The 2016 draft is a month away and the Cincinnati Reds will be making their highest pick in the history of the franchise when they select the 2nd player overall. The only other time they selected this high was in 1983 when they selected high school shortstop Kurt Stillwell.
As things stand right now, the Reds seem to be down to about 10 players that they are considering. Who all 10 of those players isn’t entirely certain at this point, but today we are going to look at some of the guys that it would appear that the team is considering.
The High School Group
It would seem that there are five high school players that are likely in consideration for the #2 overall pick in the draft. Two pitchers, two outfielders and a shortstop.
Delvin Perez is a 17-year-old shortstop from Puerto Rico. If you click the link from the opening paragraph there’s a detailed article about how he performed in front of Reds scouts last week in a showcase. From a scouting perspective, he’s the toolsiest player in the draft, a potential true 5-tool guy. He’s also one of the youngest players in the draft, not turning 18 until after the minor league season is over.
Blake Rutherford is a 19-year-old outfielder who has been one of the top hitters for the 2016 draft for several years now. His bat is his calling card with a good hit tool and power tool, but he’s also got some speed and projects as a good corner outfielder in the long run.
Mickey Moniak has been a bit of a late riser into the top 10 this spring. The left handed hitter projects to hit for average, has plenty of speed, should stick in center field in the long run. How much power he eventually hits for is the big question, though double digit home runs isn’t out of the question.
Riley Pint entered the season as the strongest arm in the entire draft and that hasn’t changed. The high schooler from Kansas has topped out at 102 MPH and sits in the 95-99 MPH range while showing a potentially above-average slider, above-average curveball and above-average change up. The biggest question with Pint is around his control, though there are some questions about his mechanics as well.
Jason Groome entered the year as the top prep arm, but in some places has fallen behind Pint. In his last start he was roughed up quite a bit, a second consecutive outing where he wasn’t nearly at his best. Of course when he is at his best, the left hander is throwing 92-95 MPH and touching the upper 90’s with a hammer breaking ball and a good change up. Mechanically there are no concerns with him, but all spring long he’s lost velocity as the games have gone on.
The College Group
The college group seems to have four players that are likely in consideration with three hitters and a starting pitcher.
AJ Puk is arguably the top arm in the draft. The Florida left hander has outstanding stuff, with a mid 90’s fastball, wipeout slider and good change up. The Phillies, who have the #1 pick have been all over him and most places expect Puk to be their selection. The Gator has a 3.04 ERA this season with 71 strikeouts and 25 walks in 50.1 innings pitched. Control has been an issue at times for Puk, but he’s got some of the best stuff in the draft.
Kyle Lewis has been linked to the Reds in numerous mock drafts. The outfielder from Mercer has the best power potential in the draft and he’s been tearing the cover off of the ball this season, hitting .432/.561/.801 with 17 home runs, 54 walks and 37 strikeouts. Coming from a small school the competition level is a bit of a concern, and he’s got some swing-and-miss in his game, but his tools project well.
Nick Senzel has also been linked to the Reds in several mock drafts. The Tennessee infielder has split time between third base and shortstop, though he projects to remain at third base as a professional. He’s arguably the safest bat in the draft and is hitting .339/.440/.593 with 28 extra-base hits, 32 walks and 17 strikeouts this season. His hit tool is among the best, if not the best in the draft and there’s power potential to tap into.
Corey Ray hasn’t been directly linked to the Reds in any mock drafts, but has been on their radar. The Louisville outfielder has plenty of tools and is hitting .322/.391/.595 with 29 extra-base hits, 25 walks and 31 strikeouts. He’s a potential 5-tool player, but as I wrote two weeks ago, there could be a few reasons for concern with Ray.
With a month to go, the top of the draft is still rather uncertain. No player or players have separated themselves from the group and while this group of nine players all have rather high upsides, they all seem to also have some questions to go along with it that make them a little more risky than you may have seen in past drafts at the top.