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Draft Review - Cincinnati Reds

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Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the Cincinnati Reds’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State, #8 overall, 6’0’’/180: I have to start this out by saying that I’m a big Mike Leake fan. Where most people jump on Leake’s lack of physical projection, I see his athletic frame as a slight plus, as he has the ability to repeat his delivery with consistency, and his mechanics are clean. His advanced command of multiple offerings is quite scary, and though his fastball is average in velocity, he more than makes up for that with movement and command. I see his ceiling as quite a bit higher than some media outlets will tell you, though I don’t think he’s a number one guy. However, he looks like a good number two to me, probably in the mold of Tim Hudson during his Oakland years. Leake’s negotiations have hit a bit of a snag, but I fully expect him to sign. DOB: 11/12/87.

1s. Brad Boxberger, RHP, USC, #43 overall, 6’2’’/200: Earlier in the season, I was also a big Boxberger fan, as he showed many of the characteristics that Mike Leake did. He dabbles with three pitches that have good consistency, and his pitches themselves actually have better pure potential than Leake’s. However, Boxberger lacks the precision command of Leake, and he showed he was prone to physical slowdown late in games during the year. I do like this pick at this spot, though, as it’s good value for talent, draft position, and signability, though he hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 5/27/88.

2. Billy Hamilton, SS, Taylorsville HS (MS), #57 overall, 6’1’’/160: I thought this was a very interesting pick, considering it came after a pair of relatively safe college arms went to the Reds. It makes for a very interesting blend of high-ceiling talent with high-floor talent, a good combination. Hamilton himself isn’t one of my favorite ballplayers, as he’s just so raw. He’s got blazing speed to go along with great defensive quickness, and his arm is plus at short, too. However, in the areas where experience shows, Hamilton is most raw. His hitting and fielding tools are lacking greatly at the present time, and he might have to move off short due to that. This is a high-risk, high-reward pick, and even though I thought a couple other prep shortstops would go before him, this isn’t a bad pick. He signed pretty quickly and is hitting .229/.292/.314 in 118 ABs in the GCL. DOB: 9/9/90. Signing bonus: $623,600.

3. Donnie Joseph, LHP, Houston, #88 overall, 6’3’’/190: Joseph is a bit of a polarizing figure in scouting circles, as some say he has the pure stuff to be a late-inning reliever, while others say his lack of a history of command will keep him from getting very far with his stuff. I tend to think Joseph will succeed in pro ball, having developed a fairly consistent breaking ball to go along with an improved fastball out of the bullpen. I think he has the ability to be a CJ Wilson-like reliever, meaning he could probably close on some teams, but not most. I like this pick for draft position, it’s about average for talent, and he signed quickly. He breezed through the Pioneer League in 11.2 innings with a 0.77 ERA, and he’s only allowed three earned runs in 11.1 innings (2.38 ERA) with Dayton in the Midwest League so far. DOB: 11/1/87. Signing bonus: $398,000.

4. Mark Fleury, C, North Carolina, #119 overall, 6’1’’/200: I wasn’t a big Fleury fan for most the spring, simply because he had no track record of catching a full college season and handling the dominating stuff thrown by most UNC pitchers. While I’m still not high on Fleury, I’m much more so than I was four or five months ago. I like his patience at the plate, but I loathe the bunches of strikeouts he rang up. I think his bat is quite questionable. I heard mixed reviews about his handling of the pitching staff, and that makes me wonder whether he can continue to be a full-time starting catcher. This is about where I thought he’d go, but I don’t necessarily liken him to fourth round talent. He signed quickly and is hitting just .175/.284/.286 in 63 ABs with Billings in the Pioneer League. He’s 0-for-14 against lefties. Ouch. DOB: 5/4/88. Signing bonus: $249,300.

