Reds hire pitching guru Boddy as coordinator

October 1st, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The Reds' rotation made big advances in 2019, in both performance and how it embraced analytics and data. On Tuesday, the club hired one of the industry leaders in harnessing information to improve upon its pitching success.

Kyle Boddy was named the Reds' director of pitching initiatives/pitching coordinator. Boddy, 36, is the founder and president of Driveline Baseball, a data-driven baseball performance center near Seattle that’s been embraced by many big leaguers, including Cincinnati starter Trevor Bauer.

“The Reds are getting someone with a deep understanding of how to integrate data science with player development, and do so very quickly,” Bauer said. “He has an established process based heavily on measurable qualities that will benefit many players and coaches immediately. He’s used to running a fast-moving company and managing many employees. It’s rare to come by that skill set in one individual.”

The club said that Boddy will work closely with the Major League pitching department to ensure the pitching philosophies and protocols are consistent throughout the organization. Much of his time for the Reds will be spent working with their Minor League pitchers.

“I had a lot of interest, and multiple offers. The direction the Reds are going blew me away,” Boddy said on Twitter. “Throughout the two months of interviewing, the Reds' opportunity just felt right. I am so thankful for the opportunity. It is time to get to work.”

Boddy will continue to also be affiliated with Driveline, where the Reds have had some of their pitchers learn as clients. That includes left-hander Brandon Finnegan, who spent most of the first half of the season there trying to find more velocity on his fastball.

Bauer was one of the first to embrace what Boddy was doing, and the right-hander does most of his offseason workouts at Driveline.

“Kyle and I have a long history together,” Bauer said. “We’ve talked about pro ball many times before, dating back to 2013. I’ve advised him multiple times throughout the years not to get into pro ball, but this opportunity was different. I didn’t advise him directly in any way -- we honestly didn’t talk much about it -- but I encouraged him to come on board and have expressed to him over the last two months that I think we have a very good thing going here and he’d be a huge addition.”

Also announced was that assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham was promoted. Cotham will keep his current title, but will also be the team’s director of pitching.

Cotham, a former Reds reliever who turns 32 on Nov. 6, just completed his first season as a big league coach and worked under manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson. The club said Cotham would have increased involvement in the creation and implementation of the organization’s pitching philosophies and protocols.

Before reaching the big leagues, Cotham -- a former Vanderbilt pitcher -- embraced the analytics movement and went to Driveline to learn from Boddy. The center helps pitchers improve velocity and conditioning while using advanced technology to track pitches. Reds pitchers liked Cotham’s ability to simplify the information and explain it while also being young enough to relate to what current players are thinking.

Boosted by the additions of Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark and the acquisition of Bauer on July 31, the Reds' pitching staff led the National League with 1,552 strikeouts while ranking fourth with a 4.18 team ERA. Their pitchers also allowed 1,270 hits, which was second-fewest in the NL. Between Gray and Luis Castillo, the Reds had their first pair of 200-strikeout pitchers.

“I’m really excited about the addition, mainly because I know how many players he will be able to help immediately,” Bauer said. “As a friend, I’m super excited for him, because I know how much he’s wanted an opportunity like this. As a member of the organization, it’s really exciting to see the direction the management has chosen to go.

“They’ve made a clear investment in player development and a decided effort to surround the players at all levels with the best information, personnel, and services that exist today. I believe that investment will pay off rapidly in the form of a sustainable winning culture … that commitment to winning gets me fired up.”