Pitching prospect Reed nearing big league readiness

Pitching prospect Reed nearing big league readiness

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Before arriving to his first big league camp, pitching prospect Cody Reed's reputation on the mound had largely preceded him. The Minor League numbers Reed accumulated in a short period of time were strong. The video clips were impressive.

And now that the big league coaching staff has gotten a good look, Reed corroborated that information and what Reds scouts and baseball operations people felt before trading for him last summer: This pitcher could be ready for the Majors very soon.

"I think the reason we sent him out was to get him a little more polished and prepared," manager Bryan Price said. "I feel very comfortable that we'll be seeing Cody here this season."

Reed, who turns 23 on April 15, was among the three lefty pitching prospects that the Reds received from the Royals for Johnny Cueto. The other two pieces in the deal -- John Lamb and Brandon Finnegan -- have already been in the big leagues since the transaction.

When camp opened, Reed had an outside shot at earning one of three open spots in the Cincinnati rotation. He had some of the strongest performances among the candidates.

In four Cactus League games (three starts), Reed posted a 3.97 ERA with two walks and 10 strikeouts over 11 1/3 innings. He also pitched two scoreless frames in a "B" game this spring. His two free passes and homer didn't come against him until his final start on March 21 against the Padres. He was cut from the spring roster the following day.

"You look at the Padres and I saw these guys on TV when I was in high school,' Reed said after that outing. "The nerves are there, but once I got on the mound, I didn't think anything about it. They called Matt Kemp's name and I was like, 'He's here just like I am. Me and him are just going to go at it.' I don't look at it like these are big league guys. I feel like I should be here, too. I'm competing for a spot just like everyone else is."

Reed fans Jay

Ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Reds' No. 3 prospect and No. 66 overall, Reed stands at 6-foot-5 and looks imposing to hitters. His power fastball and slider come upon hitters quickly. Last season, he split time at Advanced Class A and Double-A, where Reed went a combined 13-9 with a 2.41 ERA. Over 145 2/3 innings, he issued 42 walks and struck out 141 strikeouts with a 1.16 WHIP.

Reed will be summoned from Minor League camp to pitch on Thursday against the Indians. The team still has an opening for what will likely be a one-game spot start in the regular season's third game on April 7 against the Phillies. While it's unlikely Reed can tip the scales back into his favor, Price also noted that "anything can happen." The Reds would like to see him develop his changeup at Triple-A Louisville and get more experience. That way when he does get called up to the Majors, there's an increased chance for it to be permanent.

"He's got a quality two-pitch mix -- fastball-slider," Price said. "The changeup is a pitch as a starter, it's an impactful pitch. It's a tough place to master it at the big league level. The other part is from an experience level, he had half a season at Double-A. Touching Triple-A is not the worst thing, developmentally, for him to get off to a start and play against that competition."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.