Reds Draft Preview: What to Do at Two (OF)


In the second part of our Reds Draft Preview, we are going to step away from the starting pitchers (which we previewed here) and focus on the OF candidates that the team could be looking to land with the #2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.

There seem to be conflicting ideas about what the organization should do with this pick, as some believe you take the BPA (best player available) no matter what the position is, while others feel that the team has enough young pitching and needs to focus on other positions. While says the top four in this year’s draft should all be starting pitchers (Groome, Puk, Hansen and Pint), the following five players all play the outfield.

Here’s a look at this group of five, sorted by where they rank on’s mock draft rankings, with a scouting report by us and

5) Corey Ray, OF, Louisville

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55, Power: 50, Run: 60, Arm: 50, Field: 55, Overall: 55

While many of our followers have become enamored with draft prospect Blake Rutherford, it is Ray that tops the list as the draft’s best OF prospect. Previously drafted in the 33rd round by the Seattle Mariners, Ray has blown teams away with his assortment of tools–including what looks to be “plus” speed and an arm that can make all of the outfield throws imaginable. has the following to say about the athletic lefty:

Ray ranks as the Draft’s top position prospect entering 2016 because he offers the best combination of hitting and athletic ability. 

A 33rd-round pick by the Mariners as an Illinois high schooler in 2013, Ray broke out as a sophomore last spring and continued to star during the summer, leading the U.S. collegiate national team in OPS (.971), extra-base hits (nine) and steals (11). He has a quick left-handed bat and makes consistent hard contact, giving him the potential to hit for both power and average. Ray uses the entire field well, but he could stand to tighten his strike zone.

Ray has plus speed and knows how to use it well on the bases. Though he spent most of his first two seasons at Louisville in right field, he runs well enough to play center field and looked good there in fall practice. Ray has the offensive production and arm to profile at all three outfield positions, and obviously he’d offer the most value if he can play in the middle.

6) Buddy Reed, OF, Florida

Scouting Grades: Hit: 50, Power: 50, Run: 70, Arm: 60, Field: 60, Overall: 55

The switch-hitting speedster looks the part of one of this year’s most dynamic players, as he looks the part of a potential four-or-five tool player if he can learn to make better adjustments at the plate. What we do know is this kid can run for days, making him a huge base-stealing threat in the very near future. At 6’4″ and about 185-190 lbs. he could easily add some bulk to help him launch the ball better, but he looks the part of an everyday CF as he stands right now. raves about his raw tools in saying:

One of the best all-around athletes in the class, certainly among college hitters, Reed has the chance to be a dynamic performer on both sides of the ball. Just how much he hits will ultimately determine his stock.

The switch-hitter has a tall, athletic build with the potential to do a lot of things well on the baseball field. A multi-sport standout in the Rhode Island high school ranks, Reed has plus speed that works on both sides of the ball. He should be a base-stealing threat and can definitely stay in center field long-term. It’s Reed’s bat that needs the most work. He does tend to make contact from both sides of the plate, but his setup and approach are inconsistent. Reed has strength, and he should grow into more, though his lack of extension from the left side could keep him from showing any power that way.

If Reed can refine his approach at the plate and show a more consistent ability to hit, more teams at the top of the Draft will be firmer believers in his ability to tap into his considerable raw tools.

7) Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep.

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55, Power: 55, Run: 60, Arm: 50, Field: 50, Overall: 55

Rutherford, currently a high school senior, may be among the biggest names in this year’s draft; however, comparisons to current major-leaguers like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have slowed down a lot recently. We still think the left-handed batting Rutherford is an attractive chip, as he seems to do every well, even if there is nothing he does at an “excellent” level. also praises his power profile here:

The left-handed-hitting outfielder from the Southern California high school ranks can do just about everything on a baseball field. Rutherford has the chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average raw power. He’ll record average to plus run times, and his speed helps him on the basepaths and in the outfield. Rutherford is a solid defender in the outfield, though it remains to be seen if he will stick in center field long-term or move over to a corner. The good news is his bat should profile just fine if that move does happen.

Perhaps the only knock on Rutherford is that he will be 19 when the Draft comes, a year older than most high schoolers. That shouldn’t deter a team in the first round from considering Rutherford’s ability to be an everyday player, if not more, at the big league level.

8) Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer

Scouting Grades: Hit: 50, Power: 60, Run: 50, Arm: 50, Field: 50, Overall: 55

Meet the hottest new prospect on the block–Kyle Lewis. Lewis has the kind of power that brings thunder when he squares up on a ball, which is evident by the numbers he put up in the Southern Conference this year. When the words “Triple Crown” are thrown around you know a kid can hit. says Lewis “looks like a right-handed version of Jason Heyward” and says he may even “deliver more power” than the Cubs OF. They also added the following information to his scouting report:

Lewis may have boosted his stock more in the past year than any college prospect for the 2016 Draft. Undrafted out of a Georgia high school in 2013, he played sparingly as a freshman before nearly winning the Southern Conference Triple Crown and then starring in the Cape Cod League in 2015. Lewis is on course to become the first first-rounder ever from Mercer.

With his leverage and bat speed, he has easy pop to all fields. Lewis’ swing is busier than most scouts would like, but his approach is generally sound.

Lewis is a fringy runner out of the batter’s box, but he has solid speed once he gets going. Some evaluators think he has a chance to stay in center field, but most believe he’s destined for right field, where he could develop into a serious home run threat, with average or better tools across the board.

9) Bryan Reynolds, OF, Vanderbilt

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55, Power: 45, Run: 55, Arm: 40, Field: 55, Overall: 55

“A jack of all trades, but a master of none” is the perfect way to describe the switch-hitting OF from Vandy, as he projects into a future 15-20 HR guy in the Major Leagues; however, he did hit .338 and slug .480 as a freshman for the 2014 National Champion Commodores. And while “well-rounded” may seem like a rather boring label to place on a top-10 type talent entering a draft, teams could obviously do a lot worse than Reynolds–a gap-to-gap hitter with a little bit of speed and a great approach at the plate. has this to add about Reynolds:

Undrafted and relatively unheralded as a Tennessee high schooler, Reynolds led Vanderbilt’s 2014 national championship team in hitting (.338) and slugging (.480) as a freshman. He encored with a strong sophomore season as the Commodores finished second at the 2015 College World Series, and he also has bolstered his resume by performing well in stints with the U.S. collegiate national team and in the Cape Cod League.

Reynolds doesn’t have a standout tool, but his solid hitting ability, speed and defensive skills make him one of the more well-rounded college position players in the 2016 Draft class. A switch-hitter, he has a smooth swing and feel for the barrel from both sides. Reynolds’ mature gap-to-gap approach and penchant for drawing walks stand out more than his pop.

While Reynolds isn’t a burner, he shows aptitude for stealing bases, and he uses good jumps and routes to cover plenty of ground in center field. If he has to move to an outfield corner, his below-average arm likely will relegate him to left field.

And there are your next level prospects for the Reds to consider at #2 overall. Do you think these players are too big of a reach to consider at #2 overall, or do you think drafting a position player is a bigger need than a pitcher (despite the pitchers rating out higher)?