5. Daniel Tuttle, RHP, Randleman HS (NC), #149 overall, 6’1’’/185: The Reds continued their pattern of following two safer college draftees with a more risky prep one with the selection of Tuttle. Much like Hamilton, Tuttle’s got a lot of work to do. His mechanics just aren’t right, and it’s obvious to anyone with any history of scouting, as he can’t even repeat his delivery from pitch to pitch sometimes. However, he still can have filthy stuff, and his pitch mix has the potential to be top-end. I like this pick a lot, and he only signed for slightly above slot money. It’s filled with risk, but considering the reasonable price, it’s worth the gamble. He’s gone 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 17.1 innings so far in the GCL, striking out 15 and walking 6, while allowing 20 hits, a surprisingly high number. DOB: 8/21/90. Signing bonus: $200,000.

6. Mark Serrano, RHP, Oral Roberts, #179 overall, 6’2’’/195: Serrano was drafted by the Royals in the 47th round way back in 2004 out of high school in California. In the next four drafts, Serrano was eligible each time, but was never picked again. Enter 2009. Serrano burst onto the scene partway into the year, and he never slowed down. He showed average stuff with excellent results. His fastball is fairly average, and I’d compare it to Leake’s without the advanced movement. In addition, Serrano’s slider has drawn some praise, and it could be a big league pitch in time. If Serrano can nail down his changeup, he could be a back-end starter in time. However, he’s already 23, so you have to take most pro success shy of AA ball with a grain of salt. He signed quickly for what is next to nothing for a sixth rounder, and he ran through the Pioneer League in just 6.1 innings with only one earned run allowed, and he’s 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 22.2 innings with Dayton so far. DOB: 9/14/85. Signing bonus: $25,000.

7. Josh Fellhauer, OF, Cal State Fullerton, #209 overall, 5’11’’/175: This is a solid pick, as Fellhauer was projected to go off the board as many as three rounds higher. I think Fellhauer has a chance to be a solid starting outfielder in the bigs, especially with his excellent defense. He reminds me in many ways of A’s outfielder Ryan Sweeney, though Fellhauer might be a better defender in center. I like this pick a lot, as it was above-average for draft position, talent, and Fellhauer signed quickly for a reasonable amount of money. He’s hitting .296/.375/.528 in 142 ABs with Dayton so far. DOB: 3/24/88. Signing bonus: $125,000.

8. Juan Silva, OF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #239 overall, 6’0’’/190: I was hearing much better things about Silva coming into the spring than I heard during the spring itself. The big plus I like about Silva is his excellent outfield defense, and combined with a solid arm, he should be an excellent overall defender in time. It might be in right field, but he’s blessed with that natural talent nonetheless. Silva’s other plus tool is his speed, and while he’s not a Hamilton-like burner, he’s a speedster in his own right. His hitting lags behind a bit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the Reds’ best offensive pick outside of Fellhauer in this draft. I do like this pick, especially considering the safety of the previous two picks by the Reds. Silva signed quickly and is hitting .258/.351/.412 in 97 ABs in the GCL. Solid start. DOB: 1/8/91. Signing bonus: $95,000.

9. Brian Pearl, RHP, Washington, #269 overall, 6’1’’/190: Pearl was moving quickly up draft boards this year, but he never really put together the dominating results that some expected with his stuff. He was fairly inconsistent, actually varying wildly in terms of pure stuff from appearance to appearance. A pure reliever, Pearl has back-end stuff at times, but he’s got a long ways to go to reach that consistency. I like this pick here, as it was great for draft position and talent, and they didn’t even need six figures to sign him. He’s been inconsistent still in the minors so far, compiling a 5.00 ERA in 18 innings with Billings, but striking out 29. DOB: 5/17/88. Signing bonus: $90,000.

10. Tucker Barnhart, C, Brownsburg HS (IN), #299 overall, 5’8’’/180: When I first started writing this draft review, Barnhart still hadn’t signed. However, he recently did, making this a solid pick. Committed to Georgia Tech, Barnhart’s signability was the big question entering the draft, as his skills are less doubted. A very athletic catcher, Barnhart’s arm is pretty average for the position, but due to that athleticism, Barnhart’s pop times can be excellent. He’s fairly new to the position, so he needs to work on receiving skills. With the bat, I see Barnhart as being solid, especially considering he’s a switch-hitter. I like this pick a lot for draft position and talent, as Barnhart has the potential to be a Major League catcher in the mold of Jason Varitek. He took a fairly large over slot bonus, but getting him signed was important for this draft class. He went 0-for-4 in his Tuesday debut in the GCL. DOB: 1/7/91. Signing bonus: $250,000.

