The Cincinnati Reds wrapped their 2016 MLB Draft over the weekend, adding 40 new names for the farm in what they hope will be a major step forward in the current reboot. We highlighted the fireworks from day one of the draft, when the Reds added Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, and Chris Okey as their top three picks, and The Enquirer has a list of every player Cincinnati selected. Scouting Director Chris Buckley and crew added a bevy of pitching after going with position players with the first three selections, adding a talented mix of high school arms and polished college hurlers that make for an interesting mix - especially given the team's MLB high bonus pool.
Baseball America's Hudson Belinsky called Nick Hanson, the Reds' 3rd round pick, a "quality, high upside" arm with a mid-90s fastball, which is something all teams wish for. Belinsky's BA comrade John Manuel noted that the Reds' 6th round pick, Tyler Mondile, hit 96 mph when facing off against Red Sox 1st rounder Jason Groome back in May, and that Cincinnati scouts in attendance must've liked what they'd seen. For what it's worth, it seems like Mondile, a Florida State signee, intends to sign with the Reds, as NJ.com reported.
It's far, far too early to judge the overall haul for Cincinnati, obviously. This draft has consistently been tabbed as a major step in bringing the Reds out of the NL Central cellar, the main positive byproduct brought about by two years of awful performance at the big league level. It is early enough, however, to nervously cross your fingers about this year's crop, since the initial returns from the 2014 draft hasn't exactly provided a ton of hope. The team's 1st selection from that year, Nick Howard, has a 2.37 WHIP in his second year in Daytona while now being exclusively being used as a reliever, while 2nd rounder Taylor Sparks owns just a .618 OPS in his second stint at A+ ball, too. Alex Blandino, also a 1st rounder from that year, has shown flashes of great talent, but is currently hitting just .193 for AA Pensacola.
Needless to say, if the Reds don't get a better overall initial return from their 2016 selections than they've seen from their 2014 versions, it's going to be increasingly hard to sell 2018 as a realistic date for the Reds to be fully in contention for winning things again.
In other news, it appears the Reds will finally get some much needed pitching reinforcement later this month, as both Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen are on track to join the team by the end of June. The Enquirer's Shannon Russell spoke with manager Bryan Price about each's recovery from their respective arm injuries and their roles upon returning to the Reds, and Price seemed pretty positive about each's impact upon getting back to Cincinnati. Both will work out of the bullpen, at least for now. Also of note: Homer Bailey will throw a bullpen session today in Atlanta.
Price also referred to outfielder Tyler Holt in the same breath as Jonny Gomes, so there's that. I'll have some toast and coffee with my cheese grits, thanks.
Joey Votto busted his career worst 0 for 19 streak on April 22nd with a single off Jon Lester. Since April 23rd, Votto's hit .252/.384/.510 (.894 OPS), with per 162 averages of 36 homers, 99 ribbies, and 106 walks. It still hasn't been peak Votto, but it has been markedly better than whatever it was we saw from him in that awful April. There's also a big pile of games left this season, and I think we've got plenty more to see from him.
Finally, the Reds are in Atlanta to take on the Braves for the next four days. For more on what's going on from an Atlanta perspective, check out our friends at Talking Chop.