If you’ve been following the Cincinnati Reds this season you’ve seen some interesting baseball this season. Some good and some bad. One of the players on the big league squad that has struggled this season has been reliever Zach Duke. He’s pitched in 14 games with the Cincinnati Reds this season, spanning a total of 8.0 innings. In that time he’s allowed 10 earned runs on 11 hits, he’s walked 6 batters, hit 2 more, and he’s struck out just 4 of the 42 batters that he’s faced. It’s early in the year, but dating back to the All-Star break last year it’s not exactly a great outlook. With Minnesota and Seattle last season after the break he posted a 5.71 ERA in 17.1 innings.
The Reds are seemingly going to stick with a larger than normal 8-man bullpen. So if they do decide to move on from Zach Duke they are going to go with another reliever in all likelihood. Looking down to Triple-A there could be a few options, but the one that may be the best fit would be Cody Reed. First, he’d be a lefty replacing a lefty. But secondly, he’s throwing very well right now.
On the season with the Triple-A Louisville Bats, Cody Reed had a 3.75 ERA in 12.0 innings with 6 walks and 18 strikeouts. That is a little deceiving on the ERA front. He allowed 2 earned in his first outing of the year and recorded just 1 out. Since then he’s allowed 3 runs over 11.2 innings (2.31 ERA) with 4 walks and 18 strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitting just .186/.271/.302 against him. And perhaps more importantly is that he’s allowed just a single home run thus far. If you missed my piece last week – the baseball is absolutely flying in Triple-A this year since they switched to the Major League Baseball this season.
The lack of home runs against Cody Reed is two-fold. First, he’s striking out plenty of guys. His 18 strikeouts represents 35.3% of the hitters he’s faced for the Louisville Bats this season. Limiting balls in play will certainly help keep them out of the stands. But so will keeping the ball on the ground, and that’s an area where Reed has also thrived this season. 69.2% of the balls put in play against the left-hander this season have been hit on the ground.
Last season Cody Reed posted a 3.98 ERA in the Major Leagues over 43.1 innings. He missed bats, had a solid walk rate, a solid home run rate, and he had a big ground ball rate. This season he’s doing that in the minors, but better. And with a real potential need in the bullpen, it could be Reed that is getting that call sooner rather than later.