FanPost

Reds sign prized fifth-rounder.

   The Reds have signed fifth-round draft pick John "Wes" Mugarian, luring the right-hander away from his college commitment to Alabama. Mugarian received a $198,000 deal. He also will receive college tuition and the Reds will fly his parents to Cincinnati Sept. 10 when Mugarian throws a bullpen session at GABP. The Reds also reportedly will fly Mugarian's parents to spring training next year.

   Here's what we wrote about the former Pensacola Catholic High School star shortly after he was drafted:

   Mugarian (6-foot, 185) throws 90-91 and has hit 93. He impressed Reds Scouting Director Chris Buckley in person with an early season no-hitter against Padres first rounder Karsten Whitson. Mugarian throws with a great deal of effort and some profile him as a reliever. He backs his fastball with a solid-average curve. Mugarian throws a slider and a change, but neither has much polish, yet, although Reds area scout John Poloni said he really likes Mugarian’s slider. Sometimes he walks too many batters, but he also is adept at coaxing ground balls.
   Mugarian went 7-0 with a 1.50 ERA this season and 16-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his final two high school seasons. High school stats, though, are not terribly reliable. Mugarian is intelligent, athletic and plays with a lot of heart. He is aggressive on the mound and trusts his stuff.
   Mugarian has signed with Alabama. He was projected to go between the fourth and seventh rounds. Mugarian is another guy with strong makeup.


   The Reds also signed non-drafted free agent RHRP Joel Ernst of Wake Forest. The red-shirt senior is a native of Loveland, Ohio. Ernst (6-4, 190) went 2-1 with a 3.73 ERA and two saves last season. In 27 games he threw 31 innings, allowed 30 hits, struck out 23 and walked 12. Foes batted .254.

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