How the Reds' second selection in 2024 MLB Draft could greatly influence their first

What will the Reds do with their first-round pick?

Oregon State's Travis Bazzana (37) celebrates after hitting the team's second solo home run
Oregon State's Travis Bazzana (37) celebrates after hitting the team's second solo home run / Kevin Neri/Statesman Journal / USA TODAY

The Cincinnati Reds received a gift during the 2024 MLB Draft lottery. Cincinnati, against incredible odds, landed the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft. The Reds cannot afford to bungle this pick.

It seems rather simple, right? Because of the oftentimes extended development of young baseball prospects, the typical line of thinking is selecting the best player available rather than singling out a specific need. This isn't the NFL where your team allowed 50 sacks in the previous year and the front office adds a pair of offensive linemen with their first two picks.

But in baseball, each draft pick in the first 10 rounds has an assigned value. The Reds have a little over $15 million available in bonus pool. There are occasions when teams will look to draft a player early in the process and sign him to an under-slot deal in order to save money for over-slot deal later. But the Reds seem unlikely to do that in 2024, namely because they don't make a selection again until pick No. 51 in the second round.

The Reds should take Charlie Condon or Travis Bazzana with the No. 2-overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft

This year's draft has two players that are considered to be in a class by themselves — University of Georgia outfielder Charlie Condon and Oregon State infielder Travis Bazzana. Most draft experts expect those two players to go 1-2 this year, but there's always a chance for a surprise.

But with nearly 50 players set to be chosen between the Reds' first two selections, the likelihood of a truly valuable and coveted player sitting their in Round 2 isn't very high. Going under-slot at No. 2 with the intention of offering an over-slot deal to a draftee at No. 51 is foolhardy.

With that in mind, look for the Reds to select a player with the second-overall pick and offer him a full-slot deal. That would mean that Cincinnati should have no need to go after a player like Nick Kurtz, JJ Wetherholt or Brayden Montgomery, and instead just take one of either Condon or Bazzana (whoever Cleveland doesn't pick at No. 1).

Cincinnati could go off script and nab a pitcher like Chase Burns or Hagen Smith, but that would be a bit of a stretch. Look for either Condon or Bazzana to wind up wearing a Reds jersey on July 14th.

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