".....Hunter Greene, RHP/SS from Notre Dame High School."
This is an instance where "Best Player Available" and "team need" align pretty well. Let's face it, this Reds rebuild needs impact, star talent where currently there is largely complimentary talent. Hunter Greene has the biggest upside in this draft. His combination of athleticism, makeup, and dual threat ability gives him a high ceiling, an ability to live up to expectations, and a diversified risk, respectively.
If the Twins select Hunter Greene, then the Reds should select Brendan McKay. Personally, I'd roll with McKay as a hitter, but once drafted the team could better evaluate where he fits.
I like Kyle Wright and MacKenzie Gore, but they slot in behind my top two.
With the 32nd pick, I really want the Reds to grab Blayne Enlow, high school righthander. I love his mechanics and projection.
At pick number 39, I'd love to see the Reds select Brendon Little, lhp junior college pitcher, though Mark Vientos would be pretty tempting as well. Little has a limited track record, but strong mechanics and the type of power stuff you don't often see in lefthanded pitching.
Finally, in a later round, I'd roll the dice on Austin Bush. He's a very large human being with very large power. He has flaws and may never make enough consistent contact to make the power playable against advanced competition, but that type of power can carry a hitter a long way. Bush has some idea of the strike zone and if he can overcome the challenges of being a taller hitter (longer levers, bigger strike zone), then he could be an impact bat.
At this point, I'd probably rate the players on my shadow draft board as follows:
Hunter Greene - rhp/ss
Brendan McKay - 1b/lhp
Blayne Enlow - rhp
Brendon Little - lhp
Mark Vientos - ss/3b
Logan Warmoth - ss
Trevor Rogers - lhp
Austin Bush - 1b
This is a draft the Reds need to get right. Their rebuild doesn't have the type of certainty and upside that other rebuilding teams have. The organization reeled in Nick Senzel last year and selecting a true impact talent in this draft would add more upside at the top end of the farm system.
Ideally, there would be polished college hitters at positions other than first base available to the Reds at 1.2, but that's just not the kind of draft this is, so Hunter Greene is the best option.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Now that we have pick 1.2 out of the way, time for a look at some other prospects to be considered with the compensatory round and later picks.
Brendon Little - LHP
State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
6-2; 195 lbs
Brendon Little is a very good looking pitching prospect. He spent his freshman season at the University of North Carolina, where he only tossed 4.0 innings in anger. He transferred to Junior College for his sophomore season, making him draft eligible one season earlier.
Little has size, plus stuff, very good mechanics, and good projection to his game. He has very good velocity on the fastball and a power curveball. On the downside, he has a bit of effort to his delivery and he has a limited track record on which to form an evaluation.
Here's a look at him in action, courtesy of Steve Givarz on YouTube:
Little has a live arm and explosive stuff. He has good differential between the rotation of his hips and shoulders and keeps his arm in good position relative to shoulder level. He has an over-the-top arm slot, which pairs nicely with his power 12-6 curveball.
He's definitely on my radar and should be on the Reds' radar, too.
Blayne Enlow - RHP
St. Amant High School (LA)
6-4; 180 lbs
Enlow has size, projection, very good mechanics, and a strong 3 pitch mix. He features a fastball that has touched 94, but sits 88-92 mph. He has a nasty power curveball with 12-to-6 break. He also has a fringy change-up.
Obviously, Enlow needs to improve his velocity to be an impact pitcher at the big league level, but he has more physical projection to his frame and his game.
Here's a look at Enlow in action, courtesy of Baseball America on YouTube:
Enlow's mechanics are strong. He has good tempo, hip/shoulder rotation differential, and good balance. The only potential issue I see is that he straightens his plant leg on delivery. But, overall, he's a very interesting pitching prospect.
Trevor Rogers - LHP
Carlsbard High School (NM)
6-6; 185 lbs
Rogers is tall, lanky southpaw. He seems like an uncomfortable at bat for hitters. He features a 3-pitch mix, including fastball, slider, and changeup. His stuff is average or less at the moment, but he has projection to his repertoire. Taller pitchers frequently have a longer development path and heightened risk, but they also have more physical projection to their game.
Here's a look at Rogers, courtesy of Prospect Pipeline on YouTube:
Rogers is a an interesting pitching prospect with a nice ceiling, but there's also some real development risk to his prospect profile.
Austin Bush - 1b
Carlsbard High School (NM)
6-6; 265 lbs
Austin Bush is a mountain of a man. He has big time power. In his junior season, Bush is hitting .303/.372/.654/1.026 with 20 homers and a 59/20 K/BB ratio. Obviously, for a hitter that size, there's always some risk to the hit tool. Taller hitters have long levers and a bigger strike zone to cover. Given his higher strikeout rate, he obviously hasn't figured out how to cover his entire strike zone and to make consistent contact. That said, if he can improve in those areas, then he has game changing power.
Here's a look at Bush in action during his high school days, courtesy of Prospect Pipeline on YouTube:
And, here's a news clip showing Bush at UCSB, courtesy of KKFX news on YouTube:
Bush isn't a top 100 or even 200 prospect. That said, given that his big time power is a carrying tool, he's an interesting bat for a middle round draft pick.
