The Cincinnati Reds continued to shake up their organization this week as they hired 30-year-old Cody Atkinson. He will be in a job that previously did not exist within the organization: Hitting Assessment and Run Production coach. The job will be more of a roving coordinator type of job. Atkinson will travel through the entire organization throughout the year. He will be working with the Major League staff, as well as Minor League staffs at the various levels.

Chad Dotson and Jason Linden brought up this hire a little bit on the Redleg Nation Radio podcast. If you haven’t listened to the latest episode yet, which came out this morning, what are you waiting for? But let’s dive into it a little bit more here on the pages of Redleg Nation with some words.

Cody Atkinson apparently had multiple teams calling for his services. It was the Reds who once again got their man (much like they did with David Bell, Derek Johnson, and Turner Ward).

“The last organization that called, the Reds, I told them that unless it was a life changing opportunity they didn’t need to keep calling me,” said Atkinson.

Two days later, the Reds came calling again and the deal proved too sweet for Atkinson to pass up.

Unlike some of the other coaches that were hired by the Reds who will be working with the big league staff, Cody Atkinson will also be working with the minor league teams, too. He is based out of Seattle, and according to the article from Lewis County Sports linked above, he will be able to work from home at times. He will then join the Reds, and the affiliates in the minor leagues at times throughout the year in a role similar to that of the roving coordinators in the minor leagues.

The description seems to suggest that his job won’t only to be working directly with the players and other coaches, but to also seemingly be working with some analytics and video remotely for the organization. This is just another move that seems to be the Reds stepping forward towards more analytical-based approach to teaching and developing.

This hire is one of many that the organization has made since last season. Cody Atkinson now has one of several jobs in the coaching/front office/development area that didn’t exist a year ago. Chris Buckley and Jeff Graupe were both promoted to new roles in the player personnel department. Eric Lee took over as the Senior Director of Player Development. That used to be the role that everyone referred to as “the farm director”. It no longer is, sort of. Shawn Pender is now at the top of that one in a new role as Vice President of Player Development – a role that didn’t exist previously. Jeff Pickler was added to the Major League coaching staff as game planning/outfield coach. Caleb Cotham was brought on as an assistant pitching coach.

When it comes to scouting of amateur players, there have also been major changes. The director of amateur scouting is now under Brad Meador. He will be the man in charge of running the draft now, taking over for Chris Buckley. On the international side, Trey Hendricks takes over in this market. Tony Arias, who has run the department for years, is moving into a scouting role.

We may not see the results of these moves immediately. But one things is for sure, the Reds are doing all that they can to try and change how they go about things. Whatever it was that they were doing wasn’t working the way that they wanted it to. The new hires are a signal that they weren’t happy and are looking to change things. It seems they are looking to add more analytics into how they teach and develop players. That applies in both the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues.

18 Responses

  1. Seat101

    This is a nearly as satisfying to me as the acquisition of a top of the rotation pitcher.

    And, Doug, thanks for the synopsis about the hiring and the job changes.

    • LWBlogger2

      I second the “thanks” and agree that it is good to see hires like this one. While I don’t know the person, the position sounds interesting. It sounds like something a forward-thinking high-level professional baseball organization should have.

  2. Vada

    With all the management and coaching changes with the Reds one must be amazed as to why there is such a passion to bring in a #1 starting pitcher. They hire who is regarded as a top-notch pitching coach but prefer not to use his skills on the younger pitchers already on the staff. Let’s just wait and see what this coach can do with the younger rotation guys and bullpen. Reed and Mahle were supposed to be excellent picthers so let’s wait and see what the new pitching coach can do for them. Use the extra money to search for a better center fielder instead. And please stop all the trade talks. Giving up our draft players is foolish. If you need players BUY them on the open market. Also do not give anymore DO NOT TRADE contracts. Votto needs to be trade bait in a roll as a designated hitter. No team can win a World Series with a player who drastically underperforms with a $25M a year salary.

    • earmbrister

      You lost me on Votto. Drastically underperforms??? In the first five years of his current contract he provided the following production:

      2014: 125 OPS+
      2015: 174
      2016: 160 (led the NL in OPS+)
      2017: 167
      2018: 125

      Yes, 2018 was a “down” year by Votto standards. For some perspective, only Suarez had a higher OPS+, 135, and Gennett had a 124. Votto is the ULTIMATE professional. He cares (obsesses?) about his craft, particularly his hitting. Put me down as all in that Votto regains his power in 2019 and his OPS+ is north of 150.

    • Bill

      “Also do not give anymore DO NOT TRADE contracts.”

      Should they also trade everyone before 10/5 trade rights kick in?

