Is The Diamondbacks’ Cody Reed Primed For A Breakout Campaign?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After dealing a bounty to acquire Shelby Miller the Arizona Diamondbacks system was questionable, at best. Yet 2014 second round pick Cody Reed still failed to make our preseason Top 10 rankings, though thus far he’s making that decision seem foolish. Just look at the line over his first three starts of the year at Single-A:

17.2 IP, 0.51 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 31 K, 0 BB

The strikeout to walk rate is unbelievable, and with a 1.10 GO/AO the overall makeup seems to be impressive. The question is going to be if his success is going to be able to translate against more advanced hitters.

This writeup, courtesy of Baseball America’s Vince Lara-Cinisomo (click here for the article) doesn’t necessarily give much hope:

“Reed, Arizona’s second-round pick in 2014 out of high school, isn’t overpowering. His fastball topped at 91 on Thursday, and his changeup is an above-average pitch with good, late fade. What he has is deception by way of an unusual delivery, which makes it appear as though the ball is coming out of his hip.”

We’ve seen unorthodox pitchers thrive in the minors before, only to yield middling results in the Majors (look no further than former Diamondbacks prospect Trevor Bauer, for instance). That’s going to be something to watch, as more experienced hitters are likely going to do a better job of overcoming the deception in his delivery.

He needs to improve his secondary offerings, and that’s something he is working on (as per this quote from the Baseball America article):

“He needs to improve the breaking ball. It’s below average right now,” Sauveur said, speaking specifically about the curveball. “What’s beneficial is he throws it in a game; it’s not his out pitch, but it’s another pitch to think about. … we’re working on keeping the same arm slot. We found that his arm slot got a little higher when he threw the curveball, and when you get to higher ranks, even Double-A, those hitters are going to recognize that.”

Improving his curveball and/or slider would go a long way in helping him maintain his success as he continues to advance.

There’s certainly still time and Reed is showing signs of some promise, though that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to continue producing against more advanced hitters. Deception can only take you so far and seeing how he does against older, more advanced hitters will ultimately tell us what is possible.

That said, the Diamondbacks have no reason to force the issue. They can let him continue to work on his pitches and develop at Single-A, with a promotion to High-A likely to come at some point.

That would mean Double-A in 2017, perhaps, when we would start to get a few more answers.

Fantasy Recommendation
Hardly a must stash, considering how fragile pitching can be, those in deeper dynasty formats could consider stashing him to see how he develops (it’s hard to ignore the strikeout-to-walk rate). In most cases, though, the risk and roster spot may outweigh the reward so he’s more of a pitcher to simply keep on your radar.

Current Grade – B-
Upside Grade – B+

Sources – Baseball America, MILB.com

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