I originally wasn't going to participate in the mock draft . . .other people do it better than me, frankly, and I usually prefer to focus on analyzing guys within the pro ranks, which is hard enough. But when nms posted this morning that he would not be able to make the draft, I decided that I had enough knowledge to get myself through, and I knew that I'd be able to stay throughout the draft. So I agreed and sat myself down to work.
Now, I have a great deal of respect for nms and the insight that he's provided over the years on this site. He also posted some interesting draft notes which I wasn't going to be beholden to (as well I shouldn't - anybody could and probably did read those!), but nonetheless gave me a good idea for the way he wanted to conduct the draft. I wanted to be true to his style while at the same time putting my own stamp on the process. I also wanted to be faithful to real-life demands - I don't expect the actual Reds to splurge, so while signability wasn't everything, it was definitely something I needed to keep in mind every step of the way. Last but not least, I totally refuse to even consider the idea of "organizational need". I want the best of the best on my team, no ifs, ands, or buts.
I'll take you through my process, pick by pick. And for the sake of disclosure, I did not and still have not read any of the MOD threads here, so I was totally reliant on my intuition and reasoning skills to assist me in determining what players would be available at various points.
First round: Pick #8, #8 overall. Selection: Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
Going into the draft, there was no doubt in my mind that the guy I wanted at No. 8 was Alex White. Great fastball, great secondary pitch in his slider, solid command, nice athleticism and size. I wasn't totally certain if he would get to me, though . . .I knew 1 and 2 would be Strasburg and Ackley, and I figured that the Padres, having a lack of raw upside players in their system, would be inclined to go for Crow, and if not him then Tate. I wasn't sure what the Pirates would do at No. 4, but I did know that gatling would be making the pick and I suspected that he would take Crow off the board if he was there, but that he would leave Tate and instead take one of Jacob Turner or Tyler Matzek. I had no feel at all for Baltimore at 5, but I had seen numerous mock drafts that had tied them to Zach Wheeler, so I decided to pencil his name in there. That left the Giants and Braves ahead of me to deny me Alex White. I couldn't see the Giants taking White . . .the rotation is about as stable long-term as any in baseball, which led me to believe that the team GM would recognize the same and thus look towards the prep ranks for pitching. I also thought it entirely possible that given the total lack of bats in the system, their GM might look towards Tate if he was on the board, or possibly surprise with the selection of Tim Wheeler or Bobby Borchering. And then there were the Braves . . .and as the Braves just don't take college pitchers early, all looked good.
And so the draft began. I didn't even bother to look at my screen for 1 and 2. I called Crow at No. 3 successfully, 4 picks to go. gatling doesn't let me down and takes Tyler Matzek at 4. Baltimore goes predictable and takes Zach Wheeler off the board at 5. The Giants don't move on a position prospect, but decide to splurge for Jacob Turner - I like him more than Wheeler, but I wonder if Baltimore and SF would have just flip-flopped picks had Turner been the pick at 5? One pick to go, and I'm all set with my pick, as Atlanta doesn't take college pitchers . . .I'm awaiting the selection of Shelby Miller, Chad James, maybe a small reach for Matt Hobgood.
And then . . .the Braves take Alex White. Huh. Now I totally did not see that coming, and obviously it's not happening in real life. But none of that matters here, as I need to make a pick. I should say that I didn't totally ignore the possibility that maybe one of teams 1-7 really liked Alex White and were going to jump on him, because I did have alternatives. And so I found myself choosing between Mike Leake and Grant Green. I really liked Leake - although I was a little skeptical as to just how hard he throws, he's otherwise a total package as a pitcher, and I thought he'd be easy enough to sign around slot, perhaps giving me a little extra flexibility later if an intriguing prep dropped a bit. Green was on the total opposite end of the spectrum. I've loved Green for years, and would have taken him in the 2006 Minor League Ball mock draft if not for his heavy USC commitment. I think he's got a solid shot at sticking at shortstop and hitting for average - looks like a classic case of a guy who's been under the spotlight too light and has been microanalyzed to death. He's not an uber-prospect, but he's a very nice one. Of course . . .he's still expensive.
