Draft Day Approaching

Over the past couple of years, the MLB Draft has received a little more attention. The MLB does not garner near the attention of the NFL or NBA drafts, but it is slowly evolving into more of an event. This year, the draft will once again be live streaming on mlb.com beginning at 6 PM ET with a preview followed at 7 PM ET for the first round of the actual draft.

With the draft come the mocks…and with the mocks come many sites with their own mock…and with all the mocks comes the ability (or frustration) in trying to determine who the Reds might take. I have checked out a few of the mocks. I’m liking what I’m reading, too. Well, that should n’t be surprising since this year’s draft is considered as one of the deepest ever. Many arms to be had, that’s for sure.

So, what does that mean for the Reds? Many tough choices to make. And here a re 11 players that could becoma a Red with the 27th overall pick Monday night.

It depends on which direction the Reds choose to go. Pitching is almost always need no matter how much depth you think you have. I feel the same with middle infielders, too. That’s because you never know when one could develop into a good corner infielder especially if there’s some pop in the bat. The one position people might say where the Reds do NOT lack is catcher. And those that do not outwardly say such, would tend to agree.

So…which way should the Reds go? Not sure myself, but here are 11 players that have been linked to the Reds in the mock drafts I have read. After we learn a bit about them, we’ll review the pick.

1. Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon
What strikes me about seeing Anderson’s name with Cincinnati beside it is this. For some unexplained reason, many that are doing these mocks believe Anderson might already be off the board by the time the Reds pick. It will depend on what other teams do further up in the round, of course. For multiple decades Oregon did not have a baseball program. In 2009, it was resurrected and Anderson was one of the first to head to Eugene. Pretty smart move as Anderson has been the team’s beacon. He possesses a deceptive delivery to go along with a crafty approach to the game. His accuracy is stunning and well as his mound presence. He can hit the low to mid 90’s with his four-seamer and has the ability to work off of that his a two-seamer with a respectable cutting action.

2. Javier Baez, SS, Arlington County HS (Fla.)
Baez is another that most likely will be gone by the time #27 rolls around, but there’s always a chance and a couple mocks do have the Reds nabbing him. Remember what I said about middle infielders developing into corner infielders? The same might be said for Baez as he has played some third. THe main reason is because of his broad upper body, but don’t equate that to being slow. He’s not the fastest player by any means, but Baez does posses a quick first step when on defense. And his defense is just fine whether he’s at third or short. The bat is very nice as well as he can hit the ball with pop to all fields. He might be the most balanced infielder (ofense and defense) in the draft.

3. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State
Chafin could be a high-risk, high reward kind of guy. The risk might be the he missed all of his sophomore season as he covered from Tommy John surgery. Add the fact that he missed a start this past season due to arm fatigue and you have a couple risks right there. The reward might be worth it. When he started at KSU, he was the team’s closer as a freshman and impressed immediately. He was converted to a starter this season and has shown the ability (despite the fatigue) to throw 100+ pitches in a game more than once this season. The fact that Chafin routinely hits the mid 90’s doesn’t hurt his stock either.

4. Grayson Garvin, LHP, Vanderbilt
A lefty from Vandy that had a great season. Where have we heard that before? Some guy named David Price that was the #1 overall pick by the Rays. While Garvin does not possess the stuff that Price did, he can more than hold his own. He doesn’t bring the heat like Price, but Garvin does have the ability to place his pitches well and simply carve up the opponent. In fact, Garvin became the first Vandy pitcher to make the Louisville Slugger All-American Team since Price. He was also named the SEC Pitcher of the Year and All-SEC. Another bonus is his stature of being 6-6.

5. Brain Goodwin, OF, Miami Dade College
Goodwin is a transfer from North Carolina. There are conflicting about what led to Goodwin’s transfer. I read he was suspended for academics and I also read that the suspension was due to university policy. They could be same thing for all I know. I also know that many scouts view Goodwin as among the top athletes in this year’s draft. He has a good bat with good pop, good speed, and good range in the outfield. There isn’t much he doesn’t due well. Goodwin did suffer a bit at the plate due to a hamstring issue this past season.

6. Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina
If there’s one thing you should know about Coastal Carolina, it’s that they are evolving into a well respected program. Meo helped the cause this past season. With a devastating combination of a fastball (92-96 mph) and slider (87-89 mph), Meo constructed the first ever no-hitter in Big South tournament history. There are only a couple of issues here: control land command of his pitches and lack of a quality third pitch.

7. Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina
Michael has done everything he could for his coaches in Chapel Hill. He’s played three different infield position in his three years as a Tar Heel. The only problem for Michael might be convincing scouts that he is a shortstop. He does have the arm for it, but a few may believe he plays above his ability and second might be a better place for him. But there is no question concerning his bat. As a switch-hitter, he can hit for average and provide a bit of pop. Michael does have a little more power from the right, but he’s more of a complete hitter from the left.

8. Brandon Nimmo, OF, Wyoming (HS)
Nimmo’s rise into the first round is as unusual as you will ever read. He doesn’t play high school baseball, but he has a good reason. His school does not field a team. Nimmo has been gaining exposure by playing Legion ball, and has he ever been getting noticed by scouts. He might be the most complete outfielder in this draft class. Speed? 35-for-35 in steals is a slight indication. And he does have a bit of power as well. His arm in the outfield is average…at worst. Some think his arm is a plus-arm. He’s gotten a couple of comparisons to former Red Paul O’Neill…O’Neill with speed, that is.

9. Josh Osich, LHP, Oregon State
I referred to Andrew Chafin as high-risk, high-reward. Put Osich in that column as well, Maybe even more so that Chafin. Osich is also one that has had Tommy John surgery. He has a little more power in his pitches than Chafin (He has hit 98 on the gun), but there could be an even greater risk and it might all be a little on the psych side: Osich had never won a college game until this past season. Of course, he did not pitch last season as he was recovering from TJ, but he didn’t notch a single victory his freshman year either. Now that he’s tasted wins, would that make he more hungry?

10. Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS (Calif.)
While I have yet to see Owens name attached to the Reds,I have seen his name appear in slots ahead of Cincy and slots after Concy, so I did a little digging about him. Like Grayson Garvin, Owens is on the tall side at 6-7. That can be a little intimidating especially to high school players. Owens has three pitches and can throw all for strikes…consistently, too. His fastball isn’t overpowering (low 90’s), but it’s extremely accurate. Offset the placement of a low 90’s fastball with a mid 70’s curve and low 80’s changeup and it provides a healthy assortment. Owens is very instinctive and already show a bit of an MLB pitcher’s maturation. Impressive for a HS arm and mind.

11. Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O’Dowd HS (Calif.)
His younger brother, Tyson, was a second round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2009. One concern about his brother was his delivery was short and too compact for a pitcher. There are no issues with the younger Ross. Scouts look at his easy and smooth release along with a polished looking delivery and are content that mechanics will not be an issue. Having a three-quarters release doesn’t hurt when it comes to the tremendous movement and tilt on his slider (low 90’s) that goes along with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball. There is very little movement on his fastball (a slight concern), but the placement is extraordinary.

So…where does this all lead us?

For starters, if Anderson is there at #27, I do think he’s the direction the Reds go. If both Anderson and Michael are available, it’s too close to call. I have a feeling that both, along with Baez, could already be off the board. That leads me to the outfielders as odd as that seems. I don’t think either Goodwin or Nimmo is a bad pick either. If the Reds want to stay with an arm, Chafin or Owens could be the guy. The last three first round draft picks have been college guys. But Owens in a bit interesting in that he has signed on at Miami (FLA), the same school that provided two of the last three first round picks for Cincinnati. Call it a stretch…

As deep as the arms are in this draft, I do not think any of the other arms are bad choices. There is a wild card I want to throw in here…

12. Matt Purke, LHP, TCU
He has dealt with arm issues this season and there is also a question of signability. The Texas Rangers took him in the first round (#14 overall) in ’09, but Purke chose TCU. A low-to-mid 90’s fastball, plus curve, and average slider and change make four pitches in his arsenal. I’m guessing if he doesn’t improve his position or contract situation, he’ll either return to TCU for his junior season…and hope to be a higher pick…in 2012. While I doubt that Purke will be willing to “settle” for be selected this low in the draft, you simply don’t know. I think this is a huge stretch to think that either Purke will still be on the board and/or he would entertain signing beyond the top 10.

Well, there you have it. Some guys to look out for on Monday evening.