2010 was a big year for the 1st professional baseball team because the Reds won the NL Central and returned to the playoffs after 15 years. Granted, they faced a Phanatic buzz-saw in the 1st round but they got over the hump and are showing the same tenacity in 2011. The Reds have done a good job locking up some of their more talented players (Bruce, Cueto, etc.) which proves their desire to contend and possibly spend some money. I think it is important to note where the Reds currently are as an organization as well as where they want to be and while I don't always think it is smart to target certain positions during a draft, I think it is reasonable to address organizational needs in the draft if you don't forcefully reach.
C - The Reds are probably set here like no other organization in baseball. Last year, the club, with Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan were fantastic but they are only keeping the seat warm for former 1st rounders Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal who should provide needed help at a historically thin position in the coming years. I see this a position as a large strength.
1B - The Reds have addressed this position with the resigning, and possible extension, of reigning NL MVP Joey Votto. Add in 2008 1st RD pick Yonder Alonso and they basically have a corner on the market though Votto's presence is forcing Alonso to play LF. Still, even though the Reds are currently good here and may have some other internal options, it wouldn't be the worst idea to look for a capable MLB bat if one were to be available.
2B - Current gold glover Brandon Phillips has a team option for 2012 but after that nothing is currently set in stone. Some feel that speed-demon prospect Billy Hamilton could eventually move off SS, where he is currently playing in Dayton, and move to 2B. I for one think Hamilton can handle SS but players Chris Valaikia and Zack Cozart, while not stars, could man the position in the short-term. In the long-term, young 2B prospects Ronald Torreyes (A), Henry Rodriguez (A+) and Cody Puckett (AA) might be the better options though neither of the three are sized over 5'10/175lbs at this point and there are some defensive questions. So, while it always seems to be a good idea to draft a quality MI, it may not be a huge necessity.
SS - Since the retirement of future HOF Barry Larkin, the Reds have constantly been on the lookout for a difference making SS. Acquisitions Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria as well as the glove-first farmhand Paul Janish have been surprisingly productive back lack the game changing ability that the Reds are searching for. That game changer may be in the form of 2nd round speedster Billy Hamilton. While some still question his glove at SS, I think his biggest question is his ability to consistently get on base. Once on, his play on the base paths is actually humorous as pitchers and catchers seem helpless to control him. If Hamilton continues to develop with the glove and at the plate with a mature contact approach, I see no reason he can't be a quality regular and maybe even more. Other potentials could be the aforementioned Valaikia and Cozart in addition to Junior Arias, a 19 yo with a lot of talent but may outgrow the position, and international signee Olivel Florientino. MI seems to be somewhat weak atop the draft but would likely remain a possibility later.
3B - As much as I enjoy Scott Rolen's play, he recently turned 36 and the Reds obviously need a contingency plan to replace him in the future. I believe the Reds have considered this and view current AAA 3B and former 1st rounder Todd Frazier as the current heir and he is playing very well in Louisville. There has been high hopes for Frazier in the past only to see him fail so the Reds may have a Plan C as well. Current MLBer Juan Francisco can play 3B but his glove is not consistent enough. Also, if Arias continues to grow in body and bat, he could become a possibility at 3B in the future. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Reds take a stab here if the right player was available.
OF - Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs have proven that drafting well helps a lot but even though RF and CF are set for the future the LF jobt remains in flux and up for grabs. Current MLB player Chris Heisey remains a posibility but has yet to take hold of the position and fan favorite Jonny Gomes has been lackluster o far in 2011. Prospects Yorman Rodriguez, Juan Duran, Ryan LaMarre, Dave Sapplet, and possibly Yonder Alonso remain on the horizon and appear to be the top outfield talents in the organization. Yorman and Duran are undeveloped at this point and are a ways away in Single-A Dayton while former collegiate stars LaMarre and Alonso could move quickly. As much as I like Sapplet, I personally don't see him as more than a 4th OF despite his minor league performance. With all that said, I could see the Reds drafting a slugging OF if given the opportunity.
PItching - Can you ever have enough pitching? Starting, middle-relief, setup, mop-up, and, closing there really isn't such a thing as too much pitching. Unlike most years, the Reds are actually quite strong in pitching but are somewhat top-heavy with most of their true young talent already in the majors . 2010 1st rounder Mike Leake, recently sent down, found this out as he was deemed the lesser of the talented group consisting of Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, and Travis Wood. All except Arroyo are 28 years old or less which bodes will for Cincinnati's future. In addition to Leake, other legitimate Reds pitching prospects include the oft-injured but talented Kyle Lotzkar, young lefty Ismael Guillon, Josh Smith, Jonathan Correa, as well as erratic relievers Donnie Joseph and Brad Boxberger. It could pay dividends for the Reds to invest in quality pitching but with the vast amount of pitching talent, should they wait and attempt to address other needs?
With the 1-27, 2-84, & 3-114 picks, who will the Reds will target? How about any Cuban born Miami Hurricane with a first name that begins with 'Y' (Yonder & Yasmani)? I the recent past, they've typically gone after safer college selections during the 1st few rounds and then have gone high upside/high risk. I tend to think the Reds could do much of the same and go pitching heavy during this draft but I could see them select the right college bat as well. Thoughts?