Although Reed is currently used as a starter, he projects as a middle reliever due to his well-below-average command and control profile. Reed started the season in the big leagues with Cincinnati, pitching in seven games, but his 8.25 BB/9 rate over 14 innings made for a quick trip back down to Louisville on May 4 to sort out his control problems. It hasn’t gotten much better since, as Reed has averaged 6.2 BB/9 in his 24 2/3 innings with the Bats. All of this is stark contrast to his 2016 2.9 BB/9 rate over 121 2/3 combined innings between Louisville and Cincinnati, so he is clearly trending with a downward arrow this year.
Reed owns a semi-power arm with a quick arm action, working from an abbreviated, no windup delivery, and a low-¾’s arm slot. The arm action creates angle that can make him a tough look versus left-handed hitters. He has a wrap in the back and at times has some difficulty getting out front with an upright finish. His inability at times to get over his stiff front leg gives him issues working down in the strike zone, and clearly is contributing to poor command and control of his three-pitch arsenal, and the result is that he oftentimes is working from behind in the count and upping his pitch counts.
Reed’s plus to double-plus fastball is in the 93-to-96 mph but sits mostly at 94 mph, with run tail and boring action to both sides of the plate, and with plus movement. Command of his fastball will never be average, but he has enough velocity and movement for it to be effective. His slider is average in the 84-to-87 mph range, with some glimpses of plus movement on occasion, with tilt and depth being present when doesn’t get around the pitch and have it back up on him, and as with the fastball, control of the pitch is very suspect. He shows good arm speed and arm action on the changeup (84-to-87 mph), and he can get some late fading action to both sides of the plate, but with the command and control profile so out of whack at present, he has trouble getting to it simply because he is pitching from behind in the count so often.
Reed is ready for a change of scenery, and a move to the bullpen is warranted at this point in his career. He has enough of a power arm and enough stuff to pitch as sixth- or seventh-inning arm, but the questions will still remain if he is going to be able to throw enough strikes stay there. He has a high-risk ceiling of a Role 40 reliever, with question marks of command and control over-riding the raw stuff that he possesses. If the command and control don’t improve, he’ll have a floor of an up/down, Role 30 emergency arm.