Day two of the 2017 MLB Draft will see the Cincinnati Reds make another eight selections, adding another wave of talent to an already burgeoning farm system. On the heels of drafting California high school two-way star Hunter Greene 2nd overall and Florida high school shortstop Jeter Downs 32nd overall (in the Competitive Balance Round), it looked likely that the Reds would lean towards picking easily signable players with little bonus leverage, since it’s probably the case that their first two picks will need over-slot bonuses to be signed.
(As a refresher, each team is allowed to spend a set amount of money they can use for all of their draftees, with the Reds’ number sitting at roughly $13.6 million. Since signing high school players away from their college commitments often is pricey to the point of exceeding slot values - it took nearly $1.5 million over slot to sign Taylor Trammell away from Georgia Tech just last year - locking down both Greene and Downs will likely eat up the bulk of that $13.6 million pool. College seniors, however, don’t have any leverage in this situation, since they can’t just opt to go back to school for another year and improve their draft stock, and often sign for bonuses in the range of $5,000. That was the case last year with Andy Cox (7th round), Alex Webb (9th round), and Lucas Benenati (10th round).)
Turns out, that doesn’t appear to be the strategy they’ve used. At least not so far, though rounds 6 through 10 might see that course followed. Here’s a look at the draftees from rounds 3 through 5.
Round 3 (77th overall) - Jacob Heatherly, LHP (Cullman HS, Cullman, AL)
The Reds added a lefty who has hit 95 mph with his fastball, one who MLB.com thought had a chance to be drafted as high as the late 1st round.
Here’s his scouting report (with video courtesy of FanGraphs) from his Minor League Ball profile.
He’s currently committed to play at Alabama.
Round 4 (107th overall) - Cash Case, SS (The First Academy, Mount Dora, FL)
An All-Name Team member, Case is a lefty swinging shortstop prospect who was a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game All American 2nd team selection. He’s got a “switch-hitting background” and is a Notre Dame commit, as his Perfect Game scouting report notes.
Baseball America has video of him clubbing a pair of homers from a February game.
Round 5 (137th overall) - Mac Sceroler, RHP (Southern Louisiana University, Denham Springs, LA)
A junior, Sceroler earned 1st team All-Southland Conference honors and was twice his conference’s pitcher of the week. He’s also the nephew of Ben McDonald, former 1st overall pick in the 1989 MLB Draft, and was on-pace at times last year to break the school’s single season strikeout record of 125. (He finished with 110.)
He was selected in the 36th round by the Philadelphia Phillies last year, but opted to return for the 2017 season. Given his selection in the 5th round this year, it seems like it was a wise gamble.