The 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft begins Monday evening, with Round 1 and the compensatory picks coming off the board beginning at 7 PM ET. The Cincinnati Reds hold the number 11 pick, and it's there they'll hope to land another talented prospect to help buoy the farm's coffers. Given the success that scouting director Chris Buckley and his staff have had with identifying players chosen with the Reds' first picks in recent years, there's ample reason to be excited.
The general consensus is that Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson will be taken first overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. All that jazz will be televised on MLB Network, should you care to tune in.
Over at CBSSports.com, the Eye on Baseball crew spoke with Baseball Prospectus writer Chris Crawford for his overall thoughts on this years draft, including specifics on some of the names speculated to go in the first few picks. Crawford sounds far from excited about the talent and the depth in this year's class, but notes that there are still plenty of intriguing names out there. One such name - Carson Fulmer, a RHP from Vanderbilt University - gets a specific mention, and it's worth noting here since Fulmer has been mentioned as a possible Reds draftee with pick 11. Crawford worries that his max effort delivery coupled with less than ideal size may make his path to being a big league starter quite difficult, though it's probably worth noting that the Reds haven't let size be an issue with their starters in years past.
Also from CBSSports.com is Mike Axisa's look back at the 2010 Draft, which is one most Reds fans would probably rather forget. So far, the big league club has received exactly 0.0 bWAR from those picks, as only two have made the majors, and they - 1st rounder Yasmani Grandal and 35th rounder Tyler Wilson - did so for other teams (Grandal after being traded to the Padres and Wilson after not signing and being drafted a year later by the Orioles). What's worse, though, is that of all the prospects from that year that are still out there trying to cut it in MiLB, 10th rounder Kyle Waldrop is the only one who looks like he may make it (unless injuries or trades decimate the 2015 OF enough to grant Ryan LaMarre a cup of coffee). Not the best of draft years for the Reddos, unfortunately.
As for the Mock Drafts out there, ESPN's Keith Law has released his latest, though it's behind the pay wall. At pick 11, he has the Reds selecting Niskayuna H.S. outfielder Garrett Whitley, who has plus speed, is lauded for his bat speed, and profiles as someone who can stick in CF. Law also notes that the Reds have significant interest in both Arkansas OF Andrew Benintendi and Tampa HS OF Kyle Tucker, but he has both off the board before the Reds selection.
Sports Illustrated's David Rawnsley - who is a former Assistant Scouting Director with the Houston Astros - also has his latest Mock Draft available, and he sees things playing out similarly to Law at the top but a bit different by the time the Reds get to pick. He sees Tucker falling to the Reds (and suggests they'd be delighted with that), and notes that Cincinnati also has eyes on Georgia HS catcher Tyler Stephenson and UC-SB pitcher Dillon Tate.
MLB.com's tandem of Jonathan Mayo & Jim Callis have published numerous editions of their Mock Drafts, and their last & final edition dropped Monday afternoon. They also have Swanson going first overall, and both have Stephenson going to the Reds at 11 given how their earlier selections materialized. Both also mention that Tucker would be the Reds pick should he fall that far. They've also got a buzz thread that they'll continue updating throughout the day, which is something I'll certainly be keeping an eye on going forward.
Lastly, John Manuel has the latest Baseball America Mock posted, and it's got an interesting twist: Tyler Stephenson going 1st overall to Arizona. Mayo mentioned this in the above buzz post, and it's less about the Diamondbacks being enamored with Stephenson being the best talent available and more about their thinking they can sign him for below slot money and then allocate their savings down the road. In other words, they may not view any of the top tier players as a standout among the rest, and therefore may select one they can sign cheaper than the others. As for Cincinnati, BA has Benintendi falling to them, which is a development both the Reds and most all of RR would be ecstatic about. He's a Cincinnati guy who the Reds worked out prior to his decision to attend college, and he's had a college career for the record books. I've seen him heavily linked to the Red Sox for weeks, though, and I'd be seriously shocked if he gets past them at pick 7, but I'd give them all hearty high-fives if they do let him slip to the Reds.