As many of you will likely remember, the Reds had a disappointing season in 2015. While it's hard to watch your favorite team struggle, at least disappointing teams are usually rewarded with a high draft pick for their efforts. Cincinnati has the #2 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, and few things can turn around a team faster than nailing their first round picks. In 2013 and 2012 the #2 pick in the draft returned Kris Bryant and Byron Buxton. Is it possible the Reds can land a similarly talented player?
As we inch closer to this summer's draft it might be helpful to know who Cincinnati could welcome to their roster this June.
On Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend Purdue's home opener against the Louisville Cardinals. Part of the reason I wanted to go was to get a first hand look at Louisville outfielder Corey Ray. Currently Baseball America has Ray ranked as their #7 draft prospect for 2016. D1 Baseball has him rated as the #3 position player on their board. He's in the midst of an incredibly productive junior season, and it's possible his stock could climb even higher over than next few months. If his name sounds familiar to readers of Red Reporter it's likely because Derek Grimes already wrote a brief introduction about him last season.
Before we get to the profile of Ray let me make a quick note.
I'm not a scout and don't pretend to be one. I'll lean pretty heavily on the work of others to help you get a better picture of Ray. Tonight I watched three of his at-bats, and saw him snag a few fly balls. It was my six year old's first live baseball game, and by the third inning it was already 8-0 Louisville. His hotdog was gone, it was a chilly night, rain was likely, and an hour in he was ready to go. Nothing I'm about to say is based on my ability to watch Ray tonight, but hey...it was fun to get to see him live.
Ray is a 5'11 185lb. outfielder. Last season he made the All-ACC First Team, and Baseball America recognized him as a second team All-American. So far in 2016 (20 games) he's slashed .325/.392/.639 to go along with 6 HR, 20 RBI, and 22 SB's. It's obvious that his speed is becoming more and more of a weapon. Prior to this season his career high in steals was 34, and barring injury he'll smash that mark this season. Seattle actually drafted Ray in the 33rd round once he graduated high school, but he elected to attend Louisville instead.
What He Does Well
- Plays the game easily, athletically, and intelligently
- One of the best athletes in the draft class
- Average raw power
- Should stick in center field
What He Needs to Improve
- Vulnerable to breaking stuff
- Vulnerable to left handed pitching
- Needs to hone his outfield defense
- His hit tool is the question mark (can he simplify his swing?)
The notes above were taken from the following sources. You can read much more about Ray by checking out the full write-ups presented below.
If the Reds decide to go with a position player in this year's draft, it's very possible that Ray could be their choice. Buddy Reed (Florida), Nick Senzel (Tennessee), and Kyle Lewis (Mercer) could also be in play if Cincinnati doesn't elect to take a pitcher. The hope is that Ray would give Cincinnati a solid outfielder with enticing speed and power. However, it remains to be seen if he'll be able to adjust his swing and miss struggles to better pitching. There's a lot to like about the Louisville outfielder, and he should stay on Reds' fans radar throughout the season.