The Major League draft takes place over three days, beginning on Monday night and going through Wednesday afternoon. The draft has changed a bit over the last five years. It’s gone from 50 rounds down to 40. Major League Baseball has implemented a slotting system and serious penalties for teams that go over their spending budgets (though teams have been creative in how to make the most of the money they are allotted). The first and second rounds are even broadcast on national television these days. Among the big three sports, the baseball draft is still far and away behind the NBA and NFL drafts, and it likely will be that way forever given how long it takes baseball players to go from high school or college to the big leagues, but it’s gained fan interest recently compared to just five or ten years ago.

The Cincinnati Reds will draft 11th overall in the first round, the highest they have drafted since the 2009 draft when they selected Mike Leake 8th overall. The Reds have had incredible success with their first round draft picks over the last 12 years. Here’s a rundown of every first round pick they’ve made (not counting compensation or supplemental 1st round picks) since 2004:

  • Homer Bailey
  • Jay Bruce
  • Drew Stubbs
  • Devin Mesoraco
  • Yonder Alonso
  • Mike Leake
  • Yasmani Grandal
  • Robert Stephenson
  • Nick Travieso
  • Phillip Ervin
  • Nick Howard

Going back to a year prior to include Ryan Wagner, from 2003-2010 every Reds first rounder made the Majors and all but Wagner were starting caliber players for the large part of their careers. The guys that have followed are top prospects in the system. The team hasn’t really missed on a first round pick in a very long time, something that they’ve been better at than any other team in baseball in that span.

Looking at the 2015 draft, it’s considered to be one of the weaker drafts in recent history, which isn’t good for the Reds given they have their highest selection since 2009. The team has just ten picks before their selection comes up, a situation where you normally would have a good idea of who the team is leaning towards selecting. In 2015 that isn’t the case. After the first few picks of the draft, it seems that things are wide open for the taking.

The Reds have been linked to ten different players in the draft by various mock drafts since the start of May by Keith Law at ESPN, Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and John Manuel at Baseball America. Here’s the list of those players:

  • Andrew Benintendi | OF | Arkansas
  • Walker Buehler | RHP | Vanderbilt
  • Daz Cameron | OF | High School
  • Trenton Clark | OF | High School
  • Carson Fulmer | RHP | Vanderbilt
  • Ian Happ | OF | Cincinnati
  • Jon Harris | RHP | Missouri State
  • Tyler Jay | LHP | Illinois
  • Tyler Stephenson | C | High School
  • Kyle Tucker | OF | High School

Essentially, the Reds have been linked to lots of college pitchers and high school outfielders. The lone wolf has been high school catcher Tyler Stephenson. Given how many names that the team is linked to, it would be a shock to see them go off of the board and make a selection that no one saw coming. It’s been a long time since the Reds have made a pick that they weren’t linked to at some point.

With all of the uncertainty, how things unfold on Monday night on MLB Network will be interesting to watch. One stance I’ve taken with the organization, because of their strong track record, is that whoever they take is good enough for me even if I don’t necessarily agree with the pick at the time. The track record under Chris Buckley (the scouting director since 2006) stands on its own. If you are interested in my thoughts on all of the players, I will have my own Top 25 draft board posted later this week at RedsMinorLeagues.com. For now, i’ve got out scouting reports on all of the players if you are interested in that, and you can find that here.

Among the players that I expect to have a solid chance of being available, and among those that are listed above, I’d personally lean towards Cincinnati local and now Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi. I just think his overall game fits the best, though it’s really close between him and a few other guys on my draft board.

39 Responses

  1. Seth

    Would love to see them get Benintendi! Home town kid who crushed high school, now crushing it in college!

  2. RFM

    Tyler Jay is a LHP, not a RHP. And as a bullpen-to-rotation project he seems like a pick the Reds wouldn’t be reluctant to make, if he’s around.

    • gaffer

      You hope the track record on this bullpen to starter thing is tilting toward NOT doing that again. I had no problem with Lorenzen as he had been a position player and that was the only reason he was not a starter. Cingrani was a 3rd rounder so not a big risk. BUT the Howard pick was garbage, and the jury is still out on Iglesius too.

    • RFM

      Some team in the first half of the first round is sure to use its pick on Tyler Jay, despite being a reliever-to-rotation project. He will probably be selected before the Reds make the #11 overall pick. He’s arguably the top LHP in the draft, and won’t miss the first round for the old school idea that no reliever can ever do anything more. The only comparison worth making to Nick Howard is that Jay will be selected earlier in the draft than Howard was.

      Also everyone should remember, in case he does fall to the Reds, that Tyler Jay is not Nick Howard. No matter how disappointed anyone may be in Nick Howard’s 2015, performance, Tyler Jay has nothing to do with it.