11. Jacob Johnson, RHP, Trinity Christian Academy (FL), #329 overall, 6’4’’/215: I didn’t really think Johnson would be a high pick in this draft, simply because his current stuff isn’t very special. What’s special about Johnson is his projection. With a pro pitcher’s frame, Johnson is able to still have somewhat clean mechanics, a plus for such a big prep pitcher, and I think that’s the saving grace for him. Otherwise, he’d be either hurt or on his way to Wake Forest. However, he was signed quickly for a pretty penny, though it could worth it if the Reds are patient enough with him to let him develop his offspeed stuff. Good pick for talent and draft position, and he signed quickly. He’s had a very successful debut in the GCL, going 0-1 with a 1.04 ERA in 26 innings, walking 10 and striking out 24, allowing only 13 hits. He’s handling lefties and righties alike, so this has to be seen as nothing but a success. DOB: 9/12/90. Signing bonus: $150,000.

12. Josh Garton, OF, Volunteer State CC (TN), #359 overall, 6’2’’/205: I think this pick also has good potential, as Garton has shown great power potential at times in his JUCO career. I don’t really see any other plus tools with Garton, but if he can improve his plate discipline, this can be a solid pick. He’s already 21, so he doesn’t have the extra potential that most JUCO players have compared to four-year program players, but this is a solid twelfth round selection. He signed quickly, but is off to a poor .190/.255/.320 start in 100 ABs with Billings. DOB: 4/27/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Nick Christiani, RHP, Vanderbilt, #389 overall, 6’0’’/195: Christiani was a 32nd round pick of the Indians a year ago after his junior year at Vandy, but he chose not to sign. I thought he might go somewhere in the teens this year, but only because he seemed to be an affordable senior option for a team looking for relievers. He doesn’t have great stuff, but might eventually be a middle relief candidate. However, he still hasn’t signed, so I wonder if he even wants to play pro ball. DOB: 7/17/87.

14. Tim Crabbe, RHP, Westmont (CA), #419 overall, 6’4’’/195: I don’t know why, but I never saw Crabbe as a legitimate mid-round draft pick this year. A draft-eligible sophomore, Crabbe does have pro size, but I was told his current stuff wasn’t pro material quite yet. Therefore, I expected he’d either be a late-round follow or not be drafted at all, though I figured the former was the more likely option. However, the Reds drafted him within their true "wants" range, and he signed quickly. He’s 0-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 27.1 innings with Billings so far, striking out 29 and walking 18 while allowing 21 hits. DOB: 2/20/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Jamie Walczak, RHP, Mercyhurst (PA), #449 overall, 6’2’’/195: Walczak was also an outfield prospect as a senior at Mercyhurst, though I didn’t expect him to go this high for either spot. He doesn’t have good stuff, and he’s already 22, so I’m not a big backer of this pick. He signed quickly and is off to a 1-2 start with Billings, accompanied by a 6.39 ERA in 12.2 innings of relief. He’s been hit quite hard by both righties and lefties alike. DOB: 5/4/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

16. Chase Fowler, C, South Forsythe HS (GA), #479 overall, 6’1’’/185: This enters the start of the unsignable and organizational players territory for the Reds. Fowler never really caught my attention as a possible pro prospect, but I do think he could re-emerge in the single digits for 2012 as a lefty-hitting catcher. I fully expect he’ll honor his college commitment, as he hasn’t signed yet with less than a week to go until the deadline. DOB: 9/16/90. Commitment: Southern Miss.

