Blue Wahoos.

The numbers in those eight starts were fantastic. The 22-year-old went 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 49.2 innings pitched. He walked 16 batters and he struck out 60 opposing hitters (good for a 30% strikeout rate) to go along with a 1.11 WHIP. Reed had at least eight strikeouts in five of his eight starts with Pensacola, including two double digit strikeout performances.

You can blame me for his lone poor start, as I was in attendance for the game on August 10th against Birmingham where he didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning and he allowed six earned runs, the same number of earned runs he allowed in his other seven starts combined. Despite the overall struggles from the start, he flashed quality stuff (full scouting report here), he just struggled to find consistency on that day.

I had a chance to talk with Reed while down in Pensacola last month about the trade and his overall game.

DG: What was it like when you found out that you had been traded?

Cody Reed: It was different. I woke up that morning ready to pitch, I was supposed to go that night and my parents drove up to watch me pitch. They surprised me and everything and we went to lunch and while we were waiting for our table I got a call from my manager telling me that I had been traded in the Cueto deal and whenever I could get to the field, get in there and pack up my stuff and head into a different direction.

When I packed up my stuff after they told me I was traded I said my goodbyes to all of the guys, I drove from Springfield, Missouri to Springdale, Arkansas and packed up my apartment. Then I drove back to my hometown right outside of Memphis and stayed the night, woke up and drove here to Pensacola. Then I flew out to meet the team in Chattanooga.

DG: It must feel pretty good to be sought after by an organization, targeted so to speak as someone they really wanted to bring in.

Cody Reed: Yeah, my manager in Northwest Arkansas (Royals AA team) he was telling me that it’s a great opportunity for me and that maybe I was the guy that made the trade go down and that you were the key to the trade. That puts some confidence in you when another team really wants you like that.

DG: What is it that you’re working on right now to progress into the pitcher that you want to be?

Cody Reed: Command. I think every pitcher wants to work on command, throwing everything for strikes. Work hard tomorrow and the next day, just figure it out. I’ve worked on my change up a lot and it’s really helped me have success this whole year. It was kind of my main struggle last year, but it’s coming around and I’m getting a lot of swings and misses and having success with it. It’s letting my go longer into games. Command is still the number one thing to work on though.

DG: You mentioned the change up being the thing that stepped forward. What was the thing that really helped you get to where you are now with that pitch?

Cody Reed: I thought I had a really good change up coming out of high school, and then I started throwing hard and I veered away from throwing it (in college). Now in the pros you have to throw it. This offseason I put all of my work into that one pitch and it’s just finally coming around.

While I didn’t get a chance to see him in person on his best day, it was that change up that left me with a very good impression. If you watch the video above, the last clip is of a change up he got a nice swing and miss on. Nice movement on two planes with the pitch.

Cody Reed wasn’t in the organization for very long this season, but the left hander sure made a strong first impression as he was pretty much dominant for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and helped lead them into the playoffs and secure their first winning half in franchise history (that dates back to 2012).

15 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    Good stuff Doug. Reed will play where next year? AA?

    • Doug Gray

      It could go either way in terms of starting in AA or In AAA. He was dominant in AA this year, but he didn’t quite spend half of the season there either. So I could understand them keeping him there. At the same time, he dominated while he was there, so promoting him makes plenty of sense too.

      • ohiojimw

        Do you see any realistic chance that he jumps all the way to the top sometime (before Sept) next year?

      • Doug Gray

        There’s always a chance for someone that’s in AA already. All it requires is good timing for some guys. Spot starts that spring up need to be filled and it’s usually coming down to the guys scheduled to start in AA or AAA on that same day, and maybe one long reliever somewhere.

        Reed has certainly shown enough that if the opportunity arises, he should be in the conversation.

  2. peter ponds

    I agree with you Doug, Reed may be the best one of the three with Lamb perhaps being a serviceable 4th-5th starter and Finnegan a back end reliever. It would still make a great trade for 3 months of Cueto.

  3. big5ed

    Meanwhile, Johnny Cueto is 2-5 with a 4.68 ERA for KC, with less than 7K/9IP.

    • whodeythinkgonnabeatthemredlegs

      He is just trying to make himself more affordable so the Reds can sign him this offseason

  4. CI3J

    I’m still curious if Jocketty’s long game plan is to try to flip some of these young pitchers for some offense this offseason.

    • mtkal

      Does Walt HAVE a long term game plan?

  5. Shchi Cossack

    On a related note…

    “The Royals kind of screwed me over this year,” Finnegan said. “I wouldn’t have done what I did if it wasn’t for them last year. But you could tell they just didn’t have a clue what to do with me.”

    http://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/mlb/minors/louisville-bats/2015/09/07/cincinnati-reds-plans-in-tune-with-louisville-bats-pitcher-brandon-finnegan/71839094/

    The article also quotes Bryan Price and Delino DeShields…

    “I think the feeling is he could be pitching in the big leagues right now as a relief pitcher, but the ceiling is kind of like where we were with (Aroldis) Chapman years ago,” Price said Monday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Do we really want to commit to the bullpen when the kid can potentially be a starting pitcher? The value, really, is as the starter.”

    “Honestly, I see him as a power arm in the bullpen,” DeShields said. “I see him as a guy who can pitch seventh and eighth inning of ball games — lefty who can be a setup type of guy. I think his stuff will play better in that role.”

    Looks like DeShields is taking the Dusty approach and Price is again looking to maximize Finnegan’s value as a starting pitcher. Shouldn’t the organization be on the same page?

    • Doug Gray

      They are on the same page. Despite what Delino seems to think Finnegan could be doing, he used him as a starter. That’s the organizational plan and Delino stuck with it.

      • CP

        Delino also really doesn’t have a say in the matter. For now.

    • CP

      You see quotes like that from Price and you think, what might have been? This organization may look a whole lot different with Cueto + a best case scenario Chapman from 2011 to today.

      • Gaffer

        Where was THAT Brian Price. He admits they mismanaged Chapman!