Thursday, June 6, 2013

"With the 27th overall pick, the Reds (*should*) select..."

...Chris Anderson, rhp from Jacksonville University." 

For me, Anderson has the best bundle of attributes outside of the top tier of pitchers in the draft class. He has very clean mechanics, the makings of two plus pitches, a reasonably high floor, and enough projection to make him a legitimate top of the rotation starter if his development breaks right. If the medicals check out, then I'm willing to chalk up his rough stretch to fatigue and overuse. The only problem I see is the decent likelihood that he'll be off the board by the time the Reds select, but there is so much uncertainty, even at the top, in this draft that it's difficult to know who will slide down to the Reds pick. For that reason, the impressive Anderson sits atop my board, but Billy McKinney, who sits second on my board, might be the more realistic option.

McKinney is more than just a mere fallback option. I love the swing, which is pure and powerful. He should hit for both average and power in the professional ranks. His defense is a work in progress, but the bat is worth the gamble. He'd be a very good addition to the farm system and might be able to hit the ground running like another high school bat, Jesse Winker, did before him.

Here is what my draft board, based on who is reasonably likely to be available, looks like:

1. Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville University
2. Billy McKinney, OF, Plano West H.S. (TEX)
3. Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
4. Eric Jagielo, 3b/of, Notre Dame
5. Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford University

Given that the Reds have overall picks #27, #38, and #67, the best case scenario would be to land two players off the above list of five with their first two picks. Admittedly, I'm hoping that one of the top two is available, but I also have a good feeling about Aaron Judge. He's a very tall player, which can be problematic, but his athleticism may ultimately turn his size into asset instead of a liability. If that happens, he could be a true impact player. As for the remaining two, Jagielo and Wilson, both have some swing issues that concern me. To me, Jagielo has the higher floor, but Wilson the higher ceiling. It's just difficult to know what you have in Wilson and his swing needs more refinement than Jagielo's. Still, Wilson is the best lottery ticket in this draft. He's a boom-or-bust type pick, bringing the highest ceiling and lowest floor of any of the 5 guys on my board. If you draft him and get him right, then you could have a legitimate middle order of the bat who creates defensive value as well. That would be massive value.

Outside of those five, there are a couple of others players I'd like to see the Reds snatch up if they have the chance.

I like the swing mechanics and hit tool that 2b/3b Cavan Biggio brings to the table. He's a likely tweener, so you'd have to gamble that the hit tool and/or defensive ability will develop enough to warrant making room for him in the lineup somewhere, but the bat may be strong enough for that to happen. Ideally, the Reds could snap him up in the 3rd or 4th round, but early rumors suggest the Astros could be giving him serious consideration with the 40th overall pick at the top of the 2nd round. Is he worth a roll of the dice with the 38th overall pick or is that an overdraft that would undercut his value? For me, it depends somewhat on whether any of the previous 5 are still on the board at 38. I'd be more comfortable with Biggio in 2nd round or later, but the Reds could use more pure hitters in the system. And, doubling up on pure hitters with McKinney in round 1 and Biggio with a later pick would be an intriguing option for the Reds.

Finally, I'm really intrigued by Stanford rhp A.J. Vanegas. The Reds have had very good success developing pitchers lately and A.J. could be another college reliever worth developing as a starter. He has very good velocity and developing secondary stuff. He needs to improve his command, which may require smoothing out his arm swing, but he could be an intriguing option in the 3rd or 4th round, especially if the Reds go position player heavy with the first few picks. If Vanegas can improve his command and stay healthy, then he could be a very good value and an impact pitcher for the Reds.

Well, the draft gets under way tonight, so it'll be fun to see how it shakes out. There seems to be far less certainty to this draft, even at the very top (though I think Mark Appel is the clear top player), than in years passed, so I have no idea how it'll all shake out. Still, there is some intriguing talent there for the Reds, though, generally speaking, I like the bats likely to be available more than the arms, and that competitive balance pick could be a huge boost to the farm system. A clear reason for the Reds recent success is competent work in the draft. They need to continue that trend tonight.

Anyway, that's all the news that's fit to print. Go Reds Go!!!!!

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