17. Deven Marrero, SS, American Heritage HS (FL), #509 overall, 6’1’’/180: Marrero went from being in consideration for the best prep shortstop in this draft class to being a contingency plan for the Reds. Marrero has good all-around tools, and his best asset is his plus defensive actions. He has a good future hitting tool, too, but his present hitting tool is too far away from that future grade to expect him to reach it. Having been picked this far down, it’s pretty unreasonable to think he’ll sign, especially considering Hamilton’s entrance into the organization at the same position, though Marrero’s a far superior defensive shortstop. There’s a possibility the Reds want to sign one of Marrero or Steven Perez, but I honestly don’t know if they’ll have the money considering they’re still battling with Leake and Boxberger at the top. DOB: 8/25/90. Commitment: Arizona State.

18. Steven Perez, SS, Gulliver Prep HS (FL), #539 overall, 5’11’’/175: It’s funny that the Reds picked Perez in addition to Marrero, as they were often compared to each other this spring in south Florida. Perez has a lower ceiling than Marrero, but a higher floor, too. His defense is more solid than Marrero’s, as is his hitting, but I don’t see a ton of projection in his frame, meaning he might not ever hit with enough pop to hold down a steady shortstop job. Perez’ commitment might be stronger than most think, and I don’t think he’ll sign before the deadline. DOB: 12/16/90. Commitment: Miami.

19. Mitchell Clarke, LHP, Forest Heights (ON), #569 overall, 6’2’’/220: This is about where I expected Clarke to go, as he has a big frame and had a weak college commitment. Like most Canadian prospects, he’s behind in his development, but his pure physicality is quite good, so I wouldn’t count him out just yet. He signed quickly, and he’s off to a 1-1 start with a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings in the GCL. He’s been much more effective in relief so far. DOB: 8/29/90. Signing bonus: Unknown.

20. Matt Valaika, 2B, UC Santa Barbara, #599 overall, 5’10’’/190: The Reds took a shot that Valaika would be tied in with his family here, though he probably has a much better chance of going in the single digits next year than he did this year. He’s a small kid, and there’s not much future projection there. He’s a bench player at best. He’ll most likely be returning to school for his senior year. DOB: 4/2/88.

21. Jon Reed, RHP, Memorial HS (OK), #629 overall, 6’2’’/200: Reed comes with a lot of injury risk, as he didn’t pitch this year due to elbow problems. He did continue to play in the field, however, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t do some further damage to that elbow as a result. I don’t see the Reds signing him, and he’ll likely end up on campus soon. DOB: 9/12/90. Commitment: Tennessee.

22. Dave Stewart, 1B, Grayson County CC (TX), #659 overall, 6’6’’/220: Remember the profile of Rangers’ first baseman Chris Davis when he came out of the JUCO ranks? It’s eerily similar to Stewart’s. A power bat, Stewart does have some glaring weaknesses, but he’s blessed with a big body and natural talent. I’m a big fan of this pick, as he’s signed fairly recently. I expected him to go ten rounds higher after going to the Nationals in the 31st round out of high school in 2007, but he fell for unknown reasons. He’s 2-for-9 in the GCL so far. DOB: 11/23/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Chris Richburg, 1B, Texas Tech, #689 overall, 6’2’’/210: A 23 year old college senior, Richburg doesn’t have much upside, and I didn’t think he’d be anything but a late-round roster filler. He signed quickly and is hitting .231/.346/.341 in 91 ABs with Billings. DOB: 12/29/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

24. Derrick Lowery, 1B, Young Harris JC (GA), #719 overall, 6’1’’/215: Lowery was one of the better JUCO prospects in Georgia this spring, though that’s not saying much. He was more highly regarded as a lefty pitcher, so I’m not sure what the Reds saw in him that others didn’t. I thought he might go a few rounds earlier, but it was not to be. At 21, he’s a year older than most JUCO sophomores, so there’s less upside here. He signed quickly and is 6-for-19 in the GCL after going 1-for-3 with Billings. DOB: 5/3/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

25. Mike Monster, RHP, Rutland SS (BC), #749 overall, 6’3’’/220: Monster wasn’t far behind Phillies’ draftee Steven Inch for the title of best Canadian righty prep arm this spring, but I’d prefer Inch over Monster. Monster’s got good projectability in his frame, and with time he could become what Inch already is. However, he fell due to his rawness, and it looks like he’ll be heading to junior college. He’ll be eligible again next year if he does enroll. DOB: 12/3/90. Commitment: New Mexico JC.

