In the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, a catcher from the University of Miami. Unlike last year, when I was very pleased with the selection of Mike Leake in the first round, I’m underwhelmed by Grandal. I will lay out the reasons for that below, but first I need to acknowledge a few things:

–The Reds know more than I do about all these prospects;
–The Reds have more information at their disposal;
–I have a good bit of faith in Chris Buckley (Cincinnati’s scouting director) and the Reds scouting department;
–I’m just a guy wearing his pajamas in his mother’s basement, so I rarely know what I’m talking about.

Many people are very high on Grandal, and I’m hopeful that he will develop into the star that some expect. Grandal was actually expected to go a bit higher (maybe as high as 4th), but he has “signability” issues, so he dropped a bit. I hope the Reds can get him signed. He’s definitely a talented player.

That said, there are a few red flags in my mind. According to his scouting report:

–“Grandal has put up numbers this year, but his hitting overall does not grade out that well. He doesn’t have great bat speed.”
–“He has a good amount of raw power, though it’s not quite plus.”
–“He is a well below average runner.” (He’s a catcher; I don’t really care about that.)
–Defensively, he “doesn’t always move his feet well” and “he’s not the most agile backstop.”
–“Despite a good reputation, his individual defensive tools, other than his arm, don’t grade out that well. Lack of bat speed has some concerned about hitting ability.”

Finally, in the small sample size department, I’ve seen him play a few times since his University of Miami Hurricanes have been battling my alma mater for supremacy in the ACC for the last couple of years. I haven’t been particularly impressed (though, again, I’m no scout).

Anyway, seems like a lot of issues for a guy that was a possibility for a top-five pick. Let’s just say that I think there are reasons for concern.

I’m not losing sleep over it, however. The Reds scouting department has demonstrated that they have a clue, and I’m going to trust them on this one. Also, some guys I like — like Keith Law over at ESPN — think that the Reds made a particularly good pick. I certainly hope that’s true. I’d like nothing more than to see this guy exceed all expectations.

A recap of some of the Grandal chatter out there:

–Here’s Mark Sheldon’s piece, including this:

“It’s such a hard position to find,” Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said after the pick was made. “There are so few everyday catchers across the Minor Leagues, or even in the Major Leagues, that we just didn’t think we could pass him up.”

–Doug over at RML gives his stamp of approval, with plenty of analysis.
Jamie Ramsey has the Reds press release, and some more quotes from Chris Buckley.
Lance McAlister has pointed us to some good videos of Grandal:

–Finally, here’s a scene I hope we see replayed again and again at Great American Ballpark in the next few years: