From small market to big market, that is apparently what the Reds are now considering themselves with the large contract extensions of Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. These contracts in addition to the extensions of Cueto & Bruce mean that the Reds are in for the long haul. So, lets take a look at the organization to see which positions GM Walt Jocketty might need to address in the 2012 draft.
Catcher - The Reds felt so good about 2007 1st RD draft pick Devin Mesoraco that they decided to boost their starting pitching by trading 2010 1st RD draft pick Yasmani Grandal. If all goes well, Mesoraco will become the star the Reds envision. Veteran backup Ryan Hanigan is there as well to serve as insurance but the youth and talent of Mesoraco will likely prevent the Reds from spending an early pick on a catcher though it wouldn't be surprising to see the Reds draft a catcher in the later rounds for future insurance.
First Base - This is one of the most locked up position in all of baseball. The Reds recently signed former MVP Joey Votto to a 10 year contract extension worth $225 million. The 28 year old Canadian has such a stronghold on the position that the Reds traded 2008 1st RD draft pick Yonder Alonso. With the Alonso trade, the best insurance the Reds have at 1B are AAA player Neftali Soto and potentially A player Sean Buckley but with Votto seemingly cemented at this position for the next 10 years it is unlikely the Reds use a draft selection on a 1B type player.
Second Base - Like Votto, Brandon Phillips has also been signed to a long-term extension. The soon-to-be 31 year old recently signed a 6 year $72.5 million which locks him up till he is 36 years old. Of course, contracts are not certainties but unlike other organizational positions, the Reds have quite a few players capable of manning the position. Guys such as Henry Rodriguez, Billy Hamilton, Zack Cozart, Didi Gregorious, David Vidal, Brodie Greene and Ryan Wright are all able to play the position. So, even if something happens to Phillips the Reds are well prepared here.
Shortstop - The Reds have been playing musical chairs at shortstop with the likes of Rich Aurilia, Alex Gonzalez, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and now Zack Cozart. The Reds are still looking for a replacement for now Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin and while Cozart has some skills he lacks the range an profiles more as a good utility player rather than a starting shortstop in the future. Enter Billy Hamilton and Didi Gregorious. Both are talented players with Hamilton getting getting more press because of his blazing speed. Hamilton is younger than Didi but makes more mistakes in the field. Still, having two legitimate future shortstops in the system in combination with Cozart likely means the Reds feel comfortable addressing other issues this year's draft.
Third Base - If there is a need in the Cincinnati infield it lies at 3B. The 37-year old Scott Rolen mans the hot corner but was placed on the DL this week and typically spends a lot of time there throughout the season. Rutgers star and 2007 1st RD supplemental pick Todd Fraizer has so far proven up the challenge and may already be a better hitter than Rolen. Prospects Gabriel Rosa, Junior Arias, and Sean Buckley have somewhat high upside but may not be better than Frazier. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Reds to select a larger framed high school SS or a high school 3B with potential in the draft.
Outfield - It appears centerfield with Drew Stubbs and rightfield with Jay Bruce are pretty well set in stone. Bruce is locked up longterm though Stubbs is set to arbitration eligible after the 2012 season. Stubbs is streaky but is always excellent in centerfield which typically makes up for his lapses in hitting production. Bruce had a fine year in 2011 and may be on cusp of superstardom. Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick have manned LF for the Reds in 2012 but the organization has been reluctant to hand Heisey the reigns and Ludwick, 34 years old in July, is not in the long-term plans of the team. Prospects Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran have yet to realized their potential and former 2nd RD pick Ryan LaMarre as well as Denis Phipps are looking more like reserves at best. So, targeting a talented OF in the draft makes a lot of sense here but at what round?
Pitching - At the MLB level, few teams can match the depth of young rotation talent. The likes of Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, and possibly Aroldis Chapman is a pretty potent group of pitchers. Last year, the Reds drafted California High School youth Robert Stephenson which adds to pitching prospects Daniel Corcino (RHP), Kyle Lotzkar (RHP), JC Sulbaran (RHP), Tony Cingrani (LHP), as well as raw prospects Drew Cisco (RHP), Amir Garrett (LHP), Sal Romano (RHP), Ismael Guillon (LHP). One thing to note is that there are not many quality refined lefties in this system, other than Cingrani, and that may be something the Reds will have to address in this year's draft.
RD 1 = #14 overall, Supp 1 = #49, Supp 1 = #57 overall, RD 2 = #78 overall, & RD 3 = 109