Well, this is certainly encouraging. Baseball America wrapped up their 2016 MLB Draft coverage with some ratings and rankings:

We put the final bow on the 2016 draft with our annual team-by-team review of all the selections and how the players’ pro careers have started. Draft writer Hudson Belinsky, managing editor J.J. Cooper and editor-in-chief John Manuel contacted scouting directors, other scouts and player-development personnel to break down every draft class.

Go check it out, because the Reds grade out very well. In fact, according to BA, Cincinnati had the best overall draft class in the major leagues this year, thanks partially to a home run selection at #2 overall (Nick Senzel). The talent infusion portion of the rebuild got a big boost from this year’s draft. We can only hope that next year, with the Reds once again holding the #2 selection, will be as productive.

In particular, the Reds’ first round pick in the draft, third baseman Senzel, is showered with praise by the BA report. Senzel was judged to be the “Best Pure Hitter,” had the “Best Pro Debut,” and rates as #2 in the “Closest to the Majors” category.

So nice. If you’re not excited about Nick Senzel’s future, I don’t know what to tell you.

Other individual Reds prospects who were singled out include outfielder — and former football star — Taylor Trammell (#3 “Best Pro Debut” among high school draftees and #5 “Best Athlete” overall) and outfielder TJ Friedl (#4 “Most Intriguing Background,” a category with also included Trey Griffey, Junior’s son). Friedl, of course, wasn’t actually drafted, as we’ve covered here in depth, but he counts as a member of this draft class.

Ya never know, as they say, but I’d rather see the Reds at the top of this list than anywhere else. If you’re searching for a glimmer of hope in these dark days after two consecutive seasons of 90+ losses, this is it.

31 Responses

  1. sandman

    Could Senzel potentially be a Joey Votto type hitter (high AVG, high OBP, high BB)?

    • Jordan Barhorst (@JordanBarhorst)

      Absolutely. I don’t think you ever want to say a prospect will be THAT good, but if anyone has a shot, its Senzel. He’s much more highly regarded as a prospect than Votto was, but as we all know, that rarely means much of anything. He has the tools, but if Senzel has the same drive to be great that Joey Votto possesses, look out.

      • sandman

        Whenever Senzel comes up, I’d like to see Votto take him under his wing. I think Votto’s done that already with some of these young hitters, but just imagine what Senzel could become if mentored by Votto.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I think one of the things that separates Joey from so many other guys is his ability to avoid popups, which helps him run one of the highest BABIPs in MLB history (4th, right now behind Cobb, Carew, and Hornsby, IIRC).

      If Senzel has a more normal batted ball profile, he’ll struggle to hit for a high average AND power, since power almost always comes with strikeouts.

      Just spit-ballin! 🙂

      • Gaffer

        Great analysis Patrick. I have seen stats on that point about Votto not hitting pop ups, it’s insane actually. Can you imagine if BHam had the same approach and results?

        There is no other Joey Votto, but I think Senzel could provide similar overall value as Votto, first because of his increased defensive contribution. Even if he hits at a .300 BABIP his walks would likely make up OBP. I am less worried about strikeouts if when he contacts he has above average power.

      • greenmtred

        Patrick: Where does Wade Boggs rate on that list? I seem to recall at least one season when he didn’t pop up at all.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Boggs’ career ended before granular batted ball data was kept. So we have no way of knowing for sure!

        With that said, he’s got a lifetime .344 BABIP (to Votto’s .357), which probably puts him around 12th-15th all-time, If I had to guess. It’s very likely he was like Votto with pop-ups. You almost have to be to run BABIPs that high.

      • Red Line 9

        My recollection of Wade Boggs was that short down angle swing. I’d think the high ba itself would indicate that he the pop outs were few. Boggs had tremendous bat control.

      • greenmtred

        That’s my recollection of him, too. I think I remember (always have to qualify any statement based on my memory) an article in SI that consisted of Ted Williams, Don Mattingly and Boggs discussing hitting, the point being that Boggs and Mattingly were the two modern hitters who approached the craft as Williams did.

  2. cfd3000

    What’s to say here besides a) this is a good list to be first on, and b) with the Reds looking at a stockpile of young arms that should in some combination yield a strong staff in the near future it’s encouraging that the strength of the 2016 draft class is based primarily on three promising hitters? Now if the Reds can repeat that success for 2017 the future will look very good indeed.

    • Preach

      I was thinking about the hitters being rated so high as we are collecting arms as well. Good stuff. With some of the young talent already in place at the big League level, and a couple free agent acquisitions in a year or so, this should be a team pushing for the post season on the regular.

    • Jordan Barhorst (@JordanBarhorst)

      Whoa. Not who I was expecting. I think after reading Doug Gray’s opinions on Senzel, they’re severely underestimating his potential stolen base totals. He should probably be a little higher on that list.

