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Monday, June 04, 2007

The amateur draft is approaching!

The Reds have the 15th pick in this week's Amateur Baseball Draft. Thanks to last years' success, the Reds don't have a shot at the upper-most tier of players like they did last year, which is why I haven't been paying much attention to the names expected to go in the top 10.

Nevertheless, first-round selections always tend to be interesting prospects...and it absolutely is the case that first-round selections (on average) outperform players chosen in subsequent rounds by a considerable margin. Furthermore, the Reds have two supplemental picks in the first round this season thanks to the departures of (if I remember correctly) Rich Aurilia and Scott Schoeneweis as free agents. This gives them three selections among the first 53 picks (#15, #34, & #53), so this could be a big draft for the Reds.

A couple of links to share as draft days approach.

Sickels Mock Draft
First, John Sickels over at minorleagueball.com ran his annual mock draft. The Reds were represented by user z4 landshark, who selected HS 3B Matt Dominguez of Chatsworth HS, California in the first round. Kevin Goldstein ranked him as among the top three high school 3B's this season, and said this about Dominguez last week: "Dominguez is viewed by many as a right-handed hitting version of Eric Chavez –-a big athletic third baseman with remarkable defensive skills and middle-of-the-order bat." Dominguez has been on the draft boards all season, so it's no surprise to see him going reasonably high in the first round.

Here are the other Reds selections through five rounds:
1st round, supplemental: #34) Nick Hagadone, LHP Washington
1st round, supplemental: #53) Jack McGeary, LHP, Mass HS
2nd round: Sam Demel, RHP, TCU
3rd round: Cameron Rupp, C
4th round: Jon Kaskow, 1B, Texas HS
5th round: Brandon Workman, RHP Texas HS

It's all in good fun, and is not really meant to be predictive. And who knows? Maybe they'll get it right. :)

Profile on Chris Buckley

Who are the Reds likely to take in the actual draft? The 15th pick is far enough down the list that I don't put a lot of credence into the forecasts you'll see around the web for the Reds (though at #8 last year, several publications did "call" the Stubbs selection). But we can get an idea of the sort of player the Reds will draft by looking at the past drafts of the Reds' Scouting Director in charge of the draft, Chris Buckley.

Bryan Smith of BPro profiled Buckley (along with other directors in the NL Central) a few weeks back. He notes that in four years worth of drafts with Toronto and Cincinnati, 85% of Buckley's top 5 picks have been college players. Furthermore, all four of his first-round picks have been college position players. College hitters tend to be more productive prospects than any other group, so this is not a bad strategy to have. Buckley's selections of Stubbs, Watson, and Valaika in the first three rounds last year are all looking pretty good this season, with all three potentially moving up to Sarasota by mid-season.

I think we can predict, based on past tendencies, that the Reds will choose a college hitter as the first pick this year once again. No idea who it might be, but here's a Kevin Goldstein article profiling the top college talent in this years' draft. Odds are that there's a sentence or two on him in that article, whoever he turns out to be. :) It'll be an interesting week, as always!