I debated between Leake and Green, before deciding that A) I'd be VERY happy to add Leake to my system and B) Green's signability concerns weren't something that I wanted to worry about with players that I liked still on the board. So I took Leake, felt good about it for a few seconds, and then started building up my list for my next selection while watching the goings-on of the draft. The A's taking Tate surprised me but if Billy Beane thinks he's something special, it's not impossible to imagine that he could sell ownership on their one big purchase this year. The Indians with Shelby Miller and the Dbacks with Matt Purke rate pretty highly on the "Great Moments In Minor League Ball Mock Draft History That Will Never Happen In Real Life" scale, though. Also of note: James Paxton is taken by the Angels at No. 24 . . .keep this in mind, it's important later.
Supplemental first round: Pick #11, #43 overall. Selection: Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw State
Having taken a polished college pitcher in round 1, I was naturally drawn to looking for upside in round 2. I quite liked the prep middle infielder class in this year's draft, and while personal favorite Jiovanni Mier was off the board, I was hopeful that Mychal Givens might get to me. I knew that David Renfroe would be very expensive, which meant that I couldn't think about him until the second round (no compensation for a supplemental pick, of course). Garrett Gould was still on the board, surprisingly, and I liked him too. Tons of live college arms (albeit with questions) were ripe for the picking, a side effect of the heavier-than-anticipated prep presence in round 1. Finally, I noticed that Tony Sanchez was still on the board, and he would have been a nice fit at 43. I loved Josh Phegley's bat but the defense concerns are pretty serious with him and with all the impact arms still on the board, it was hard to see taking a have-bat-will-travel guy.
Givens gets taken right away, should've expected that one. Renfroe somehow goes to the Dbacks at 35, which was just plain confusing. Round 2, sure, but in the supplemental? Gould and Sanchez get snapped up and my list of potential picks for this slot are looking pretty thin. I look back towards Phegley again along with power college arm Kyle Heckathorn, who was dropping like a rock and I wasn't sure why. The risk of Phegley turning into absolutely nothing for me took him out of the equation for this pick, and Heckathorn's raw talent made him an easy choice. Getting a power arm out of the college ranks with all the tools needed for pitching success made me a very happy man at this point. So now I've taken two college pitchers with my first two picks, albeit with radically different profiles.
Second round: Pick #8, #57 overall. Selection: Jason Kipnis, OF, Arizona State
Somebody moved quickly on Phegley in the supplemental round, which surprises me a bit as I would have liked to have considered him in the second round . . .but then again, all-bat catchers who can't play defense aren't exactly uncommon, so I didn't feel too bad. The Padres take Nick Franklin at the start of round 2, which hurt a little more . . .adding a prep middle infielder would have been a nice way to diversify my draft class, and I liked Franklin as a relatively safe pick. I had a list of guys for round 2 which ran a little longer than the supplemental round, actually, as the pool of players with signability concerns out-weighed the number of guys that I liked who happened to be taken in the supplemental. I loved Texas HS LHP Colton Cain's raw stuff and prep SS Billy Hamilton's tools, but I thought that both would just end up costing more money than I could see the real life Reds putting up - and there's a good chance that neither plays pro ball next year in real life anyways. More realistic targets were prep OF Slade Heathcott and Arizona prep pitcher Jason Barrett (who I really coveted). Lousiana HS pitcher Brady Colvin also intrigued me, and I thought that he'd go before Barrett so I had to consider him first. Arizona State OF Jason Kipnis was still on the board, and while he wasn't as toolsy as the sort of guy I was looking for with this pick, I couldn't argue with his bat. Last but not least, I had to continue to consider the possibility of MORE college pitching . . .Brad Boxberger of USC was a personal favorite, and then there was also James Paxton of Kentucky, who hadn't been taken yet to my great surprise.
Yes, that James Paxton. The one who was taken No. 24 by the Angels. Well, pseudo-me knows that there are PLENTY of other guys that I like, so what are the odds that I decide to roll the dice with a third college pitcher in as many picks?