    • WVRedlegs

      That was a bit of a stunner, but in a very good way. He is an incredible athlete. The Reds had to be ecstatic about him falling down into the mid-30’s and they seized the opportunity to select him. A future fixture in the Reds OF.

    • Red Line 9

      That’s interesting. I wonder what the rankings would look like if the fantasy stats were weighted properly. SB in a standard league is grosslt overweighted. A SB has equal value to a HR.

      That being said…again…a list you want to be at the top of.

  3. David

    TJ Friedl was such a fluke. Highly regarded and scouted player, and it seemed NOBODY realized he was draft eligible. The Reds just signed him, after the draft. Really odd.

    I think Oakey will yet turn out to be a pretty good draft choice.

    Senzel was the “safe” #2 pick, and it does turn out that he is just as good, if not better than hoped for.

    What separates Joey Votto from a lot of other players, and it was true in the minors too, is that he is a grinder. He has a tremendous work ethic for preparing to play, especially hitting. In that way, he is very reminiscent of Pete Rose, and Rose thinks very highly of Joey Votto, and has said so on numerous occasions.

  4. Gaffer

    They got Friedel because they had the most money, because they had the most picks. One of those picks was in a lottery (comp pick). Basically, the system rewards 1) bad teams 2) small markets 3) luck. If the reds were NOT the best drafters last year then that would be a bigger story.

  5. WVRedlegs

    The 2016 Reds MLB draft was much, much better than the Reds 2014 and 2015 drafts. 2014 was worse than 2015. And it isn’t just the second overall draft pick as it is the second pick in each round. That surely gets you a better prospect.
    The 2017 draft is shaping up as more of a pitchers draft. There are many college arms that are considered polished that will go at the top of the draft. Not as many bats at this early stage are considered as polished. But it is way too early for the 2017 draft. Maybe a SS as a position player at #2 to go with a 3B and a CF/OF in 2016 and 2 C’s in 2015 and 2016? That would be drafting right up the middle of the field. There are a few High School SS that are very highly regarded and seen as 1st rounders at this early stage.

    • JB WV

      As opposed to last year when the Reds almost HAD to draft a position player at #2, I think they just take the most highly regarded player period. With the accumulated prospects they have now, and a glaring need arises down the road, trading for that need shouldn’t be a problem.

    • lwblogger2

      The Howard pick at #1 isn’t looking too good. I’m not giving up on Stepenson though. He got hurt. That happens from time to time. He’s still very young, having come out of HS. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bounce back strongly next year. That would make that 2015 draft look a bit better. Trehan was a pretty solid pick too, in the 3rd. If Blandino can get himself sorted (he had a nice finish to the season) it could go a long way in salvaging the 2014 draft, at least at the top.

  6. Creigh Deeds

    One of the many reasons that I love baseball is that it mirrors the American experience. Merit matters. Nothing is perfect(except our children). There are winners and losers. And there is always tomorrow. We Americans are basically optimists. This piece is “American” at its best.

    • Red Line 9

      I’d love to believe this to be true, but I don’t even believe it to be true in baseball. I spent quite a bit of time around the game, and saw a few players buried that were deserving. Also saw some players given multiple undeserved chances.

      I guess that’s very American as well.

      I’m intrigued at the likely notion that the probability that at some point a hall of fame talent was left to wile away in the minors is very likely.

      Perhaps our modern sabremetrics help, but orgs are not beyond the political.

      • lwblogger2

        It sure helps if someone in the org really likes you.

      • TR

        With the exception of our personal life, nothing is beyond the political.

      • greenmtred

        Not sure that the personal life is beyond it, either, politics being gamesmanship and negotiation.

      • David

        I think the Rule 5 draft precludes actual ML talent being permanently buried in someone’s farm system these days. Somebody is eager to draft a promising minor leaguer that perhaps didn’t get a fair shake with another team. Juaquin Andujar was a guy that was sorta buried in the Reds farm system, because Sparky didn’t like his attitude. He eventually got out and had some good years with the Astros.

        And there have been players that had psychological or personality problems that hurt what could have been promising careers. Milton Bradley comes to mind

      • Red Line 9

        Rule 5 certainly helps. I think Im more speculating on maybe the guys who have put up decent if not stellar numbers in the minors, and the break never came. There have been a few guys come from nowhere and have solid big league careers. Makes me wonder how many others were out there.

        I can’t imagine Andujar pitching on those Reds teams. That guy was all kinds of fiery and had cocaine penchant back then…but that’s a large club back in the day. Whitey Herzog sure loved Andujar though.

    • Chuck Schick

      Conservatives love the income inequality in baseball.

      Liberals love that smart, rich teams subsidize dumb, poor teams.


  7. Old-school

    We need Steve’s thoughts on new cable deal through next 15 years.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Working on it. Collecting data. Will publish Friday AM.