In my last post, I offered up some possible draft targets I thought might be a good fit for the Reds, to shore up lacking depth at a few positions in their minor league system. After one of the more wild MLB Drafts I’ve seen since getting into baseball in 2013/2014, I thought I would take a look at the guys who the Reds selected in the first five rounds and “unpack” their potential for the coming years in their minor league system. Initially I felt that the Reds should use their first round pick to shore up their 1st base depth but when it comes down to it, you can move anyone to 1st base (relatively speaking). Overall I feel that the Reds did about as good as they could given their 12 pick position. Cade Cavalli would’ve been a very interesting arm, but given all the work the Reds have been doing to shore up their pitching development, I feel ok about them passing on that in the first round.
Round 1: Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (12th overall)
The more I read about Hendrick, the more concerned I am that he will end up as a marginally better version of Ibandel Isabel. The power and bat speed are unquestioned; Hendrick will knock balls out of the park (Great American in particular) with ease. Defensively he is more than adequate, with a strong and accurate arm. The worry is the swing and miss and contact issues; more than a few scouts believe his hit tool will settle around average or slightly below average. On the positive side, it’s been reported that Hendrick was actively working on that very issue, making adjustments to his swing during Team USA and prospect league that did bear some fruit. And obviously he hasn’t even entered the Reds minor league system yet, so there’s ample time for him to refine his approach and swing mechanics.
Round 2: Christian Roa, RHP, Texas A&M (48th overall)
At 6’4 Roa has a big frame from which to let loose; there are indications of nice strikeout upside, but also problems with command/control as evidenced by unsightly walk rates across his college career to date, plus only a short track record of starting (48 innings is the most he’s pitched since he arrived at Texas A&M in 2018). I think ultimately he ends up in the bullpen as a middle innings reliever.
Round 2 (competitive balance pick): Jackson Miller, C, JW Mitchell HS (65th overall)
Miller profiles as an average catcher defensively, doable as a starter, with a hit tool that projects as average to slightly above average. There have been hints of power at times, but currently his swing is more conducive to line drives than fly balls.
Round 3: Bryce Bonnin, P, Texas Tech (84th overall)
Everything about Bonnin screams reliever; while he shows a fastball that can reach 97 and a plus slider, with high spin rates on his pitches, he has also struggled mightily with his command/control; his WHIP has ranged from 1.5 to 2 across 3 full seasons of college ball plus 14 innings earlier this year. A big reason for this is that he struggles to repeat his delivery and his mechanics could use some cleaning up, according to scouting reports. With the guidance and help of the new pitching development system the Reds have in place, he could be a back end of the rotation starter if they can streamline his mechanics.
Round 4: Mac Wainwright, OF, St. Edward HS (113th overall)
Mackenzie Wainwright is a big, physical yet speedy outfielder with a strong arm that would play well in right field where he is expected to land eventually; the swing is smooth and efficient and put up impressive exit velocity numbers at the PrepBaseballReport.com Super 60 showcase event. There’s not much to go on yet as far as his overall quality of contact but it seems certain that he has above average to plus power to to tap into.
Round 5: Joe Boyle, P, Notre Dame (143rd overall)
Boyle in some respects reminds me of Trevor Bauer, always tinkering and putting in the time to study his delivery and mechanics to see what he can change and improve, according to this report from Baseball America. Boyle has a history of throwing gas, hitting 101-102 two summers ago, with a promising slider and a circle changeup in development. From what I can gather, it seems Boyle has the makings of a decent middle innings reliever or perhaps an eighth inning set-up man.