      I’m hoping to see Kyle Tucker or Andrew Benintendi drafted by the Reds, and hoping NOT to see Ian Happ or Tyler Stephenson. Cameron and Clark, eh. I’d also be happy to see Tyler Jay or Carson Fulmer fall to the Reds, but it seems unlikely.

  3. WVRedlegs

    Last year’s top pick, Nick Howard, was a long reach at #19 overall. The Reds draft gurus struck out on this one. He’s a bust already, having failed as a starter and being moved back to the bullpen. The dude cannot find the plate with a flashlight, map and GPS navigation equipment.
    You DO NOT spend your 1st round pick and that $$$ slotted for that pick on a reliever, period! With the way he walks batters, he’ll never be a closer. BIG BUST.
    Big disappointment with Howard. The streak ended with Howard. Now the Reds have to start a new successful streak.
    Last year’s overall #1 pick, LHP Brady Aiken, didn’t sign and is available. I’ve seen some mock drafts have him sliding down into the 20’s for this year’s first round. With the Reds lack of LH starters in their system, should the Reds take a gamble on Aiken at #11 if available? The one negative on Aiken is Scott Borass is his agent.

    • jdx19

      You sure are confident in your ability to judge prospects in high-A ball. Walking a lot of guys in high-A doesn’t mean you’re a bust. He’s had a bad 26 innings. Hopefully the coaches can help him get his mechanics hashed out, because, really, there has to be something wrong mechanically to walk 32 guys in 26 innings.

      • WVRedlegs

        No, it’s not that. I was disappointed in the Howard pick last year. I thought there were many other better options available to the Reds at the #19 pick, both hitting and pitching. Time will tell.
        He does touch 97 mph with his fastball. But somebody has got to teach him how to locate it.
        Maybe bust is probably too strong a term to use with Howard. But what do you call so far this year, 26 IP, 19 H, 22 R, 19 ER, 32 BB, 4 HBP, 22 K? Those last two work out to a 11.08 BB/9 and a 7.62 K/9. Not a typo, 11.08 BB/9.
        The silver lining in that dark cloud, 0 HR’s.
        Now, is that worthy of your first round pick? You tell me.

    • jdx19

      Kiley McDaniel has him as a 55 FV guy. That’s not terrible at all. Given that a majority of prospects bust, he certainly could bust, but I just don’t think 26 innings is enough to call a guy a bust.

      • lwblogger2

        For people who might not know the scouting 20-80 scale, a 55 projection means he projects as a mid-rotation guy or perhaps a closer in MLB. Was McDaniel’s projection prior to this season? That FV may be lower based on what he’s seeing in professional competition.

      • jdx19

        Yeah, I’d bet it was before the season. True, it could be lower. Maybe 50. Still, 26 innings is not much to declare a guy a bust, which is all I was trying to say.

        To expound on the 20-80 scale, for those who care to know, 50 is considered “average” and each 10 points above or below 50 represent 1 standard deviation from the mean, which is how you get to a 20-80 scale (3 sigma above/below). Billy Hamilton was once described as having 90 speed.

    • Fish

      The list is people who have been mocked to the reds. I don’t think any of the top tier shortstops will be there when the reds draft. Personally, I like Tucker the most, then Benetendi, then maybe Buehler. I think some/most of these guys will be off the board when the Reds draft.

    • Doug Gray

      I remember when Homer Bailey was a bust once upon a time. And when Devin Mesoraco was a bust.

      Nick Howard is having some real struggles right now. No doubt about it. I’m concerned. But calling people busts in their 1st full season on minor league baseball is pretty bad business.

      As for Scott Boras being someone’s agent…. so what? Boras is Michael Lorenzens agent. Boras is the agent to a whole lot of guys. It’s not a big deal.

      If the Reds take Aiken, then they’ve seen his medical records and believe he can pitch again. So no issue there if he is the selection.

      • Michael E

        Add in the fact he was a stud college pitcher and yeah, patience is the key here. You don’t pitch like he did in college with crappy stuff or control. He has lost it this year, but could be adjusting to full time work of professional ball or any number of things.

  4. WVRedlegs

    Two not connected to the Reds and not on your list are
    1. Alex Bregman, SS, LSU
    2. DJ Stewart, OF/1B, Florida St.
    Bregman is in that #6-#13 territory and Stewart is in the #10-23 territory.
    Bregman is the hitter the Reds sorely need, but may not be there at #11. He is RH and has comparisons to Dustin Pedoria. He has been described as the most polished college hitter over the last couple of years. I hope he is available at #11.
    Stewart is built like a middle linebacker, 6’00” and 230. He is LH, has a weird stance, but can flat out hit.

    • jdx19

      FG Mock has Bregman going 4th, or 2nd in the scenario that HOU wants him. Seems like a solid guy if he were to fall to 11.

