With the MLB 2012 Draft coming up June 4-6, let’s take a look at some players Cincinnati might consider selecting with the 14th overall pick. We’ll start with Texas A&M RHP Michael Wacha, whom Baseball America has slated to go to the Reds in its first mock draft.
Wacha has a Reds connection, as he is Dusty’s nephew. Dusty Rogers, that is. Rogers was Cincinnati’s first-round pick in the defunct January phase of the draft in 1984. Rogers, a LHP, played four seasons, topping out in Low-A ball. Wacha figures to go a lot further than that.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound junior right-hander from Iowa City, Iowa, is 8-0 with a 2.14 earned run average this season. In 13 games, all starts, Wacha has thrown 92 innings, striking out 95, walking 16 and allowing 76 hits. Opponents hit .226. Wacha has two shutouts, including an effort against Pepperdine in which a ninth-inning error followed by an infield hit were all that stood between him and a perfect game.
Wacha’s smooth delivery pumps fastballs in the 95 to 96 mph range. He sits in the 92 to 94 range and holds his velocity into the ninth inning. The only knock on his fastball is that it’s fairly straight. Wacha’s plus-plus change in the 83 to 86 mph range is highly effective against RHH or LHH and possesses hard tumbling action. Wacha throws a curve for strikes and an inconsistent slider. Scouts agree that if he develops a better breaking ball, he could be a top of the rotation starter. Wacha gets plenty of groundballs from a steep downward plane. He gets ahead of hitters and works very quickly.
A freshman All-American in 2010, Wacha threw 15 of his 25 games out of the bullpen and went 9-2 with a 2.90 ERA. In 105 innings, he whiffed 97 and walked 22. Wacha struck out five in two innings against Oklahoma, held Oklahoma State to one run in eight innings and threw a two-hitter against Texas Tech’s Big 12-leading offense.
As a sophomore, Wacha was a third-team All-American and second-team All-Big 12 pick after going 9-2 with a 2.29 ERA and striking out 123 in 129 innings. He beat second-ranked Oklahoma, No. 22 Arizona and No. 6 Florida State and was dominant against each. Wacha was picked for the US National Team.
A fine athlete who played basketball in high school, Wacha’s brother has signed to play football at Wyoming. Wacha has been mentioned at high as No. 5 in the draft and isn’t expected to fall outside the top 15.