The odds, in fact, proved to be 1:1, as I epic failed the draft by becoming the first person to take a player already taken, subjecting me to much scorn. I have heard that John Sickels actually swore under his breath after seeing my pick . . .on the bright side, it was in Romulan and I don't understand that language anyways.
Somebody gets insanely excited after my pick and jumps in and takes Colvin. While to preserve the draft I'm allowed to go back and re-pick, even considering Colvin at that point would just be rude, so I let that pick stand. Heathcott was off the board, which left Boxberger, Barrett, and Kipnis for me. I decided that I would take Boxberger in round 3 if I could but that I needed to break up my draft class a bit. I decide that while there is a pretty good possibility that Barrett is around in round 3 if I take Kipnis, there is NO WAY that Kipnis makes it past Arizona at No. 60 let alone my next pick at No. 88. So I take the super-solid bat of Kipnis and let Barrett go . . .which then causes me to swear in Romulan(?!) when Barrett is taken by the Yankees at No. 76. Bravo good sir, you got me. Apparently there were a bunch of other people thinking along the same lines as me re: signability, as they all go off the board in a big clump at the end of round 2 . . .Jeff Malm to the Jays at 68, Cain went to the Astros at 69, Brian Goodwin to the White Sox at 71, Billy Hamilton to the Red Sox at 77, Brooks Bogu . . .err, Raley to the Angels at 80.
Third round: Pick #8, #88 overall. Selection: Kyle Seager, 2B, University of North Carolina
So, I had reached the third round at long last, and yet I still had hard choices to make with plenty of enticing choices on the board. I had noticed that the college relief ranks had barely been touched, and Ben Tootle of Jacksonville State in particular leapt out to me as a huge value pick. However, I totally admit that by this point I definitely wanted to add another position player, preferably one who could add value through means other than his bat. Prep C Austin Maddox seemed like a nice idea - despite his shortcomings with his glove (although not his arm) and his need to refine his bat, he had the raw upside to spice up my draft class. Prep middle infielder Chris Owings was also an option, although I wasn't totally sold on his defensive value and his upside with the bat didn't thrill me enough to overcome that.
However, my mind ended up centering on two infielders from big-time college programs: Ryan Jackson, SS from Miami, and Kyle Seager, 2B/3B from UNC. Jackson's drop didn't surprise me at all - based on what I've seen from other Minor League Ball mock drafts, we're all about the numbers, and Jackson admittedly doesn't really bring that to the table. Of course, he's a major leaguer even if he hits .220 with that glove, and I love the idea of knowing that you're going to get SOMETHING out of a guy with a high pick. If somebody can figure out how to make his swing work well enough to get him to .250, he's a VERY nice regular player - I'd take that gamble. Seager appealed to me in other ways - maybe a Joe Randa type as a 3B (which I could live with), but as a 2B I could see him being a steady regular who surprises me with his offensive contributions.
Maddox went off the board before my pick, which left me absolutely certain that I would take one of Jackson or Seager. I knew that nms really liked Seager, and also that Mel Kiper Jr. had projected Cincinnati to take Seager in the real life draft at No. 88 . . .which meant that my selection of Seager was totally predictable. And yet, I couldn't argue with the choice and liked it so much, I made it my own. It was very hard leaving Jackson up on the board, but I like Seager's potential to be a regular significantly more and that's what sealed the deal for me.
So, ladies and gentlemen, if you've made it this far, I present to you now your 2009 Cincinnati Reds Mock Draft Class:
1) Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
1S) Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennessaw State
2) Jason Kipnis, OF, Arizona State
3) Kyle Seager, 2B, North Carolina
May dougdirt have mercy on my soul.
So, how'd I do?
You nailed it, baby! Great pick, every pick! (6 votes)
You did well! I like your draft, but it's not amazing. (31 votes)
You did okay! I don't like your picks, but I like your reasoning. (10 votes)
Did you over-indulge on the Skyline Chili or something? (6 votes)
None of the above. (1 vote)
54 total votes