The Major League Baseball draft is the least exciting of the big three drafts. That’s two fold: First, no one goes from being drafted and moves directly to the Majors. Often guys are at least 3-5 years away from the big leagues when they are drafted. Secondly, hardly anyone watches college baseball, especially in comparison to college football or basketball.
While the baseball draft isn’t celebrated, if a team drafts well it can be a huge difference maker. A majority of the Cincinnati Reds are homegrown. From 2003-2010 every first round pick the Reds made reached the Majors and every pick since is among their top prospects.
The general manager tends to get credit for how well the team drafts, but in most cases the scouting director is running the show and the Reds have had the same guy running the show since the 2006 draft. Chris Buckley came over from Toronto to head the scouting department and the organization has been one of the best drafting teams year-in and year-out ever since.
Where will the Cincinnati Reds draft?
The Reds will have the 11th overall pick in the draft. They do not have any compensation picks this year, but do have an additional competitive balance pick after the 2nd round.
What are the team needs?
This is a bit of a loaded statement, as teams do not really draft for big league needs since players are so far away from being able to help out the big league club and the team needs could be quite different by that point in time. They also aren’t going to draft for an organizational need inside the first 5-7 rounds to try and fill in some depth issues in the organization, but could do so in rounds 10-40.
The Reds currently have a grand total of two pitchers in Double-A and Triple-A that are left handed pitchers. Lefties are generally tougher to come by, but having just two lefties combined in the upper minor leagues represents a real lack of depth. Coming into the season there was only one middle infielder in the Top 20, though the depth that they do have there is at the lower levels. The organization also seems to be lacking in the depth department at the corner infield spots.
Where is this draft strong?
This draft is considered to be quite weak, but one area where it’s supposedly strong is at the shortstop position. With the team picking 11th overall, the weakness of the draft won’t really be present in the 1st round, but we may begin to see it show up after that.
Who have the Reds been linked to?
Everywhere you look you will see that the Reds have been linked to Cincinnati Bearcats outfielder Ian Happ. The connection makes plenty of sense as the team can get looks at him for every home game he’s played over the years. Some believe that he could transition back to second base as a professional, where he has played in the past.
Fangraphs Kiley McDaniel has linked the Reds to prep outfielder Kyle Tucker and prep catcher Tyler Stephenson. Tucker has drawn some big time praise for his swing and advanced bat. Stephenson has been noted for his big arm and big power potential.
John Manuel at Baseball America had the Reds selecting Happ in his first mock draft but also linked the organization to two starting pitchers from Vanderbilt. Carson Fulmer is having a better season than his teammate Walker Buehler, but both are having strong seasons. Fulmer has a 1.56 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 86.2 innings. Buehler has a 2.86 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 56.2 innings (he’s made three fewer starts than Fulmer this season).
With the draft being just over three weeks away there is still plenty of movement that could happen on draft boards. College and high schoolers are still playing games and scouts are getting more looks at guys and gather more information. In three weeks we will make one final look at the draft before it takes place and will have a better feel for things and how they could shake out in the first round.