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Cody Reed began the season in the Carolina League, pitching for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Wilmington, Deleware. The Royals started the left hander at the Advanced-A level and in April they kept him on a bit of a shorter leash as he was piggy-back starting with another pitcher on the Blue Rocks roster. Reed would make two starts on the month and pitch the 6th-9th in two other games. He posted a 2.20 ERA in 16.1 innings with four walks and 14 strikeouts in that span.
The piggy-back thing carried over into May, but only for one more time through as he started the first game of the month, then came out of the bullpen on May 9th. That was the last time that he would appear out of the bullpen. He celebrated that in a very big way. Over his next two starts he threw 12.2 shutout innings, allowing just seven hits, one walk and he struck out 20 batters. His workload more than doubled from April, tossing 33.1 innings with a 1.08 ERA, nine walks and he struck out 37 batters.
After dominating in May things got out to a good start in June with 6.0 innings with just an unearned run in his first start of the month, but things were more of a struggle in the next two starts. In 11.2 innings he allowed eight runs on 17 hits and four walks to go along with nine strikeouts. Despite the struggles, he was promoted to Double-A by the Royals. He would make one start at the end of the month for Northwest Arkansas, allowing just one run in 6.0 innings. On the month his ERA would jump up to 3.42 in 23.2 innings. He walked eight batters and had 19 strikeouts.
July began with the Royals, still pitching in Northwest Arkansas where the lefty would start four games. In 22.2 innings he had five walks and 14 strikeouts to go along with a 3.97 ERA. The Royals would trade Reed to the Reds on July 26th in the Johnny Cueto deal along with two other pitchers. He would make his debut on the final day of the month, striking out six batters in 7.0 innings with just one run allowed.
August and the first week of September was an interesting stretch. Reed was either absolutely dominant, or he pitched poorly. On August 10th and August 21st he combined for 7.2 innings with 10 earned runs allowed (11.73 ERA), five walks and seven strikeouts. In the other five starts he made to end the season he threw 35.0 innings with nine walks and 47 strikeouts to go along with just one earned run (0.26 ERA).
Fastball | He generally sits at 92-94 MPH with his fastball, but has reached as high as 97 MPH with the pitch during the 2015 season. The pitch doesn’t show a ton of movement, but his 3/4 arm slot allows the pitch to come across the zone well.
Slider | The pitch flashes itself often as an above-average one, working in the mid-80’s range. The slider has movement on two planes, again due more to his arm angle than true two-plane breaking action. It’s still inconsistent at times and flattens out, but when it’s on, it’s a true put-away pitch.
Change Up | Before the season this was a clear third pitch for Reed, but the pitch made improvements in 2015 and showed itself as an average to above-average offering, particularly later in the season. While he doesn’t use it often, it’s a third quality offering that has good armside run and some fading action to it.
Other | 2015 was a helium type year for the former 2nd rounder (2013) as he put past control problems behind him (he walked 59 batters in 113.2 innings coming into the season) and was able to put together fantastic results. He’s got clean mechanics and he showed he could handle a full minor league seasons worth of innings for the first time in his career. Using his change up a little more frequently will probably be required in the big leagues, but it’s already a quality pitch, just one he may need to work in a little more often.
If his steps forward with his ability to throw strikes were real, and there’s no reason to think that they weren’t, he could be pushing the door open to a Major League spot as soon as the middle of 2016 if there’s a need.