If you’re a believer that online polls are completely truthful, well executed, and without flaw, you’ll be happy to hear that Baseball America weighed the collective opinions of their top writers and the top scouts in the game to judge the overall 2016 MLB Draft - and that the Cincinnati Reds were judged to have had the best one of all teams. Based largely on the very, very early returns from the top selections in the draft, BA determined that the Reds had, in Nick Senzel, both the best pure hitter in the class as well as the bat closest to reaching the majors, a flag that this rebuild can wave wide and high. Senzel, of course, blistered baseballs through Class A Dayton after a brief stint with the Billings Mustangs, and looks poised to continue to climb quickly towards the big leagues.
Senzel might not have the power profile of, say, Kris Bryant - a college 3B taken 2nd overall who reached MLB in short order - he does have a lot in common with another 3B plucked out of college who reached the big leagues in his 2nd year after being drafted early in the 1st round: Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals. That’d be nice.
If you’re a BA subscriber, you can sift through the Reds’ individual Report Card, which was released just yesterday. It’s ripe with details on not just Senzel, but the likes of Taylor Trammell, Chris Okey, TJ Friedl, and the other early standouts from the class ranked as the best of all MLB clubs.
In other news of note to Reds fans, MLB has floated the idea of having an International Draft each year in lieu of the current bonus pool system, the same system that the Reds just used to spend gobs of money on the likes of Alfredo Rodriguez and Vladimir Gutierrez. BA’s Ben Badler dug deep into the proposal, which would institute a 10 round draft and raise the eligible age from 16 to 18, among other things, but he also highlights many of the perils in the current landscape that neither the current CBA agreement nor the proposed draft seem to have figured out. It’s a great read on a part of the modern baseball machine that often gets overlooked on a large scale.
MLB Daily Dish’s Mike Bates tackled the International Draft concept, too, concluding that it would ultimately have a two-fold negative impact. I tend to agree completely, though I’ll also concede the current system needs an overhaul in some form. Thanks to the current system not having already been usurped by a draft, the Reds were able to sign 16 year old C/3B Victor Ruiz out of Mexico on Tuesday, by the way. My expert scouting report on Ruiz is that I’ve never seen him play, have no idea in any form or fashion of his talent or upside, I am no expert, and I am no scout. So, just cross your fingers and set a reminder on your phone for 2020 to ask about the kid again then.
Finally, Thursday is 26 years to the day when the Reds dumped the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of the 1990 World Series, and the Reds sure didn’t forget. It’s hard to beat watching Jose Rijo highlights, and it’s easy to forget that the ace of the ‘90 Reds was actually a member of the A’s before they traded him to Cincinnati in exchange for Dave Parker prior to the 1988 season. In fact, Rijo had been traded from the New York Yankees to Oakland for Rickey Henderson prior to the 1985 season, meaning he was traded for two separate MVPs during the course of his career. I’ll have to check with former fearless leader Joel Luckhaupt for confirmation, but I’ll go ahead and assume he’s the only player in MLB history to be traded for multiple MVPs and win a World Series MVP in his career.