If the MLB Draft falls the way several experts are predicting, the best position players will be off the board when the Cincinnati Reds make their first selection.
Most draft experts predict that the best position players in this year’s MLB Draft will be off the board when the Cincinnati Reds make their selection with the No. 7 overall pick. So, if the Reds do not select a pitcher with their first pick, could they reach for Baylor catching prospect Shea Langeliers.
Adley Rutschman, catcher from Oregon State, is expected to go No. 1 overall to the Baltimore Orioles. However, Langeliers is no slouch and in many other years would be the first catcher off the board. Very few mock drafts have Langeliers slipping past the Philadelphia Phillies at No. 14.
So, are the Reds better off to take one of the best pitchers with the No. 7 pick or reach for a player like Langeliers or Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop? Nick Lodolo has been projected more prevalently than any other prospect, but his ceiling as a No. 3 starter would give me cause to pause if I were in the room with Dick Williams and Nick Krall.
Yes, Lodolo is left-handed and Scott Moss, currently No. 15 in the Cincinnati Reds’ system according to MLB Pipeline, is the highest rated lefty prospect in the farm system. But, do you really want to spend your first-round pick on a player who doesn’t have an ace’s profile?
Nick Lodolo could rocket through the Reds’ minor league system and likely be in the major leagues two years from now, so he obviously would not be a poor selection. Despite the successful pitching that Cincinnati has received from its starters this season, you can never have enough arms.
Tyler Stephenson‘s spot as the team’s No. 6 prospect could make selecting Langeliers a bit more interesting, but outside of Stephenson, the Cincinnati Reds are thin on top level talent at the backstop position. Chris Okey, currently with the Louisville Bats, is the team’s 23rd ranked prospect according to Reds Pipeline.
It would definitely be a bit of surprise, but not a shock, if the Reds decided to take a flyer on Shea Langeliers. He’s obviously got some pop in his bat as Langeliers smacked 3 home runs and racked up an NCAA Tournament record 11 RBIs in Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
Even after the offensive outburst that fans saw on Saturday, Shea Langeliers is regarded more as an elite-level defensive catcher. The Reds will have plenty of options when their pick rolls around later this evening, but don’t be surprised if Cincinnati steers clear of Lodolo and elects to take a backstop.