Did the Cincinnati Reds find a diamond-in-the-rough with their 6th-round draft pick?
By Drew Koch
The MLB Draft is a gamble. There's no surefire way to guarantee that you're taking an All-Star first baseman or a future Cy Young Award-winner, or a career minor leaguer.
All these scouts and GMs can do is hope that their tireless efforts pay off in some way shape or form. Oftentimes, it can take three or four years before teams can even begin to see the fruits of their labor. But baseball is hard, folks.
However, every so often a player come along that you just happen to have a good feeling about. Did the Cincinnati Reds find that in with their sixth-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft with the selection of Georgia Tech right-hander Zach Maxwell?
Did the Reds find a diamond-in-the-rough in the MLB Draft?
Ranked as the 200th best prospect in the 2022 MLB Draft by MLB Pipeline, Zach Maxwell is a big-bodied right-handed pitcher who can touch 100 mph on the radar gun. That alone is reason to believe that the 21-year-old can make an impact at the major league level.
Velocity is something that you just can't teach. That said, the Reds coaching staff will have to help teach Maxwell how to command his pitches. Throughout his college career, Maxwell walked 98 of the 464 batters he faced an owned a BB/9 of 9.0. That's just not going to get it done in the big leagues.
But the Reds have a pitcher in the farm system right now who battled similar issues in college. Joe Boyle had an atrocious 12.0 BB/9 during his time at Notre Dame, but the Cincinnati scouts felt so strongly about his upside that he was taken in Round 5 of the 2020 MLB and the right-hander has drastically improved during his first two seasons with the organization.
The Cincinnati Reds will likely bring Zach Maxwell along as a starter at first, but you have to assume that his true calling will be that of a reliever. If the Reds minor league coaching staff can help straighten out his control issues, Cincinnati could have picked up a bullpen weapon in Round 6 of the 2022 MLB Draft.