The 2016 MLB Draft begins on Thursday evening, with picks from the 1st round through Lottery Round B taking place beginning at 7 PM ET while televised by MLB Network. The Cincinnati Reds will make three selections on Day 1, as they own the 2nd, 35th, and 43rd overall picks thanks to striking gold with the top pick of last year's Competitive Balance lottery. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon has a pretty thorough preview up, including the requisite speculation surrounding the players the Reds may select 2nd overall and quotes from team draft wizard Chris Buckley. By all accounts, it's still a toss-up who they'll take, in large part because the Philadelphia Phillies still seem quite up in the air regarding the player they'll select 1st overall.
CBSSports.com's Dayn Perry spoke with Baseball Prospectus draft expert Chris Crawford about how he thinks the draft should develop, and it's an interesting discussion that brings to light how much risk teams are willing (and unwilling) to take with these high picks. Crawford, in short, is wary of AJ Puk's back issues, ranks high school lefty Jason Groome as the top overall prospect in the draft, and thinks that Louisville OF Corey Ray is the next best player available behind Groome. For what it's worth, the Reds haven't really been connected with selecting Groome, though Ray is someone whose name and local ties have had him connected with the 2nd overall pick for some time.
In speaking of Groome, Crawford mentioned his "volatility" and why that would likely lead the Phillies to pass on selecting him, which is a concept Baseball America's Matt Eddy touches on in a thorough analysis of recent top draft picks. Eddy explores the years-old decision teams face at the top of the draft between position players and pitchers, as well as high school age prospects versus older college athletes, and how it plays into Philadelphia's decision on Thursday. Obviously, the same dilemma presents itself to the Reds at #2, which makes this a pretty fascinating read.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explored how the 2016 MLB Draft may well be the last of its kind, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and MLBPA expires before the 2017 edition. It's a solid walk-through of the current rules governing the hows and whys of team draft decisions, as well as a highlight of the flaws that will certainly be addressed by this time next year.
In other news, Brandon Dixon's dinger-honking ways earned him Southern League Player of the Week honors, as was announced on Monday. Dixon, who came to the Reds from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in the three-team deal that sent Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox, went bonkers all week long, posting an absured 2.298 OPS while crushing six homers in just five games played. Dixon, still just 24, was seen by many as a mere throw-in in that trade (including by yours truly), but he's done everything possible this season to suggest that was a terribly faulty assumption. At least there's one position prospect in the Cincinnati system that's actually hitting the snot out of the ball.
The Enquirer's Zach Buchanan spoke with Jay Bruce for Monday's B.A.R., and it's dang nice to see Jay get interviewed about being good at baseball again, not about his miserable last few seasons.
Finally, FanGraphs' Carson Cistulli is working his way through broadcaster rankings thanks to effective crowdsourcing, and today he unveiled the bottom 10 radio pairings as voted on by those willing to give their opinions. You'll find the Reds represented, which will likely both surprise many of you (hi, Facebook!) and make the rest of you nod your heads in agreement.