The Cincinnati Reds 2016 MLB Draft selections probably won’t be looked back upon fondly in the history books. Yes, Cincinnati was able to take Nick Senzel with the second-overall pick, and Senzel has shown signs of being a serviceable everyday player and even made his MLB debut almost a year-and-a-half earlier than the first-overall selection Mickey Moniak.
The first round isn’t the problem, it’s the later rounds. Outside of Senzel no player drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft has made their major league debut with the Reds. The only other player who was on track to do so was Taylor Trammell, but he was dealt to the San Diego Padres in the Trevor Bauer deal.
The Reds took catcher Chris Okey out of Clemson with the 43rd overall pick. Okey has found decent success in Double-A, but has yet to really turn heads and has only played nine games at the Triple-A level.
Tucker Barnhart is the team’s the current starter behind the dish, and Tyler Stephenson being the Reds first-round selection the year prior, is the obvious catcher of the future. The Cincinnati Reds made a huge mistake in the 2016 MLB Draft, and it can’t be overlooked.
The Reds could have drafted Pete Alonso in the 2016 MLB Draft.
What Cincinnati has failed to do is plan for the future at first base. The Reds appear completely content with letting Joey Votto ride off into the sunset, compiling some of the worst seasons offensively that he’s ever had.
From the outside looking in, the Cincinnati Reds seems compelled to not make a plan for the post-Votto era at first base, almost as if it would be perceived as admitting fault in handing out the largest contract in team history.
Instead of drafting a catcher in 2016, Cincinnati missed out on drafting the future at first base. Not only the future for the position in Cincinnati, but the future star first baseman for all of baseball in Pete Alonso, who was taken with the 64th overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft. Since making the New York Mets Opening Day roster in 2019, Alonso has been nothing short of spectacular.
Pete Alonso’s rookie season was outstanding.
While only one full season is all to be seen so far out of Pete Alonso at the big league level, that season was one for the record books. One look over at FanGraphs tells the story of how impressive of a rookie season Alonso had.
Alonso slashed .260/.358/.583 and belted 53 home runs while knocking home 120 RB’s. Alonso’s 53 round-trippers led all of Major League Baseball in 2019 and broke the rookie record of 52 set by Aaron Judge. Alonso put on an even more impressive display belting 57 total bombs in the 2019 Home Run Derby.
Pete Alonso could’ve been the heir apparent to Reds first baseman Joey Votto.
Alonso won’t blow fans away defensively. He’s still young and could improve, but he’s one of the worst fielding first basemen in all of baseball. When you bring a player like Alonso on board, it’s not about what he does defensively, it’s what he can do at the plate. The Reds could’ve drafted Alonso, had him under team control for quite some time while allowing Votto groom him at first base.
What Pete Alonso has been able to do at the plate far exceeds anything Joey Votto has done in years. FanGraphs puts Alonso’s dollar WAR value at being worth almost $39M dollars pre year, which much more valuable than Votto who’s value is $9.8M over the last two seasons combined.
With the team Cincinnati was able to put together in 2020, as good as the pitching was, it’s hard to believe with Alonso onboard the Reds would’ve been scoreless in their first playoff appearance since 2013. What could’ve been? That’s hard to say, but it’s quite easy to argue the Reds certainly would’ve made it out of Atlanta. To the World Series perhaps? Nobody will ever really know.
One mistake in a draft five years ago could’ve allowed Cincinnati to strike gold with Pete Alonso. The question still remains; what will the Cincinnati Reds do at first base when life after Joey Votto inevitably happens? Although Alonso wasn’t drafted by Cincinnati, he could be a viable trade target in the future, I hope.