Monday, June 4, 2018

"With the 5th overall pick in the 2018 draft, the Cincinnati Reds (should) select...."

The two players in this draft who excite me the most are Jonathan India and Alec Bohm. Casey Mize does, too, but he's going to be off the board by the time the Reds draft.

I love India's well-rounded game. He hits for average, gets on base, hits for power, plays strong defense, has a strong arm, and runs the bases well. And, there's a real possibility that he can be shifted up the defensive spectrum to a middle infield position.

Part of me thinks everyone is simply overthinking things with India. The only things *not* to like with India are his strikeout rate is a touch high and his track record is that of two solid years and one great year. As for the former, his strikeout rate isn't massive and given his late-count approach and power generation, it's not damning. As for the latter, Jeff Luhnow once said that "uncertainty creates opportunity." In this instance, if India had had 2 or 3 seasons comparable to the performance level of his junior season, then he's probably going 1.1 overall. However, his breakout was only in his junior season, so some question whether it's sustainable. For the Reds, this uncertainty with India creates opportunity.

As for Alec Bohm, I just love the swing. It's balanced, fluid, controlled, and powerful. It's a swing you can dream on. For a righthanded hitter, he controls the strike zone very well and he has already figured out how to manage his height (6-5). The last time I was impressed by a taller hitter's ability to offset the disadvantages of his height, it was Aaron Judge. Bohm is a bit shorter than Judge and a bit farther along in his hitting. Bohm hits for average, controls the strikezone, and hits for big power. He may be a hitter who reaps all the benefits of his height without suffering any of the drawbacks.

Bohm also moves well and throws well for a player his size. At this point, he's only average or a touch below defensively at third and long-term he might end up at first base, but the bat is very intriguing.

In the end, I'm going with Jonathan India over Bohm. As much as I love Bohm's bat (and I think he could be a legitimate impact hitter at the MLB level), India does everything well and he actually posted a higher OBP (.502 v. .436) and slugging (.723 v. .625) than Bohm this past season. I wonder if India has a bit of Justin Turner to him, not just in how he hits but also in how he has to disprove the lingering critics.

If the Reds grab Jonathan India at 1.5, then I'll be very pleased. For posterity sake, here are my top 5 for the Reds at 1.5:

1) Casey Mize, RHP
2) Jonathan India, 3b
3) Alec Bohm, 3b
4) Matthew Liberatore, LHP
5) Carter Stewart, RHP

In the later rounds, I desperately want the Reds to grab one of Griffin Conine or Seth Beer. As for India and Bohm, I like them both a great deal. Beer has a better bat (though with questions about his wood-bat performance), while Conine has more a diversified skill set. (and fewer questions about his wood-bat performance).

In the end, I'd rate Conine a tick ahead and Beer just after that. Another player I'd like to see the Reds grab would be LHP Garrett McDaniels, who has a strong foundation and room for projection.

If the Reds can walk out of the first 2 rounds of the draft with Jonathan India (1.5; 5th overall), Griffin Conine (2.4; 47th overall), and Garrett McDaniels (Competitive Balance B, 4; 72nd overall), then I'll be a happy man.

Go forth and draft, Reds!!!

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