Cincinnati Reds should target undrafted first base prospect Niko Kavades

CHAPEL HILL, NC - MARCH 08: Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - MARCH 08: Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

The Reds should reach out to undrafted free agent Niko Kavades.

With the 2020 MLB Draft shortened to just five rounds, several talented players went undrafted. Among them are Notre Dame slugger Niko Kavades. With the absence of much power in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, and no foreseeable successor to Joey Votto at first base, Kavades should be on Dick Williams and Nick Krall’s radar.

If you’re looking for a power-hitting first base prospect, look no further than Niko Kavades. In the shortened college baseball season, Kavades led the Atlantic Coast Conference in home runs with seven in just 13 games.

At 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, Niko Kavadas profiles well for first base. Though he’s played the outfield and third base during his college career, the lack of athleticism would see him as prime candidate to play first base or, at the very least, become a quality designated hitter. For those who don’t like the idea of drafting a hitter, the universal DH is coming to the National League. Book it!

In most years, the production seen from Kavadas would’ve been enough to see him drafted in Round 2 or 3. However, with the coronavirus pandemic putting an end to the college baseball season and shortening the 2020 MLB Draft from 40 to just five rounds, teams were a bit more willing to take a risk on high-risk/ high-reward prospects.

We saw the Cincinnati Reds do that with the likes of Mac Wainwright, Joe Boyle and even Jackson Miller. Those three players represent the front office playing the long-game, knowing they’re unlikely to see any of those players make it to the big leagues within the next few years.

Landing a player like Kavadas would represent a similar approach. Though he’s a more mature hitter than most, Joey Votto is going nowhere anytime soon. The Reds first baseman has four more years remaining on his current contract. However, if Niko Kavadas could develop in the minors over the next few years, Cincinnati may have Votto’s heir-apparent waiting in the wings.

Next. Where will the Reds taxi squad play?

The maximum that any team, including the Reds, can offer to any undrafted free agent is $20,000. That means that no team will be given an advantage during negotiations. It boils down to where each free agent “wants” to play. If Niko Kavadas feels that he could be Joey Votto’s eventually successor, perhaps he makes the decision to sign with the Cincinnati Reds.