The 2019 MLB Draft begins this evening, at which point the Cincinnati Reds will again have the chance to add some more high profile talent to their farm system. Beginning at 7 PM ET today, MLB teams will make their 1st round, Competitive Balance Round A, and 2nd round picks, meaning a full 78 high school and college products will hear their names come off the board.
The Reds, for what its worth, hold the #7 (1st round) and #49 (2nd round) overall selections, having included what became #38 (Competitive Balance Round A) in the deal with the New York Yankees over the winter that landed them Sonny Gray. Their bonus pool to sign those, and the rest of their selections in the first 10 rounds, is some $9,528,600, and with no slam dunk pick being tied to them at #7 overall, it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of strategy they employ in allocating that money for signability purposes.
Currently, most mock drafts have the Reds selecting TCU lefty Nick Lodolo with their #7 pick, though that’s certainly no guarantee. This particular draft class unfortunately seems to have 6 clear-cut best players - all of them hitters - with a reasonable drop off afterwards, so while Lodolo has long been considered the likely best pitching prospect in the draft, the Reds could certainly choose to go in a different direction, especially when you factor in the variability of having 6 teams making decisions themselves beforehand.
Obviously, the top end of the draft is where teams get the best chances to shape the future of their organization. Earlier this year, the Reds called up the #2 pick from the 2016 MLB Draft in Nick Senzel, and his impact on both the 2019 Reds and on how the front office will build around him for years into the future is already the focus of this current front office. That’s in addition to former 1st round selection Jesse Winker, too, whose impact last season had a somewhat similar effect, as well as to former 2nd round pick Joey Votto, who has quite obviously been the cornerstone of this franchise for over a decade.
Even some former high profile draftees of the Reds that are no longer part of the club show just how important making good early selections can be, as trade trees clearly show. Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger were all 1st round picks sent to the San Diego Padres long ago to land pitcher Mat Latos, and Latos later begat Anthony DeSclafani, who’s a current member of the Cincinnati rotation. Similarly, Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler are around following the trade of former 1st round pick Todd Frazier, while Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer, and Alex Wood are in Reds uniforms (when healthy) thanks to a deal featuring former 1st round picks Homer Bailey and Jeter Downs (as well as former 2nd round pick Josiah Gray).
The Reds, like many other franchises, have had their struggles with 1st round selections at times, as the art of selecting future stars is far from a fine science. Pitchers Nick Howard and Nick Travieso, for instance, have pretty well flamed out, shoulder injuries helping to derail their progress to the big leagues - Senzel, Howard, Travieso, Lodolo...there’s apparently something about 1st round picks named Nick. Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen, Alex Blandino, and Phil Ervin are still around with hopes that the best of their respective big league careers is still in front of them, while recent 1st rounders like Hunter Greene, Jonathan India, and Taylor Trammell form the core of the team’s prospect depth and are the best bets to impact the Reds in the near future.
One way or another, the events of this evening will help define how talented the Reds are for years down the road, either by adding more future stars or because they’ve swung and missed in a big way at one of the few chances for each and every team to add talent without the necessity of financial resources.
How To Watch
Coverage of the MLB Draft will begin tonight at 6 PM ET on MLB Network, while the 1st round and Competitive Balance Round A will also be televised on MLB Network. Each of those rounds along with the 2nd round will also be viewable on MLB.com.
For Reds fans in particular, we’ll be breaking down each of the Reds selections tonight here at Red Reporter dot com, so check back in for analysis after the picks this evening.
Tuesday will feature picks from Round 3-10, while the remaining selections will be made on Wednesday. That will all be available for viewing on MLB.com as well, with action beginning at noon each day.