The MLB draft is coming up in less than three weeks. The 1st night of the draft will take place on June 4th, with the draft ending with the 40th round being completed on June 6th. Day three of the draft combines rounds 11-40 and almost kills me every single year. But that’s another story for another day.

The Cincinnati Reds will be drafting 5th overall in a few weeks. It will be the lowest pick that they have had since the 2015 draft. They’ve drafted second overall the past two seasons and by all accounts have done very well in selecting Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene. The big question is, who will the organization look at for this year?

Things at the top of the draft seem all but settled. Auburn pitcher Casey Mize seems to be the consensus top guy in the draft and a virtual lock to go #1 unless he gets hurt between now and draft day. After that, though, is where things are very much up in the air. The player that the Reds have been linked the most with is Florida starting pitcher Brady Singer. He entered the year as the #1 prospect in the draft class, but he went through a stretch where his velocity was down a little bit and he fell down some draft boards. Recently it’s been back up and he’s found himself back near the top of the draft.

The Reds have also been linked to a few different high school pitchers, with Carter Stewart being the one that seems to be on their radar the most. He’s got a big fastball and arguably the best breaking ball in the entire draft. There have also been links to Matthew Liberatore, a left handed pitcher out of Arizona’s Mountain Ridge High School.

When it comes to the college bats, the class seems to leave quite a bit to be desired. Depending on where you look you are going to get a different answer for who the top bat in the college group is. Some places will list Joey Bart, a catcher from Georgia Tech. Some have Oregon State Nick Madrigal as the top hitter in the class. Other places may have Alec Bohm, a third baseman from Wichita State. A late riser that is at the top other places is Florida third baseman Jonathan India.

All of those hitters have their share of questions with them. Joey Bart has more strikeouts than walks, which as a 1st round college player hasn’t been a good sign in the past. Nick Madrigal is 5′ 7″ and 160 lbs., while also only have 7 total home runs in his college career. Alec Bohm seems to have the bat you want to see with power, hit, and discipline. But there’s decent chance he has to slide to first base as a professional, which does ding his overall value. Jonathan India is hitting for very impressive power, slugging .780 this season. A solid prospect before the year, he’s never really excelled in the past and has gone crazy in 2018.

With how the draft looks right now, any single player that’s mentioned here would make for a solid pick. But, that there are so many options can be viewed as a negative as much as it can be as a positive. Teams are starting to lock into their draft boards right about now – with most teams getting together for a pre-draft meeting to lay things out between now and the end of the week. Unlike in the past two years, the Reds will have to wait a little bit to see who will be available for them to select on day one of the draft.

11 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    I would go after a Collage pitcher or position player here.
    Too much risk for a high school pitcher.
    We have a lot of them

    • Hotto4Votto

      If Singer is available he makes a lot of sense as a fast riser. But I wouldn’t skip a prospect that projects well because he’s not made it to college. Bailey, Garrett, Romano, and Mahle were all taken out of HS. Stephenson was a HS pick as well and certainly isn’t being held back due to lack of stuff. Our best two pitching prospects, Greene and Santillan, were also both prep pitchers. Having a lot of talented players in the system isn’t a bad thing.

      The last two college arms we drafted in first two rounds were Howard (bust), and Lorenzen (mid-leverage reliever). Pitching in college doesn’t necessarily equate with making successful picks.

      With that said, I am high on Madrigal and Bohm as college Bats. I’d be fine with either of those two at #5, along with being fine on Singer. I’d avoid McClanahan and Bart due to control issues and plate discipline respectively. I’d target Stewart, Liberatore, or Kelenic over them at #5.

      • greenmtred

        To be fair, Lorenzen didn’t pitch alot in college.

      • Gary Clements

        We didn’t Howard. I think he got him from the Tigers in the Suarez trade. He was damaged goods when he came.

  2. cfd3000

    I think when you have that kind of uncertainty and there are no “lock” picks available (as much as there can be such a thing) you go for high ceiling picks and hope that some of them turn out great. That’s essentially what’s happening after the first round or two anyway. But in any case it doesn’t sound like this is a draft that will change the course of the franchise. Try not to stress out through all 40 rounds Doug!

  3. WVRedlegs

    Good wrap up Doug.
    It would be amazing if at #5 the Reds had their choice of Singer, Stewart, or Liberatore.
    Fangraphs new mock draft yesterday had college players going in the first 6 picks. While possible, I don’t see that as probable. Last year high school players were the first 3 picks. I keep hoping Mize has a hiccup or two and can fall to #5. He isn’t the lock many think at #1. The Tigers are having late interest in Joey Bart as a huge building block. They’re having some interest in Singer. Some say the Tigers are fully enamored with Oregon St.’s Nick Madrigal and view him as the best building block. Not many saw the Twins taking Royce Lewis as 1/1 last year.
    Having Stewart or Liberatore to pair with Hunter Greene would be a phenomenal outcome.
    Having Mize or Singer as quick rising college arm prospects would also be a very nice outcome, especially if it is Mize.
    I can see reason with the Reds going with Bart at C if he is there at #5. Stud C’s with a power bat, huge arm (has thrown out 40%+ of base stealers) and good catching skills are hard to come by. Bart as a Red would get a lot of comparisons to Johnny Bench, and could also get tutored by The Man, Johnny Bench himself. Bart could also be a fast riser in the minors. It also might allow for moving Tyler Stephenson to 1B, which might make it easier on his body with his early injury history. Start grooming a Joey Votto replacement. That could result in 2 stud players, stud power bats at power positions in the same lineup. A lot of positives there.
    And then there is the option to sign a player at #5 to a below slot deal so that the Reds can draft/sign a player with their second pick to an above slot deal. A similar step they did in 2016 with Senzel and Trammell. Reds couldn’t do that last year with Greene demanding record signing money. It might be hard for Cincinnati to do that this year again if they select a college P at #5. Mize and Singer both will more than likely seek full bonus slot allotment.
    The Reds do not have a compensation pick or a Competitive Balance pick in between round 1 and round 2 this year. So their second round pick at #47 is going to be important. The draft is said to be very deep in the #20 thru #60 range, so it would be a good time to use the strategy drafting/signing #5 at below slot and #47 above slot.
    A lot, a lot can change between now and draft day. It will be interesting to watch how things unfold over the next 2 weeks and 5 days.
    Draft order in top-5 is Detroit, SF, Philly, CWS, and Cincinnati. It will be fun to see what strategies each team takes. It depends on what those first 4 teams can do that decides what the Reds will be able to do.

    • Reaganspad

      Nick Madrigal has been playing with college pitching. He did post his 4th strike out… of the season this week. 458 average, 514 OBP and 635 slugging. Don’t care how tall he is, the guy can flat hit and it jumps off his bat. Zero errors in the field also. He will make it to the majors faster than Michael Conforto did.

      Interesting jump in the last mock draft I saw is how much Trevor Larnach has moved, from 35 early this year, he is at 14 now. Lefty, reminds of Paul O’Neill. 346/469/698 for the Right Fielder and he has been good in the field. 37 walks, 41 strike outs for a guy who will set the team record for HRs. He has 17

  4. Bill

    Please don’t take a pitcher in the first round, it’s to risky.

    • greenmtred

      Everyone’s a risk. Senzel has vertigo. You need pitchers–12 or so on the MLB club.

  5. RedWard

    Pitcher, please. With all the trouble the Reds have had finding and settling on a healthy starting rotation, let’s add more talent to the mix. Preferably a college arm that can advance quickly.

  6. Den

    It’s a crap shoot no matter who they, with odds greater he never materilizesm into anything great.