The Draft: The Turtle selects ...

Today is the day! The 2012 MLB Draft is here and we eagerly await the next Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer to be plucked from among the college or high school ranks.

The Reds and Turtles have agreed on the first pick four times since 2000: Homer Bailey in 2004, Yonder Alonso in 2008, Mike Leake in 2009 and Robert Stephenson in 2011.

Through the years, the Turtles have outdrafted the Reds from time to time: Jeff Francis over Chris Gruler in 2002 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).

So, without further delay, the Turtles hand the envelope to Commissioner Bud, who tears it open and in honor of Madville gently blows into it before removing the card and announcing:

With the 14th overall pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Thundering Turtles, picking for the Cincinnati Reds, select Richie Shaffer-3B-Clemson.

I’m fine with Chris Stratton-RHP-Mississippi State, but Shaffer appears to be a safer pick and a potentially productive bat. Of course, if a highly touted player drops because of signability concerns, that’s a whole other ballgame.

I love Shaffer’s ability to hit for average and power, with the home run ability still developing. While he’ll need to clean up his glove work at third base, Shaffer has enough athletic ability and intelligence to do so. While he’s better suited for first base, if he winds up there we can expect him to be dealt to the Padres with three other dudes for a pitcher in a few years. Shaffer also can play right field. Of course, that position is taken, as well. Maybe he winds up in left.

I’d certainly prefer a player with a vastly higher ceiling, but at No. 14 in this draft, which rates as average, that’s not likely.

My plans for draft coverage, if you’ll indulge me, are similar to what we’ve done before. I’ll be here Monday for updates and general discussion throughout the day. The Draft begins at 7 p.m. As the Reds pick is announced tonight, I’ll provide background and thoughts.

The same will take place Tuesday. The Draft begins at noon. The picks come in rapid-fire fashion and I’ll supply as much information as I can throughout. The same goes for the remaining rounds on Wednesday.

On Thursday, I plan to offer a follow-up on each pick with a "Turtle’s Take" comment on each player.

Thanks for all the kind comments and for reading this stuff. It’s a lot of fun for me and you folks make it even better.

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