Thursday, June 5, 2014

"With the 19th and 29th picks In the 2014 draft, the Reds *should* draft...."

....2b Forrest Wall and rhp Joe Gatto. 

Well, in actuality, my draft board hierarchy goes something like this:

First two picks
Michael Conforto, of
Forrest Wall, 2b
Tyler Beede, rhp
Joe Gatto, rhp
Scott Blewett, rhp

2nd Round and Later
Matt Chapman, 3b
Jack Flaherty, rhp
Carson Sands, lhp
Trenton Kemp, of
Jace Fry, lhp
A.J. Vanegas, rhp

There's about a 1% chance that Conforto slips to 19th, still if that happens I want him in Cincinnati, so I've listed him here. Similar story on Beede, I like what he brings to the table, but he's unlikely to slip to the Reds at 19. Even if Beede is available, the draft is so deep in pitching that I'd rather see the Reds grab Forrest Wall.

Second baseman Forrest Wall is the right choice at the 19th pick. He has 65/70 speed and a 60 hit tool on the 20-80 scouting scale. The Reds need everything, but adding in another pure hitter to go along with Jesse Winker and another burner to go with Billy Hamilton might be ideal. If he develops as expected, and his shoulder regains sufficient strength, then he could be the future replacement for Brandon Phillips at second and the ideal second spot hitter between Hamilton and Joey Votto.

I've learned not to gamble on questionable hit tools in the first round, so here I'm gambling on a plus hit tool. A hitter who patterns his swing mechanics on Robbie Cano, has been compared by an AL scout to Chase Utley, and trained under the tutelage of Dante Bichette.

If I was a hitting coach, then I'd never teach anyone the swing mechanics that Wall uses, but they obviously work for both Cano and Wall, who declares himself a "rhythmic hitter". There is a great deal of movement to his swing, but he makes consistently hard contact and has a real ability to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. Further, there's some power projection to his game, which hasn't shown up very often in games, but he shows the power in batting practice.

There's real risk in Wall's shoulder problem, but it's risk that can be managed if the bat develops as expected. Develop the bat, figure out the shoulder as we go.

As for the 29th pick, I'm definitely hoping for RHP Joe Gatto. His mechanics, physical stature, arsenal of pitches, and projection remaining to his game make him the choice for me. After watching a lot of video of pitchers in this draft class, Gatto's stuff was among the most electric. His heavy, moving fastball and sharp, biting curve have the potential to be true plus offerings and establish a very high performance level for Gatto. It'll all come down to control and command for Gatto, which is no small concern, but there is a great deal to like.

If things break right, then I'm hoping that the Reds can grab two of Conforto, Wall, Beede, Gatto, and Blewett with their 19th and 29th picks. That would be a nice outcome.

Realistically, I'm hoping the Reds can grab Forrest Wall at 19 and Joe Gatto at 29. If Wall is off the board at 19, then I'd be content with Gatto and prep RHP Scott Blewett. Those are two high upside righthanded prep pitchers who would immediately add depth and upside to the system.

In round 2, I'd give real consideration to Cal State Fullerton 3b Matt Chapman and any of the pitchers listed above still remaining on the board.

Anyway, that's about all the news that's fit to print. So, it's almost draft time, go Reds go!

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