"....Zack Collins from the University of Miami."
The Reds need to be right on this pick. They need the right blend of upside and probability. The lack of a generational type talent or even a clear cut top tier of draft prospects means they should reel in a player who will sign for below slot, allowing the Reds to make rain with those savings with their 35th overall and 43rd overall picks. That's the best way to maximize value.
A.J. Puk is another viable option, but he's not without his own level of risk. Riley Pint has a lightning quick arm, but funky mechanics. Pint lands on a stiff front side and has a strange push off the rubber with his back leg, which in many ways resembles Justin Verlander, but Verlander might be the exception more than the rule. Jason Groome is intriguing, even if his arm seems to visible slow down on offspeed pitches, but he comes along with the higher level of risk associated with high school pitchers.
I like Corey Ray, his make-up and work ethic. If he was a surefire centerfielder, then he might be my pick, but as a leftfielder he's a bit less interesting.
Nick Senzel is similar to Zack Collins, but with potentially better positional value. I wouldn't hate that pick. He would tick a lot of the same/right boxes. Still, I can't help but favor Collins' bat.
I believe Collins will hit. I believe Collins will walk. I believe Collins will hit for power. And, given the Reds core competency in scouting and developing catchers, he seems like a good fit. The Reds need to hit on their first pick and a polished college hitter who excels across the slash line and matches an organizational competency seems to be their best chance to hit on that pick, especially with the savings he would add to the bonus pool. I'm not worried about Collins being blocked at the MLB level or having an overabundance of catchers in the system, I want the bat. I want an impact hitter who can control the hell out of the zone.
In addition, if they select Collins, then they'll have more money to spend on later round picks. With the 35th and 43rd overall picks, I'd love see them land Drew Mendoza, Joey Wentz, Lucas Erceg, and Josh Lowe, though the latter is unlikely to last that long. I like all of those players to varying degrees and would love to add them to the organization. If we could add Mendoza to Zack Collins, I'd be ecstatic. I like Mendoza a ton. If we could add Josh Lowe to Zack Collins, I'd be thrilled. I like Lowe a lot. Wentz and Erceg are also very interesting options, though they both have a titch higher risk, injury risk and performance risk, respectively.
In addition to those guys, there are other potential over-slot options that could be on the board and available to a team that has enough bonus savings to get them under contract. Rumor has it the following prospects are seeking the following bonuses:
- Jason Groome apparently has a ~$4m bonus demand.
- Blake Rutherford wants $3m.
- RHP Matt Manning wants $5m.
- LHP Joey Wentz wants 'top 10 money', or $3m+
- RHP Jared Horn wants $3m.
- 3b Drew Mendoza wants $3m+
- OF Will Benson wants $4m
Given the lack of clear-cut options at the top of the draft, the Reds best bet is to grab a potentially impact player at 1.2 who will be lower risk and create cost-savings. Collins plus an overslot option or two at the 35th overall and 43rd overall picks would be the best way to maximize value in the draft for the organization. I really want them to walk away from this draft with Collins and Drew Mendoza.
It'll be an interesting and pivotal day for the Reds rebuild movement. Let''s hope they've done their homework and are ready to add value to the organization.