The Reds announced Tuesday that they’ve hired Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball to serve as the organization’s director of pitching initiatives/pitching coordinator. Boddy announced on Twitter that he will focus almost entirely on working to develop minor league pitchers in his new role with the Reds, but he’ll also remain with Driveline. The Reds also promoted assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham, adding “director of pitching” to his title. Travis Sawchik of FiveThirtyEight.com reports (via Twitter) that the division-rival Cubs also offered Boddy a position, but he opted for the Reds’ position.
While Boddy will work more with the team’s minor league pitchers than the Major League pitchers, he’ll also “work closely with the Major League pitching department to ensure the pitching philosophies and protocols are consistent throughout the organization,” per the Reds.
The Cincinnati organization has rapidly turned over its pitching infrastructure, not only bringing Boddy aboard but also adding Cotham and pitching coach Derek Johnson (formerly of the Brewers) in the past year. For those unfamiliar, Driveline (founded by Boddy) seeks to utilize technology and biomechanics to take a data-driven approach to pitching development. Its services have become increasingly popular among both Major League and college pitchers in recent years, with Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer and Detroit’s Matthew Boyd among the more prominent names in the company’s clientele.
The Reds, in recent seasons, have sought to bolster their utilization of technology and analytics in an attempt to stay competitive with the rising number of data-oriented front offices in today’s game. Manager David Bell’s coaching staff featured several members who’d previously worked in such organizations and, as such, were familiar with the best way to break down that type of information for players. They’ve also made multiple hires to add to their analytics department in the past couple of seasons.
Cotham, a former Driveline client and Major League pitcher himself, is assuredly a part of that. He spent the 2019 season as the team’s assistant pitching coach but will now see his role increase in with the addition of “director of pitching” to his title. While the aforementioned Bauer has had an inconsistent season, both with the Indians and the Reds, there were other success stories under Johnson and Cotham, with Sonny Gray chief among them. Luis Castillo also returned to form after a shaky 2018 campaign, and Anthony DeSclafani arguably had the best season of his career.