Posted on June 17, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine

Cincinnati Reds Cody Reed

Image via m.mlb.com

For a rebuilding team like the Cincinnati Reds, every time a young prospect makes their big league debut is a major event, as it signals another piece of the puzzle falling into place and the team taking one step closer to being competitive. The Reds will have an event like that on Saturday when left-handed pitcher Cody Reed makes his big league debut against the Houston Astros.

According to MLB.com, Reed is the third best prospect in Cincinnati’s farm system and among the best left-handed pitching prospects in all of baseball. The Reds acquired him last year from the Kansas City Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade. He was Kansas City’s second round pick in 2013. In 11 starts at triple-A this season, Reed is 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA, striking out 63 in 64.2 innings.

“It’s just another piece,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of Reed. “It’s another piece of putting this together, where we have some consistency and some young pieces that get a chance to grow.” Price went on to say that the plan is for Reed to stay in the rotation. “He’s a piece of our future that we feel very confident is going to be able to impact our club in a very positive way.”

Reed will become the 11th different starting pitcher for the Reds this season, a rather high number considering we are still several weeks away from the all-star break. Reed will be replacing Daniel Wright in the Cincinnati rotation after Wright lasted just three innings in his start Monday before being demoted.

In addition to his impressive stats at triple-A this season, Reed and his 6′ 5” frame appear to be physically ready to make the jump to the big leagues. The lefty has improved his control considerably over the last year and a half after his command was a serious problem early in his pro career. Both his fastball and slider and considered plus pitches, and his changeup has improved enough to make it a viable big league offering, giving him enough of an arsenal to face a major league lineup. The Reds ultimately expect Reed to be one of their top starting pitchers.

The Reds are finally starting to see what their rotation may look like in the years to come. Brandon Finnegan is having a breakout year in his first full season pitching in a major league rotation. Anthony DeSclafani has also impressed since returning from an oblique injury earlier this month. The Reds also saw Robert Stephenson, who ranks higher than Reed on the team’s prospect hierarchy, make two big league starts earlier this season, winning both games before returning to triple-A for more seasoning. With Reed now up and Stephenson likely to return later this season, Cincinnati may soon have four starters in place who could make up the team’s rotation for a long time.

It’s likely too late for the Reds to make any noise in 2016, but Reed’s promotion is a big step forward in the rebuilding process. The Reds are hopeful that Reed will continue to develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter, and they will get their first indication about whether or not he’s ready to grow into that role when he makes his big league debut Saturday against the Astros.

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