26. Trey Manz, C, South Florida, #779 overall, 6’1’’/205: Who? Pure roster filler here, as the Reds were in need of a short-season catcher for split time between Billings and the GCL. He signed quickly and is 0-for-7 with Billings and 8-for-19 (.421) in the GCL, his current assignment. DOB: 9/1/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Stefan Del Pino, LHP, Dorman HS (SC), #809 overall, 6’1’’/175: I thought Del Pino would be a late-round follow, as he just doesn’t have pro strength yet. He might develop into something for the 2012 draft, but he’s probably a middle reliever in the long run. I expect him to fulfill his college commitment. DOB: 6/8/91. Commitment: Coastal Carolina.

28. Derek Poppert, SS, San Francisco, #839 overall, 6’1’’/190: Poppert wasn’t very highly-regarded, making him just a roster filler option, though they haven’t signed him. He’ll probably return to school for his senior year. DOB: 7/27/88.

29. Jason Braun, RHP, Corban (OR), #869 overall, 6’5’’/185: I like this pick quite a bit, especially considering they signed him so easily. Braun’s a former basketball player who has great pro size, and he might have the ability to be a setup man in the future. He gets good downward action on his fastball, and with his tall frame, he gets a lot of ground balls. He’s 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in 20 innings so far with Billings, and he’s getting a ton of groundball outs. DOB: 11/24/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Yovan Gonzalez, C, Wabash Valley CC (IL), #899 overall, 5’11’’/190: A JUCO sophomore who is roster filler. He is only 19, so maybe there’s something there I haven’t seen. He signed quickly and is hitting .256/.318/.282 in 39 ABs in the GCL as a backup catcher. DOB: 11/11/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Adian Kummet, RHP, St. Scholastica (MN), #929 overall, 6’4’’/205: Wasn’t even on my radar, so the only thing I notice is his size. He’s also 22, so there’s probably not much to see here. He signed quickly and is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in 17.1 innings with Billings. DOB: 4/15/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

32. Shane Carlson, SS, UC Santa Barbara, #959 overall, 6’0’’/185: The inability to sign Valaika or Poppert meant the signing of the lower-rated Carlson became more crucial. Carlson is pure roster filler at its best. After a 6-for-27 (.222) run with Billings, he was promoted to Sarasota in the Florida State League, where he’s hitting .275/.310/.338 in 80 ABs. DOB: 4/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

33. Will Stramp, 3B, Lubbock Christian (TX), #989 overall, 6’3’’/190: I find this pick intriguing, as I expected Stramp to go possibly fifteen to twenty rounds higher. He absolutely hit the cover off the ball this spring, and he’s got some pro tools mixed in with the normal college skillset. He’s old at 23, but this is a great sign this far down. However, he’s only 1-for-19 (.053) so far with Billings, so he’s off to a rough start. DOB: 5/29/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

34. Forest Cannon, RHP, UC Santa Barbara, #1019 overall, 6’3’’/190: I was honestly surprised to see Cannon sign, as he was a draft-eligible sophomore with pretty much no draft stock. However, it seems he decided that it was now or never for his pro career, and the Reds inked him quickly. There’s some good size here, but not much current stuff. He’s 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA in 10.1 innings with Billings, though he hasn’t pitched since July 24. DOB: 6/5/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

35. Oliver Santos, 3B, South Carolina JC-Salkehatchie, #1049 overall, 6’0’’/186: A JUCO sophomore, there’s also not much to report here. Santos is already 22, so we’re once again looking at roster filler. He’s hitting .245/.365/.340 in 53 ABs so far in the GCL. DOB: 2/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

36. Chris Burleson, SS, Southern Maine, #1079 overall, 5’11’’/190: I don’t know anything about Burleson, and even though it’s reported that he’s signed, he has yet to appear in a game. DOB: 4/18/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Dayne Read, OF, Chipola JC (FL), #1109 overall, 5’11’’/185: Read’s a JUCO freshman who stood more to gain from staying in close and not signing. He’ll be 21 in next year’s draft as a JUCO sophomore. DOB: 12/31/88. Commitment: None.