      “Votto needs to be trade bait in a roll as a designated hitter. No team can win a World Series with a player who drastically underperforms with a $25M a year salary”

      How much is 54.4 WAR worth these days? I thought $128 was a good deal

    • doofus

      I believe the intention behind the Derek Johnson hiring was to have him work with the young pitchers. I do not see where that has changed.

      Teams trade the players they’ve drafted. It would be foolish if they didn’t use them in that fashion to improve their team.

      Not all players a team drafts make the Show.

  3. Vada

    earmbrister, I meant that Votto is not a CLUTCH player. For $25M he should be. I freak out watching high salary players leaving runners on base. I would take 8 Pete Rose-type players than 8 Votto-type players any day if the week. OPS stats are fine but it is clutch hitting that wins games on a consistent basis.

    • Bill

      This fairy tale of Votto’s poor “clutch hitting” has been proven wrong on many occasions

    • Shchi Cossack

      Bill is absolutely correct regarding the myth of Votto’s poor clutch hitting and that the myth has been debunked numerous times on RLN. Without even trying or digging, I offer another brief debunking…

      For Votto’s career:

      Low Leverage=> .304 AVG, .415 OBP, .217 ISO, .936 OPS, 152 wRC+
      Med Leverage=> .310 AVG, .426 OBP, .207 ISO, .943 OPS, 152 wRC+
      High Leverage=> .349 AVG, .490 OBP, .281 ISO, 1.120 OPS, 188 wRC+

      Bases empty=> .300 AVG, .402 OBP, .208 ISO, .910 OPS, 147 wRC+
      Men on Base=> .325 AVG, .459 OBP, .234 ISO, 1.019 OPS, 166 wRC+
      Men in Scoring=> .336 AVG, .488 OBP, .251 ISO, 1.075 OPS, 174 wRC+

      As far as the comparison with the ‘clutchiness’ of Pete Rose for his career:

      Low Leverage=> .304 AVG, .377 OBP, .119 ISO, .800 OPS
      Med Leverage=> .296 AVG, .361 OBP, .094 ISO, .751 OPS
      High Leverage=> .318 AVG, .404 OBP, .110 ISO, .832 OPS

      Bases empty=> .295 AVG, .358 OBP, .100 ISO, .753 OPS
      Men on Base=> .318 AVG, .407 OBP, .118 ISO, .844 OPS
      Men in Scoring=> .312 AVG, .420 OBP, .111 ISO, .843 OPS

    • greenmtred

      People tend to remember things that support their opinions and forget things that do not. Pete Rose didn’t always succeed with runners on base–nobody does. Neither did Tony Perez, although I remember him as being a great “clutch” hitter. I don’t really know whether he was or not. There’s a good deal of informed thought that holds that clutch hitting is, itself, a myth. I’m not quite ready to buy that, but I certainly think it’s a subject that’s much more complex than my memories of specific at-bats.

  4. Jreis

    I think the thing that frustrates some fans ( me included) about Joey is that he really doesn’t have a defined role on the team. He is a cross between Rose and Perez but those guys had defined roles. Pete was the table setter, run scorer. Tony was the rbi producer. Votto’s main super power is the ability to get on base but he doesn’t score runs at the rate of Pete and doesn’t drive in the runs like Tony did.

    • Bill

      Another ridiculous argument. His RBI totals aren’t astronomical because of the lack of base runners in front of him. He also has little control over runs scored. If Votto hit with Rose, Morgan, and Bench surrounding him the RBI and runs scored would look different.

      His role is to get on base, which he does better than anyone in baseball. If the Reds had ever given him some help he would have multiple MVPs

  5. Private Gripweed

    Thanks for the report, Doug. These additions and changes have to make you wonder, though – why this year?

  6. Joe Shmoe

    I love how everyone has this mythological view of Pete. He was no better than the 3rd best player on the BRM after Morgan and Bench. A great player? Yup. Hall of fame worthy (minus the gambling, lying, possible statutory rape things)? Yup. But he barely makes my lineup if I’m doing an all time Reds team.

    • Bill

      I agree, there is no question he is one of the best to ever play the game. There is also no question he had a couple other players who are some of the best to ever play the game that made him even better. If you plugged prime Votto in at 1B on the BRM no one would would be complaining that Votto needs to be more “clutch” like Perez or score runs like Rose. Votto would be sitting beside Bench and Morgan in Cooperstown.

      • Joe Shmoe

        Right. I swear Pete has ruined several generations of Reds’ fans. People act as if he was untalented yet through sheer force of determination willed himself to be the best player ever. He was immensely talented, but was ‘merely’ great for a few seasons, really good for a long time, and then while chasing counting stats at the end of his career stole ABs from better, much MUCH younger players