    • redmountain

      And he had Tommy John surgery, which is why he was not signed in the first place. The Astros thought the ligament in his elbow was dangerously thin.
      Bregman will go in the first 5 and Stewart has such a funky stance that he may not be able to hit in the majors. If the catcher is projected to be good he might be a good choice.
      As far as drafting relievers and making them starters, Howard has been pitching for less than a year-by the way he was a position player in college as well. Iglesias has shown that he just needs the innings to be a pretty decent starting pitcher

  5. gaffer

    Wagner I beileve was the last Jim Bowden pick, thank god.

    • Michael E

      Bowden wasn’t the problem, Marge Schott gutting the scouting department was…as was our farm system ability to progress the prospects up the chain. This is STILL a problem. Every year we see other teams churn out one solid rookie after another (Cards always have someone make a big jump from A ball to MLB in under two years), while we have ours rot in A and AA ball for 5 years.

  6. WVRedlegs

    This quote is from John Fay on his twitter thing on May 29.
    “Pretty frightening stat: #Reds only have 9 qualified hitters in the minors hitting over .250. ”
    No excuses stat. Draft hitters that get on base.

    • jdx19

      Wow. That one hurts a bit. Agreed 100%. Draft guys who can get on base.

      Any idea how many over .275? .300?

    • redmountain

      Fact-there are not that many hitters that fit your requirements. Other teams are looking for the same guys.

      • jdx19

        There aren’t many hitters that get on base? That seems misleading, at best.

    • Michael E

      Draft hitters than don’t K much. On base is secondary. Find guys that can foul off good pitches and then mash that one that isn’t so good in a 8 or 10 pitch at bat.

      The note was for .250 or less hitters, it didn’t say if their OBP was bad too, it may not be, but I’d rather have a guy that doesn’t K over a guy that has a good OBP but can’t make a pitcher work and put many balls in play (Adam Dunn all-or-nothing was good OBP, but really a bad hitter).

    • Michael E

      A team full of Adam Dunn’s would probably lead the league in OBP and HRs and have the lowest team BA in the league. Runs scored would be below average too most likely. 15 Ks a game and a record number of Left-On-Base. If lucky enough to make the post-season (great pitching maybe) a quick sweep out of the playoffs due to hitters that can’t hit a lick against GOOD playoff staffs.

    • Michael E

      So OBP by itself is nothing. OBP with some other nice qualities can be great. I could lead the league in OBP (short and could sqaut really low), but I would be a .010 hitter and have all of 5 RBIs and maybe 50 runs (not very fast when young and bad knee makes it worse). Think Eddie Gaedel style of hitting.

    • Doug Gray

      We need them now, but every player listed here is at least 2 years away and who knows what we will need at that point in time. The key is simply drafting someone who will be a big leaguer. Having too much of one thing isn’t a problem since you can trade it. It’s not having enough of anything that will get teams in trouble.

      • Michael E

        Yeah, BPA. I frown on high school players because that can take so long to become useful, but our luck with college players is bad and they too take too long to be useful. We need better scouting and better minor league instruction/developement. Something is broke with the Reds minor leagues and making prospects better. Feels like Marge Schott era is still lingering with budget cuts the way our top prospects take four or five years to get from rookie ball to AA/AAA, while other teams have a high school player from rookie to AA in three years or less and do it often.

    • Michael E

      True, but we also need a stud LHP ace-type, so if a great LHP falls, take him and find hitting gems elsewhere (trades, lower rounds). What we need is a better scouting department. It’s probably not the worst, but it could be much better too.

  7. JMO

    I’m with some posters above, Howard was a major reach and a horrible selection in the first round. Grant Holmes was available and should have been the pick. Bad move. That being said, my number 1 player I want the Reds to take is Andrew Benitendi.

      • Michael E

        Yeah, I wanted Trout when they took Leake in 2009. Well, not really, I didn’t even know who Trout was, but hey, sounds good now, right?

      • Michael E

        That said we’re overdue to find our Trout. Sadly, if we had drafted Trout, I’d bet he still be stuck in AA ball right now and getting worse each year after lighting up rookie ball in 2009. We just have a way of turning high potential and ceilings into mediocrity it seems.

    • Doug Gray

      A major reach seems like an awfully big stretch. Going into the draft last season Baseball America ranked him as the 25th best prospect in the draft. The Reds picked him 19th.

  8. Michael Smith

    Doug stop using logic to back up your argument

  9. seat101

    Thank you Doug, you are so informative and you’re also good writer.

  10. Michael E

    I’d like to see the Reds be the team that drafts the really good player that has fallen due to signability issues and then sign him. I am so sick of seeing other teams get a top 5 player simply because they aren’t so cheap as to let a million or two impact getting a near can’t miss player over an unknown.