The Cincinnati Reds have announced that left handed pitcher Cody Reed will join the rotation on Saturday, making his Major League debut in the process.

Cody Reed was acquired by the Reds in the trade of Johnny Cueto in July of 2015 at the trade deadline. At the time of the trade he was viewed as more of the second piece in the deal to Brandon Finnegan. That changed rather quickly as the left hander went out and dominated at the Double-A level over the final five weeks of the season. With Pensacola he posted a 2.17 ERA in 49.2 innings pitched, walked 16 batters and had 60 strikeouts.

The 2016 season began with Reed joining the Louisville Bats. On the season he’s posted a 3.20 ERA in 64.2 innings, walked 17 batters and racked up 63 strikeouts. After a very strong start to the season he’s hit a bit of a speed bump over the last four starts. In 24.0 innings he’s posted a 4.88 ERA with four home runs allowed, eight walks and 23 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old has really taken huge steps forward over the last season-and-a-half. While he always had a good arm, Reed had struggled to find the strikezone with consistency. All of that changed in 2015 when he walked just 2.6 batters per 9 innings pitched between two levels. He’s dropped that rate even further in 2016 while in Triple-A, posting a walk rate of just 2.4 batters per 9 innings pitched.

What to Expect from Cody Reed

The numbers aren’t as dominant this season as they were last year, but he’s largely the same guy. He’s going to bring a quality fastball, mix in a very good slider and a solid change up. He’s going to throw strikes and he’s likely to give you six innings on most nights.

There are some things to watch for from Reed. He usually throws his hardest in the first inning of games, then he sees his velocity dip down from there. It doesn’t dip into the 80’s, but he will touch the mid 90’s often in the first inning and then things start to creep down. He’s been a tad home run prone of late as well.

Reed generated a high rate of grounders with the Louisville Bats. 56% of the balls in play against him were on the ground, though I don’t expect that to continue in the big leagues. I would expect him to fall more in line with a league average groundball rate pitcher as that better matches up with the stuff he brings to the table.

Interestingly enough, as a left hander with a very good breaking ball, left handed batters are performing better against him in 2016 than right handed batters are. Neither side is performing well, but lefties are getting on base more and slugging more than right handers are against him.

Expect there to be some inconsistent outings. It’s not often that 23-year-olds are ready to dominate on a day-in-day-out basis at the big league level. With that said, Reed can be dominant at times and we will probably see flashes of that throughout the rest of the season. He’s a strike thrower with strong stuff and that generally plays well at any level.

The team may need to track his innings as the season progresses, but not too much. He threw 145.2 innings in 2015. That should put him on pace for about 175.0 to be on the safe side this season, which may be able to get him through the year without skipping over him at any point if they take the opportunity to pull him after five or six innings every so often, even if he’s pitching well.

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