38. Tommy Nurre, 1B, Miami (Ohio), #1139 overall, 6’3’’/235: Nurre was a 38th rounder of the Dodgers a year ago as a junior, and he went in the same round this year. He’s still only 21, though, and his size is good. However, he’s got big weaknesses, causing him to fall this far. He signed quickly and is hitting .274/.346/.425 in 73 ABs with Billings. DOB: 12/11/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

39. Paul Barton, RHP, Kwalikum SS (BC), #1169 overall, 6’3’’/197: Much like Monster, I thought Barton would go much higher. However, he’s still underdeveloped even when compared to other preps, though his projectability is good. He could turn into a higher pick in next year’s draft after a year of JUCO ball. DOB: 2/17/91. Commitment: New Mexico JC.

40. Michael Robertson, OF, Bellevue CC (WA), #1199 overall, 6’2’’/190: Robertson was a JUCO freshman that earned good reviews for his work ethic, but I don’t see him turning into a pro player just yet. He’ll be 20 as a JUCO sophomore for next year’s draft, and he could go twenty rounds higher then. DOB: 4/8/90. Commitment: None.

41. Jake Wiley, RHP, Marist, #1229 overall, 6’1’’/195: Wiley was an unheralded senior at Marist, and he’s a middle reliever at best, though he doesn’t even have that much current stuff. He signed quickly as roster filler, and after posting a 4.60 ERA in 15.2 innings in the GCL, he’s allowed just an earned run in 3 innings with Billings. DOB: 10/4/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

42. Blair Carson, RHP, Anderson (SC), #1259 overall, 6’2’’/193: Carson was a senior outfielder who was surprisingly taken as a pitcher by the Reds. He didn’t really have a future in the outfield, so many there’s some upside on the mound. He went 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings over four starts in the GCL, and is 0-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 23.1 innings so far with Billings. DOB: 10/3/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

43. Ricky Bowen, RHP, Mississippi State, #1289 overall, 6’3’’/185: This is a re-draft, as Bowen was picked by the Reds a year ago as a JUCO sophomore in the 38th round. There might be some potential here, but probably not much. Bowen hasn’t allowed an earned run in 3.2 innings with Billings so far. DOB: 8/6/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

44. Jaron Shepherd, OF, Navarro JC (TX), #1319 overall, 6’1’’/175: Shepherd was a 17th rounder of the Pirates a year ago at Navarro, and he fell this year due to both performance issues and a commitment to an SEC school. A lefty hitter, Shepherd has some potential to play right away, which will move him up boards for when he’s eligible again next year. DOB: 10/30/88. Commitment: Mississippi State.

45. Brian Adams, OF, South Forsythe HS (GA), #1349 overall, 6’4’’/210: Adams is actually more of a football player than a baseball player, and his commitment to school is for that sport. He’s a big kid with big potential, but it will be tough for him to realize it when he’s playing another sport. He won’t be signing this week. DOB: 2/28/91. Commitment: Kentucky.

46. Tim Dunn, RHP, Trevecca Nazarene (TN), #1379 overall, 6’2’’/215: Dunn has decent pro size, but he’s still young, not turning 21 until next week. He’ll probably return to school for his senior season, and he might be a decent senior sign next year. DOB: 8/19/88.

47. Jason Hampton, RHP, Rocklin HS (CA), #1409 overall, 6’4’’/225: A big kid, Hampton’s also a hitting prospect. Remember his name for a few years down the road. He won’t be signing. DOB: 12/19/90. Commitment: Cal State Sacramento.

