The last two drafts, the Reds have shown they're not shy about going after high school pitchers with upside, selecting California RHP Robert Stephenson and Florida RHP Nick Travieso. Another high-ceiling high school righty could attract Cincinnati at picks No. 27 and 38. Kyle Serrano of Farragut HS in Tennessee is rumored to be of high interest to the Reds. Signing him will be difficult, however, as he is committed to the University of Tennessee, where his dad, Dave, is the head coach.
Serrano, as one might imagine, has benefitted from his pop, who was a heralded pitching coach earlier in his career. A fairly reasonable comp might be Reds farmhand Drew Cisco, whose grandfather is noted pitching coach Galen Cisco. Serrano (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) and Cisco are similar in size and in stuff, although Serrano offers a bit more velocity. The Reds gave Cisco an above-slot $975,000 signing bonus, showing they're not afraid to pay for players whom they like.
Serrano, who doesn't turn 18 until July, bumped his fastball up from 91 as a junior to sit consistently 92 to 94 as a senior. He has touched 95. Serrano features an above-average curve that has potential to be a plus pitch. He has flashed a plus change that he used on last summer's showcase circuit more than he has this high school season. While Serrano doesn't project to get much bigger, he potentially could throw three plus pitches. Serrano struck out 13 in a no-hitter against Beardon HS, impressing scouts. He displays a smooth motion that makes pitching appear effortless.
Any team selecting Serrano will have to be sold enough on him to select him with a very high pick, as he probably is unsignable later unless a club is creative as the Astros were last season and go cheap at the top then spread the wealth later in the top 10 rounds. Serrano's door to signing, though, might not be as closed as some think. While he committed to Tennessee, he wasn't dead set on the Vols. San Diego offered him a scholarship that would have returned him to his native Southern California, where his dad coached at Cal-State Fullerton and USC before taking over in Knoxville.