On June 9th, the Cincinnati Reds will have the 2nd selection in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. Over the next few weeks, the team here at Red Reporter will scour the internet to bring you scouting reports, statistics, and moving pictures of all of the prospects being linked to the Reds pick.
In 2012, the Houston Astros made draft history with their selection of dynamic Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa; the then 17 year old prep prospect was the first ever Puerto Rican player to be taken with the number one overall selection in the MLB Draft.
All Correa did to pay back the Astros was win the American League Rookie of the Year award last season. Correa appears to be MLB's next superstar.
Four years later, and another 17 year old Puerto Rican prep prospect has his eyes on the number one prize. Should the Phillies pass, though, the Reds could be looking to take 6'3", 165lbs shortstop Delvin Perez with the second pick in the 2016 draft.
The hype surrounding Perez is relatively new, but as more eyeballs have discovered his game, the more he has scouts raving. The gist: he runs very, very fast, will play very good shortstop defense, and teams hope that as he grows and adds strength, his already fringy bat will realize full potential.
Doesn't this sound like a guy the Reds would love?
The tools are said to be out of this world. I've read in multiple places that Perez is likely to be the closest thing to a true "five tool player" in this draft. But how much of a flier is the team willing to take at a draft position where only one possible selection will be gone?
You'll likely hear (as I've already done) the inevitable comparison between Perez and Correa. But they're far from the same prospect; Correa was a much safer pick due to a more advanced hit tool when he was drafted.
Professional Scouting Grades (via Fueled by Sports)
Keith Law over at ESPN took notice of Perez during MLB's Puerto Rican showcase (insider):
Perez was the star of MLB's 2016 Puerto Rico showcase, held this past week at Pedro Montanez Stadium in Cayey, with more than 130 players playing on four teams in the three-day event. Even with several potential Day 1 picks in the group -- all position players -- Perez was head and shoulders above everyone else, showing 70 speed, plus hands, a plus arm and plus raw power right now, with the broad shoulders to add plenty of muscle to his 6-foot-3, 160-pound (listed weight) frame.
MLB Pipeline ranks Perez as the 8th top prospect in the 2016 draft:
Perez has everything needed to stay at shortstop long-term. He has good speed and instincts, allowing him to have outstanding range. Perez's plus arm works very well from everywhere, and his hands work extremely well. Able to make the flashy play, perhaps his only flaw defensively is that he can try to do too much on occasion. Perez's bat is behind his glove, but there are tools to work with. He can ambush a fastball early in the count, but his approach at the plate and pitch recognition need to be refined. Perez's speed works offensively, and he could grow into more power as he matures.
John Sickels at Minor League Ball gives Reds fans an all-too-familiar description of a player who may not reach his full potential:
The question for Perez is hitting. He has wiry strength and could grow into some power as he matures. He already has good bat speed and has made progress refining his hitting mechanics, but his strike zone judgement and ability to recognize breaking pitches need work. He should hit for average but without more progress with his approach his OBP may be too low for him to make full use of his above-average running speed on the bases.
What should the Reds do?
At this point, I'm leaning toward the "No" side of this choice, if only because the things being said about Perez are things that have been said or are being said about Reds players and prospects right now. It's awesome when a player has all of the tools, but it royally sucks when said player never puts it together (I'm looking at you, Billy).
On the other hand, if the Reds want to really ace this draft, risk be damned, Perez has the ability to be the best player in it. He's also a safe bet to sign, and sign cheaply, as he's currently uncommitted to a college team.
I have read a few grumblings about immaturity on the field. It's been written that Perez can lose focus and botch up a routine play, or just flat out try to do to much to the detriment of his team. Further, he seems to let bad plays fester longer than they should. Take all of this with a grain of salt, of course; Perez won't turn 18 until four months after the draft.
If the Reds were picking a few spots later, I'd absolutely be more interested in Perez. But at this spot, where the team will likely have its choice of position players (if that's the route they choose to take), I'd like someone that's a little more of a sure thing.
Whoever that someone is.