After taking Nick Senzel in last year’s draft, the Cincinnati Reds earned the second pick in the 2017 draft.
The Cincinnati Reds are not the most difficult team to dissect in draft approach. They lean towards college pitchers and high school hitters with an occasional foray into the college hitters that can get on base. This year the Reds will have their pick from every player, save the one that the Minnesota Twins open the draft with in June.
That makes the most likely player for the Reds to take, Brendan McKay, the first baseman/left-handed pitcher combo out of the University of Louisville who passed on the 2014 draft. He is the number two position player in the draft, but ranks higher than the number one outfielder in power. He also is a starting pitcher which the Reds love.
McKay has won the John Olerud Award each of his first two seasons in Louisville as the best two-way player in college baseball. The Cardinals have had four players taken in the first round in the past two drafts, so McKay will make it five in three years. McKay is a fastball-curve pitcher, which fits nicely in the pro model.
As a batter, he has a smooth, left-handed swing. He lacks foot speed, which could make him a liability defensively. In all likelihood, the Reds would put him on the mound as a first option.
If it appears that Brendan McKay isn’t the pick, who else could the Cincinnati Reds draft second overall?
Hunter Greene out of Notre Dame High School in California is a possibility. Most people see him as a starting pitcher, but a high school right-hander has never gone number 1 overall in the draft. That may be how the hottest pick right now falls to the Reds.
The highest ranked position player in the draft is Jeren Kendall, an outfielder out of Vanderbilt. He is similar to a pair of the Reds’ recent top selection in Nick Senzel and top prospect Jesse Winker. He is a left-handed batter with above average speed who projects as a center or left fielder.
The top rated high school position player is another option for the Reds. Royce Lewis is a right-handed hitter that will remind many Reds’ fans of former outfielder, Reggie Sanders. Like Sanders, Lewis is a shortstop with questionable arm action and shoulders that may outgrow the shortstop position.
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The draft is still months away. A player could catch scouts’ eyes or watch his stock drop. The Reds need to do their best to get someone who will make the majors.