The 2017 MLB Draft begins next Monday, June 12th, and it will provide each team in baseball with the chance to re-stock their farm systems with the best baseball talent the United States has to offer this year. The Cincinnati Reds will draft 2nd overall again in 2017, one year removed from selecting Nick Senzel out of the University of Tennessee with the 2nd overall pick in 2016.
The MLB Draft never gets the kind of glitz and glamour that surrounds both the NBA and NFL Drafts, largely due to the lack of immediate impact made at the highest levels by the players selected. While Senzel has been off to a great start to his pro career, he’s yet to sniff the Reds’ active roster, and knowing that even the most polished college players are usually at least two years from having a chance to impact the course of a franchise tends to mute the fanfare with even the highest draftees. However, that shouldn’t undercut the vital importance the draft has in keeping good teams competitive and helping rebuilding teams emerge from their funks.
A recent look at Cincinnati’s draft history helps emphasize that clearly. During the team’s potent 2010-2013 run through the NL Central and into the playoffs, the team’s core consisted largely of players they drafted in the early rounds that actually panned out. Jay Bruce, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey, and Drew Stubbs all played large roles in the team’s success as former 1st round picks, and 1st rounders Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal were valued highly enough to bring back Mat Latos to help bolster the rotation. Of course, 2nd round picks Joey Votto and Zack Cozart chipped in mightily, too, as did the eventual emergence of 1st rounder Devin Mesoraco.
Similarly, the team’s frustrating dive to the NL Central cellar has coincided with a lack of impact from their early draftees, as only Michael Lorenzen has managed to carve out a permanent role in the big leagues among the 18 players the Reds have selected in the 1st and 2nd rounds since 2011.
After the Minnesota Twins select 1st overall, Cincinnati will have some delectable options to choose from, even though there’s no clear-cut top player in this year’s class that’s the obvious top selection. High school right-hander Hunter Greene might well be the top overall talent in this year’s draft - as we detailed last month - but since his proximity to the majors is quite a way off and no high school righty has ever been taken 1st overall, it seems the Twins might pass on him and leave the Reds with a chance to take him. University of Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay is also in the mix for both the Twins and Reds, and has been on the radar as a potential top pick since we first checked in on 2017 draft prospects last July. Similarly, Vanderbilt University’s RHP Kyle Wright has also shot up draft boards - as we looked at in December - and may well go 1st overall, too.
The Reds will have just over $13.6 million to spend on signing as many of their drafted players as possible, with the 2nd overall pick carrying a $7.193 million slot value. Slot value, for reference, is the recommended signing amount for each selection through the 10th round, obviously with the amounts declining the farther from the 1st overall selection you get. Of course, that’s not always the exact amount given to each pick, which is part of the intricate overall draft strategy teams employ. For instance, last year, Senzel signed for $6.2 million, some $1.5 million below slot value, and that saved money allowed them to throw a way larger than slot amount at high schooler Taylor Trammell with their next pick, which was enough to sway him from attending college at Georgia Tech and commit to pro ball.
Monday will feature Round 1, Competitive Balance Round A, Round 2, and Competitive Balance Round B, in which the Reds will have three overall selections (2nd, 32nd, and 38th overall). Drafting will begin at 7 PM ET, and can be seen on either MLB Network or MLB.com. Tuesday, June 13th will see Rounds 3-10 completed, with Wednesday, June 14th wrapping up with Rounds 11-40 coming off the board.
For a list of the complete draft order, click here.