The Cincinnati Reds earned the 32nd pick in the 2017 June draft as they appear both poor and bad compared to other teams.
The Cincinnati Reds were so bad in 2016 that they received the second pick in the Rule 5 Draft. They were so bad in 2016 that they got the second pick in the 2017 amateur player draft. Now they are poor and bad enough that they got the second best competitive balance pick in the June draft, too!
Teams become eligible for these picks by being in the bottom ten in either revenue or market size. Market size is an interesting qualification because both the Baltimore Orioles and the Saint Louis Cardinals fall under that umbrella. The Orioles may be more surprising, but their market size shrank when the Washington Nationals joined MLB.
The new collective bargaining agreement has changed this arrangement a little bit. Instead of all of the qualifying teams, 14 this year, getting to pick in a row, some are relegated to after round two. This will alternate every year with 8 teams getting picks after round one next year.
The group after round 1 will precede the compensation picks for free agents that received qualifying offers, but signed with other teams. The exact impact of the new qualifying offer arrangement won’t be known for a year or two. A formula determines the order, not record, so the Reds are actually picking behind the Tampa Bay Rays, a clear sign that baseball isn’t working in that town.
The Cincinnati Reds have an opportunity to a truly talented player with the 32nd pick in the June draft.
Right now, the number 2 prospect in baseball is shortstop/pitcher Hunter Greene from Notre Dame High School in California. His plus arm and high batting ceiling means that he will probably start as a shortstop. His arm will make him a pitcher to most. Knowing the way the Reds do development, he will probably project to them as a right fielder.
One of the players expected to be available around the end of round one is Stanford catcher, Bryce Carter. He projects as the classic defense-first catcher with a knack for calling games. Whether the Reds think that is worth a competitive pick is debatable.
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Just to put an idea of the type of talent that may be available in that range, the Red Sox drafted Jackie Bradley in 2011 with the 40th pick overall. Pitcher Aaron Sanchez came into the league as the 34th pick in the 2010 draft. Of course, Tim Wheeler shows the other side of the coin as the 32nd pick in 2009. He didn’t play organized baseball in 2016. That is the danger of building using competitive balance picks.