48. Kenny Swab, C, Young Harris JC (GA), #1439 overall, 6’2’’/213: A teammate of Lowery’s, Swab has a strong college commitment, though his skills aren’t of pro caliber yet. I expect him to go to school. DOB: 8/20/88. Commitment: Virginia.

49. Darion Hamilton, OF, Taylorsville HS (MS), #1469 overall, 6’3’’/180: Yes, this Hamilton is related to second rounder Billy Hamilton. Darion is Billy’s cousin, and they played as teammates in high school. There’s not much to say about Darion except that he was probably drafted as a courtesy to Billy. He won’t be signing. DOB: 11/20/89. Commitment: Jones County JC (MS).

50. Chris Page, 1B, Genessee CC (NY), #1499 overall, 6’5’’/240: Page is an unknown, but his size looks intriguing. I haven’t even been able to find a college commitment for him, and he’s already 21 now. DOB: 7/20/88. Commitment: Unknown.

At first glance, I love this draft. It’s not in the territory of the Giants’, but I expect it to be a top ten draft when signing day comes and goes next week. I’ve already mentioned I’m a big Mike Leake fan, and I’m probably higher on Boxberger than most. While there’s plenty of risk in this draft with the likes of Billy Hamilton, Daniel Tuttle, Juan Silva, Tucker Barnhart, and Jacob Johnson, there’s also plenty of safer picks to accompany those boom-or-bust type of players. It’s this type of balance that I look for when grading drafts, as too much of one or the other can lead to either a low-ceiling or low-floor farm system, which no team wants. Balancing out your Hamiltons has to be your Leakes and Boxbergers, Josephs and Fellhauers. That’s what teams need to do in order to build a farm system for both supplying the Major League club and for providing trading pieces to acquire other talent. Players like a Daniel Tuttle may look extremely appetizing in, say, December 2010, when he’s probably put up some very good numbers in low-A ball, but most of what will determine his success is his ability to adjust against better hitters in AA ball and above. That’s where the high-upside players come in as trade chips, as Tuttle will still be very attractive at those winter meetings, whereas he might still be in that boom or bust phase, but he can bring in talent that’s better than the $200K the Reds just invested in him in the past month or so. Great mix here that should be encouraging for Red fans.

Looking at the Reds’ draft from a monetary standpoint, the Reds should be in good shape to sign both Leake and Boxberger without a problem. Leake’s probably holding out for last year’s slot money ($2.27MM), and I’m guessing Boxberger is, too ($877,000). That would put the Reds at somewhere close to $5.5 million in total bonuses given out, a healthy amount, though not at the top of the league. Without a solid mix of high-ceiling and high-floor talent, though, they probably would be under spending compared to most teams who pay more for their draft picks. However, the Reds generally don’t go over slot for many of their picks, and if they do, it’s for a relatively small amount. Tuttle and Barnhart represent the only true over slot deals given out by the Reds so far, though Leake and Boxberger will probably join that group. Considering how much I like this draft, I’m surprised at how few over slot players they needed to put together such a group.

Now on to the grading. Like I said before, I like this draft quite a bit, though it’s below the Giants’ draft, the team that has my highest-rated draft so far. The Reds will be adding two college starting prospects in Leake and Boxberger, two prep starting pitching prospects in Tuttle and Johnson, potential shutdown relievers in Joseph and Pearl, as well as a possible swingman in Serrano. Add to that a potential top-flight shortstop, a platoon catcher in Fleury and a possible starter in Barnhart, and a college outfielder, JUCO outfielder, and prep Puerto Rican outfielder, and you have yourself great depth at each spot. Dave Stewart also helps me grade up this draft a bit, as he could be a Major League hitter in the future. They loaded up their first base depth in later rounds, mixed them with some middle relief prospects, and the overall combination is one of the more solid drafts for them in recent memory. So, I have to grade this draft right up there near the top, but one grading step below the Giants, who still hold my top draft class ranking for now.


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