Yes, as you’ve played Ed McMahon to Carnac the Magnificent long enough. The time has come to pull the envelope from Funkenwagnal’s hermetically sealed Mason jar and reveal Thundering Turtle’s long-awaited choice of who the Reds should pluck with the 12th overall selection in Monday’s MLB Draft.
Yes, I hear your eager gasps. I ask you to please hold your applause until the actual pick is announced. But first, in anticipation-building drama extraordinaire, might I note that the Reds and Turtles have agreed on the first pick three times since 2000: Homer Bailey in 2004, Yonder Alonso in 2008 and Mike Leake in 2009.
Through the oughts, the Turtles have outdueled the Reds from time to time: Jeff Francis over Chris Gruler in 2003 and Tim Lincecum over Drew Stubbs in 2006. At times, the Reds held the advantage: Jay Bruce over Lance Broadway in 2005 and Devin Mesoraco over Kevin Ahrens in 2007. Mostly, it’s roughly been a draw: David Espinosa-Corey Smith (2000), Jeremy Sowers-Dallas McPherson (2001), Ryan Wagner-Conor Jackson (2003).
And now I tear open the envelope and in honor of Madville, gently blow into it and remove the card to reveal the choice:
Alex Wimmers-RHP-The Ohio State University.
The choice wasn’t easy. Wimmers topped Kolbrin Vitek-2B/CF-Ball State and Bryce Brentz-OF-Middle Tennessee State, in that order. Vitek was tempting, especially since this draft is short on quality college hitters. Questions about Brentz’s ability to hit with wood and Vitek’s ultimate position were factors, although I’d be pleased with either player. I’d even be fairly pleased with speedy Cal State-Fullerton OF Gary Brown, whom I wish walked more often. Brown’s teammate Christian Colon can hit but I’m not convinced he can remain at SS, although he’d be a fine choice even if he ends up at 2B. I don’t want to see Georgia Tech pitcher Deck McGuire nor Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal. McGuire is fairly safe, but guys with straight fastballs don’t appeal much to me. Grandal doesn’t do anything well enough to be a factor for me, especially if his asking price is Borasesque.
In Wimmers the Reds get a Bronson Arroyo-type. Wimmers is the most-polished pitcher in the draft and could move quickly through the organization. Yes, I’d rather have a No. 2 starter in five years than a No. 5 starter in two years, but Wimmers can be more than a back-end pitcher and not many high school hurlers with top of the rotation potential will be available, especially at a reasonable cost, when the Reds pick.
Wimmers is durable, solid and projects at worst as a fourth starter. He has potential for more. That he has mastered a changeup and effectively throws three pitches are strong indications that Wimmers can remain a starter. His low-90s fastball has plenty of velocity and its sink is a good fit for GABP. His curve is rated plus and he throws everything for strikes. Not many pitchers in this draft feature three out pitches, but Wimmers does. Wimmers displays control and command. He is strong against right-handers and left-handers.
Wimmers (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) proved himself last summer in the Cape Cod League, an important showing for a Big Ten player. Signability isn’t an issue. He fields his position and even swings the bat well. Wimmers has strong makeup and no history of significant injuries. He is poised on the mound and pitches efficiently.
Wimmers appears to be a safe pick. Some scouts say his sum is greater than his parts, but pro coaching – and Wimmers is coachable – could turn that into a positive. Wimmers' track record is strong. He’s not some quick-rising Johnny come lately and he pitches well in big games. He no-hit Michigan and beat top-ranked Miami (Fla.) twice in his career.
This season Wimmers went 9-0 on a team that finished 28-23. In 73 innings, Wimmers struck out 86, walked 23 and allowed 58 hits. Foes batted just .211. That Wimmers is a Buckeye, a Cincinnati native and a Moeller HS graduate is a mere bonus.