Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Cody joined the Tigers as an 8th round draft choice this past June, out of Manhattan College. Cody's collegiate career saw steady progress, including a junior campaign that ended with an appearance on the All-MAAC 1st Team. In addition to this lofty honor, Chris was acknowledged as the league's Pitcher of the Week on two separate occasions. After such an outstanding season, Cody headed to the Cape to play for the Catham A's, where he went 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA in seven starts. Having gained valuable experience in a competitive summer league, Chris went on to become the MAAC Pitcher of the Year in 2006, and was also named to the Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball All-American 2nd Team, and his Regional All-Tournament Team. Despite all of these successes, his most amazing accomplishment was likely the no-hitter he tossed against in-state rival LeMoyne.
Cody made his professional debut in the Oneonta rotation in June, and quickly established himself as the ace of the staff. Cody's 2.38 ERA and 1.08 WHIP were outstanding numbers for any pitcher, let alone a pitcher lacking raw stuff. Chris managed a 4-1 record in 11 professional starts last summer, and didn't suffer his only loss until August. Over three starts in August, Cody sported a mind boggling 0.66/0.80 line and took home the TigsTown Oneonta Pitcher of the Month Award.
The proud owner of an 85-86 mph fastball that can touch 88 on a very good day, Cody relies on impeccable control throughout the zone to be effective with his "heater." His fastball lacks deceptive movement, and therefore he must maintain his command to be able to use his fastball effectively.
Chris compliments his fastball with an excellent change-up and a fringy curveball. His change has nice arm-side fade and good deception, as he keeps his arm speed up during the delivery. He has the confidence to throw his change-up in any count, in any game situation, making it all the more effective. His curve is loose and erratic, but it could become an average pitch with continued work.
His command and makeup are his only plus attributes, and they should serve him well in any variety of roles. He has an advanced feel for pitching and thinking on the mound, which could allow him to remain in the rotation for a while, despite his below-average stuff. Cody generates enough deception with his fastball-change combination that he should continue to fool less-advanced hitters. The valuable innings he gets in the starting rotation should allow him to continue working on his curveball, which is essential for his long-term success. In the end, his lack of top-end stuff and his incredible poise in big situations will probably lead him to a role as a situational lefty.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG SS-A
Cody's bill of health reads clean right now, but there are underlying concerns. He has been worked hard throughout his four years at Manhattan, including a 150-pitch complete game shutout of national power Tulane, on opening day 2006. His mechanics are clean, so he could still avoid injury over the long haul.
Chris' success in the NYPL was not surprising given the pitcher-friendly environment and generally down offensive year the league experienced. Maintaining that success in West Michigan should be relatively easy, given that the environment is even more conducive to pitchers.
The Tigers are likely to give Cody every opportunity to remain in the rotation, but if he begins to falter at all, he could be one of the first to move to the bullpen. The Tigers organization values power arms, and will give pitchers with better velocity more chances to start ballgames, than "soft-tossers." I'm looking for Cody to post numbers similar to Erik Averill's 2006 campaign, and he will likely eat innings in much the same fashion.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.