On the evening of Thursday, June 5, the much-ballyhooed Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft will take place.
The Cincinnati Reds will be selecting 19th overall, their only selection in the first round.
As is common knowledge, the MLB Draft is a virtual crapshoot. Players from all different levels (high school, junior college, low-level college, major college) either pan out and become stars, or they fall flat on their face and flop.
Even though they passed on Derek Jeter (and countless others along the way), the Reds have had a decent run of success when selecting in the first round. (We will only be looking at true first-rounders, not supplemental picks, for arguments sake.)
2013: Phillip Ervin – OF: Fans are already clamoring for the immensely talented young outfielder to make his ascension up through the minor league ranks and save the Reds, a la Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. While his game may not even compare with the saviors of baseball, Ervin is unbelievably gifted and by all means should one day become an impact player in the show.
2012: Nick Travieso – P: Although he has hit a minor bump in the road on his progress, it is important to remember this is just year two since Travieso was selected. With a fastball brimming near the 100 MPH mark, the former selection out of high school is still only 20 years old.
2011: Robert Stephenson – P: While Stephenson is yet to affect a single game at the big league level, his presence looms. Selected before the season by Dan Szymborski of ESPN.com to have a “Michael Wacha-like” impact, although Stephenson has not yet appeared in a Reds uniform, the wait may not be far out.
2010: Yasmani Grandal – C: His initial claim to fame was being swapped as part of a mega-deal that sent a boatload of Reds’ prospects to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Mat Latos. Upon his arrival in San Diego, he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, throwing a wrench into the Padres’ plans to make him their everyday catcher.
2009: Mike Leake – P: An Arizona State alum, Leake needed no time down on the farm before jumping to the pros, making the roster out of Spring Training in 2010. Over the past five seasons, he has transformed into a solid backend of the rotation pitcher, to a viable frontend, go-to man.
2008: Yonder Alonso – 1B: Also a part of the deal that brought Mat Latos to the Queen City from San Diego, Alonso was the key cog. Lost in the shuffle of an overcrowded roster, it was a difficult decision, but they parted ways with Alonso. Since arriving in the cavernous Petco Park out in San Diego, Alonso has seen a sharp decline in production. Shall he ever escape the unfriendly confines of that park; he has all the tools to become a legitimate, middle-of-the-lineup force.
2007: Devin Mesoraco – C: Finally given the “keys to the Benz” so to speak, Mesoraco is the primary catcher for the first time in his career. Clearly selecting correctly when choosing between Mesoraco and Grandal, the Punxsutawney native has ascended to virtual stardom quicker than many expected. Seemingly, Mesoraco will be a force in the middle of the Reds’ order for years to come.
2006: Drew Stubbs – OF: An unbelievably gifted young player, things have just never panned out for Stubbs. Before Billy Hamilton crash-landed on the scene, Stubbs may have been the fastest man in the game. Supremely talented defensively in any of the three outfield positions, and with great quickness, his downfall has always been his strikeouts and his unwillingness to drop down bunts. Now a role player for the Colorado Rockies, Stubbs is not so much a flop as a calculated risk that just never panned out.
2005: Jay Bruce – OF: The cream of the crop when it comes to the Reds’ first-round selections in the past decade. A franchise cornerstone, the Reds hit the jackpot when selecting Bruce out of high school in Beaumont, Texas. On pace to go down as possibly the best right fielder to ever play for the franchise, an absolute two thumbs up worthy selection.
2004: Homer Bailey – P: Of all the picks in the past decade, of any round, Bailey may be the most rewarding, and frustrating one at the same time. Incredibly close to being swapped for multiple players throughout his career, Bailey has remained a Red, and seems poised to nearly finish his career in Cincinnati. He has finally gotten his $100 million contract, which may or may not pay off. Bailey’s career has been one of perseverance and adaptation; there is no reason to believe that will not continue.
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Tomorrow afternoon, we will take a look at a few potential prospects the Redlegs may have on their radar as the Draft approaches.
Tell us whom you think the best and worst picks of the past decade have been!