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John Sickels Mock Amateur Draft

Since the real thing is tomorrow and this is quickly going to become dated, I better go ahead and do a recap of the mock draft that I participated in over at John Sickels' site Minor League Ball.

I don't follow amateur baseball too closely, so I knew drafting five rounds deep would be a challenge. I was actually rather surprised at how difficult the draft was, not because I didn't have players in mind, but because the player I targeted for every round was taken before my pick.  It goes to show how important contingency plans are in draft situations, and I didn't have a very strong one.  On to the recap.

Round 1: 12th overall pick, Ryan Braun, 3B, University of Miami-Florida

Third certainly shouldn't be a position of need for the Reds with Edwin Encarnacion in the pipeline, but I didn't really worry about that too much.  Braun could always be moved later if necessary to the outfield.

I was set on taking Jeff Clement here, a catcher from USC, but he was taken fourth overall.  If he's available today at 12 then I certainly hope the Reds draft him.  Catcher is a sorely thin position in the Reds organization, and Clement is supposedly the best catching talent since Joe Mauer.

Round 2: 60th overall pick, Mike Costanzo, 3B, Coastal Carolina

Might be a reach, not really sure.  Costanzo has put up some ridiculous stats in college:

  1. 197 AB, .386/.543/.665
  2. 231 AB, .359/.479/.740
  3. 173 AB, .318/.374/.509
Another third baseman, but he could be moved as well.  Costanzo is also a pitching prospect:
In the same tournament at Myrtle Beach , S.C., Coastal Carolina's Mike Costanzo showed more aptitude on the mound than one National League area scout expected, touching 92 mph with his fastball and throwing three pitches for strikes. "He's got a sweet, clean delivery and a big, strong body," the scout said. "I thought he was going to walk off the mound, grab four seams and start throwing. Nope--his upper body was still, his arm was clean, and he threw a two-seamer, a wicked slider at times for strikes, and he also showed the ability to throw it off the plate and get guys to chase. Plus, he wants the ball."

Costanzo also hit very well in the Cape Cod league, which uses wooden bats, so I think he'll be able to make the transition from aluminum without too much trouble. I don't know where Costanzo will end up being drafted, but I think he's going to be a solid player.

Round 3: 92nd overall pick, Yuniel Escobar Almenares, SS, Cuba

Almenares is a defector from Cuba, and little is known about him.  The Red Sox had him in for a workout and were impressed, and that was enough for me to take a shot on the guy in the third round.  Seems like a high upside pick with the chance of failure that comes with that.

Round 4: 122nd overall pick, David Duncan, LHP, New Richmond HS

The Reds have a great history of taking local kids and turning them into stars so I wanted to get at least one Cincinnati player.  Duncan is from New Richmond HS, a school that was actually a member of my high school's athletic conference back when I was in school.

Duncan supposedly only throws 87-88, but he's 6'7 so I think that'll increase.  Big lefthander means big upside, and I'd love to see the Reds take a good look at Duncan today.

Round 5: 152nd overall pick, Tyson Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS

Another big high school pitcher, Ross is 6'6 and 190 pounds.  BA says that if he fills out he could throw in the upper 90's, so if nothing else he'd be a good relief candidate.  I was really out of my depth at this point, and just wanted to take someone with solid upside.

While it looks like my draft was rather risky with the two high school pitchers in the fourth and fifth round, I feel like I mitigated that risk with the two college players I took in the first two rounds.  John Sickels agreed:

COMMENT: Braun is a draft wild card: he's been mentioned in the first ten picks, but could conceivable fall to the end of the round. He's more than acceptable at 12th overall if the Reds are comfortable with his defense. Costanzo is listed by the scouting director at third base, but may be more suited to the outfield or even pitching. Cuban defector Escobar is a huge wild card. . .who knows what they have there? Duncan is a 6-7 high school lefty and possible steal in the fourth round if he can be bought away from college. Ross is another tall guy at 6-6, and like Duncan will have to be bought away from college. I like the upside of the high school pitchers, and both could be big bargains if they sign. Picking polished college players with Braun and Costanzo helps limit the risk of the later picks.

Just an FYI, there will be an Open Thread for the draft tomorrow, and I'll be around updating picks as they happen.  Hope to see some discussion for what's becoming one of the biggest days of the year for Reds fans.