The Cincinnati Reds announced that they have hired Kyle Boddy to be their Director of Pitching Initiatives / Pitching Coordinator. That wasn’t the only move that they made, but since this is RedsMinorLeagues.com it’s the one we’re going to focus on the most here today.
If the name sounds familiar but you can’t quite place it, Kyle Boddy is the founder of Driveline Baseball. That’s the pitching (and now hitting) training center for all kinds of professionals. They were near the forefront of utilizing advanced data, pitch tracking, slow-motion camera’s, weighted baseball training, etc.
The Reds have sent more than a few players out to Driveline to work on things over the years. Trevor Bauer has been going there and working specifically with Boddy for years. Caleb Cotham, the big league clubs assistant pitching coach is also a Driveline convert. Pitching coach Derek Johnson isn’t a Driveline guy, but much of what he does and has done follows along the same lines.
Tremendously excited to join the Cincinnati @Reds.
A few things:
1) I will remain at @DrivelineBB.
2) I am Director of Pitching Initiatives // Pitching Coordinator.
3) I work almost entirely in the minor leagues, so fortunately, I won't see @BauerOutage any more than I have to. pic.twitter.com/QMD7voD6Mm
— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) October 1, 2019
Subsequent tweets noted that he’s signed to a multi-year deal and he is no longer allowed to work with other teams – but Driveline Baseball can and will. The title of Director of Pitching Initiatives / Pitching Coordinator sounds fancy. And it probably is quite fancy, too. The first part of that title is a role that’s never existed in the organization. The pitching coordinator, though, that role has existed in the past.
Tony Fossas was the Reds minor league pitching coordinator this past season. Boddy will be replacing him in this expanded role. Fossas is remaining with the organization. The former 10-year Major League pitcher has been with the Reds for 11 seasons working as either a pitching coach or the pitching coordinator.
There’s a lot of rather interesting things going on here. First, much like last offseason when the Reds somehow made magic happen in getting Derek Johnson not only pried away from a rival, but landing him while other teams were trying to make it happen, Cincinnati brought in Kyle Boddy over several other teams. One of those teams includes the Chicago Cubs who offered him a position – likely the Director of Pitching position that they have created this offseason, but have not yet filled.
Now, the one thing that really stood out to me was the line from the above tweet: The direction the Reds are going blew me away.
Think about that for a second. Whether you want to buy into it or not, teams all around baseball are. What’s happening at Driveline is where baseball is going. Teams from all around baseball are going to them to help pitchers. Teams from college all around the country and going to them to help develop their programs. And yet he’s blown away by the direction the Reds are going.
But Doug, of course he’d say that about his new employer! And hey, you might be right. But let’s look at the evidence. Kyle Boddy, if you’ve ever followed him anywhere, doesn’t blow smoke. He tells it like he feels. That of course pales in comparison to the fact that he accepted the job.
All of this seemed to start back in June. Technically it started long before that, but it was on June 23rd of this past summer in which Boddy announced that he would be willing to take on certain jobs with a Major League team in an exclusive role. Two days after that JJ Cooper of Baseball America wrote that Boddy had already been contacted by seven organizations. In 2014 he turned down a role with the Houston Astros.
Eventually the results are going to be there and we can look back and judge, at least sort of, how this worked out. But right now, this feels like another absolute steal for the Cincinnati Reds front office. The track record, or lack of one, for the organization to develop pitching is long and it’s depressing. Overhauls usually take time, and expecting immediate results is probably a bad idea. But trying something different, something new, it gives hope that this time things could be different. We’ve seen what a new approach has done at the big league level with Derek Johnson and Caleb Cotham handling things. Now there’s a chance that they can work with Boddy to filter all of it to the Minor Leagues, too.