Logan Warmoth - ss
University of North Carolina
6-0; 190 lbs
Logan Warmoth is the Tar Heel shortstop. He has good defensive skills, including arm strength and accuracy, but scouts are split on whether he'll stick at shortstop or have to move across the bag to second base. That said, he's a legitimate middle infield prospect with an interesting and developing bat.
Warmoth controls the strike zone, makes consistent contact, and has a bit of power, mostly to the pull side. In some ways, Warmoth reminds me a bit of Zack Cozart, which with each passing year seems like higher and higher praise.
Here's a look at Warmoth in action, courtesy of FanGraphs on YouTube:
Warmoth isn't a high ceiling player, but he's a legitimate middle of the infield prospect with a well-rounded game.
Mark Vientos - ss/3b
American Heritage High School (FL)
6-4; 190 lbs
Vientos, currently 17 years old, is one of the youngest prospects in the draft. If you've seen some of the studies on prospect age, it frequently matters, especially for position players. So, to an extent, this is a bet on age. Vientos is an intriguing prospect, but you have to do a lot of projecting to see what he might become as a professional baseball player.
Vientos stands 6-4 and has a lot of filling out left to do. He currently doesn't have much muscle mass or bulk. That said, he has good bat speed and significant power projection to his game.
Here's a look at him in action, courtesy of Baseball America on YouTube:
Vientos doesn't run well and is very unlikely to stick at shortstop, but a slide over to third base wouldn't reduce his overall value very much if the bat continues to develop. Vientos max projection is likely that of an impact hitter with power who can handle the hot corner. As a younger prospect, he has a long development road to travel before he reaches anything resembling his max projection, but he's an intriguing upside gamble who might pay big dividends.
In exchange for an awful 2016 campaign, the Reds and their fans were rewarded with the 2nd overall pick in somewhat watered down draft class. Nevertheless, the Reds should be able to reel in a high upside, potential impact talent with their first pick.
Here are the likely candidates for pick 1.2.
Hunter Greene - RHP/SS
Notre Dame High School (CA)
6-3; 195 lbs
Greene is hands-down the most hyped prospect in the draft class. He earned a Sports Illustrated cover story, creating the type of lofty expectations that are occasionally lived up to (Bryce Harper) and occasionally are not (Matt Wieters). Fortunately, Greene seems to the have type of character and makeup needed to deal with those expectations.
Greene is a legitimate two-way prospect, handling both shortstop and pitching. Most everyone believes he's better on the mound, but shortstop is a nice fallback option to reduce the development risk that high school prospects inherently bring along with them.
So, the focus with Greene is on the mound. Here's a look at him in action, courtesy of FanGraphs on YouTube:
Greene is highly athletic with a lean build. He works with a quick tempo and has very quick arm. He generates easy velocity, topping out at 102 on the radar gun. He also throws a slider, curveball, and a changeup. Given his arm speed, the slider is the more likely breaking ball going forward.
The hype surrounding Greene included unnamed scouts stating that he has "perfect mechanics." Of course, we heard the same thing about Mark Prior when he was coming out of USC.
I like Greene's mechanics, but I'm not convinced that they are "perfect." I'd like to see greater differential between the rotation of his hips and shoulders, which would help generate power through the kinetic chain and reduce stress on the arm.
That said, Greene's mechanics are fairly clean and fluid and his stuff is explosive.
Kyle Wright - RHP
6-4; 220 lbs
Kyle Wright is a Vanderbilt University starting pitcher and the best college pitcher prospect in the draft class. He has size, stuff, polish, and remaining projection to his game. Wright didn't have quite the season for Vandy that people were expecting, but he's a legitimate candidate to go 1.1 in this draft.
Here's a look at Wright in action:
I watched Wright pitch a brilliant start in 2016 during his sophomore season, so he has been on my radar for quite a while.
The issues that concern me on Wright are (1) that the sum total seems slightly less than the individual parts at this point and (2) his pitching elbow gets up a bit high, rising up above shoulder level. On the plus side, he has good stuff, good command, and a track record of success at the collegiate level.
Brendan McKay - LHP/1b
University of Louisville
6-2; 212 lbs
Brendan McKay is another two way prospect, a polished southpaw and perhaps the best college hitter in the draft class. Scouts are split on whether he should pitch or hit. On the mound, he has a very effective fastball, one he commands very well, but one that lacks the top tier velocity you like to see in a top 15 draftee. At the plate, he's a polished, well rounded hitter who hits for average, gets on-base, and slugs the ball.
Here's a look at McKay in action, courtesy of 2080 Baseball on YouTube:
I lean towards McKay as a hitter. Unfortunately, McKay is limited defensively to 1b, where the Reds have Joey Votto locked up for the foreseeable future. Still, if he's the best player available, then the Reds should grab him. His diversified game leads to well diversified development risk.
Mackenzie Gore - LHP
Whiteville High School (N.C.)
6-2; 180 lbs
Mackenzie Gore is outside my top 3, but I'm including him here because I kinda love what he brings to the table. He has a funky leg kick, great differential between hip and shoulder rotation, good athleticism, and a lot of upside. My gut says he's one to watch, so I'm including a video from Baseball America on YouTube: