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Pitching likely to be Reds' Draft focus

Lefty Lodolo among players on Cincinnati's radar
@m_sheldon
June 3, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Each June, the MLB Draft brings clubs and their fans the hope of finding future homegrown stars. For the Reds, one doesn’t have to look far to find examples -- whether it’s Jesse Winker, Michael Lorenzen or the newest arrival, No. 1 prospect and center fielder Nick Senzel.

CINCINNATI -- Each June, the MLB Draft brings clubs and their fans the hope of finding future homegrown stars. For the Reds, one doesn’t have to look far to find examples -- whether it’s Jesse Winker, Michael Lorenzen or the newest arrival, No. 1 prospect and center fielder Nick Senzel.

The 2019 Draft will take place tonight through Wednesday, beginning with tonight's Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 41 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of rounds 3-10 on Day 2, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, mock Drafts from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here’s how the Draft is shaping up for the Reds, whose first selection is the No. 7 overall pick.

In about 50 words
For the first time since 2006, the Reds have a new director of amateur scouting running their Draft strategy. In his 10th year with the organization, former Midwest crosschecker Brad Meador was promoted to replace Chris Buckley, who was promoted to vice president of player personnel. Senzel, the No. 2 overall selection in '16, is among the picks Meador is credited with signing.

What they’re saying
“Certainly, at the top, you don’t see as many pitchers as we’ve seen in recent years. I think you have a chance to see it more position-heavy at the top. I think the depth comes a little bit later than maybe we’ve seen recently.

“When you’re picking [No.] 2, only one team has to go ahead of you. That work is a lot easier to do, picking second than it is at seventh, because you are trying to figure out what the six teams ahead of you are thinking. You are reacting a little bit more, so it’s tougher.” -- Meador

Who might they take?
Mayo and Callis both project Cincinnati to take left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo out of Texas Christian University. Their top six predicted picks are all position players, and both reporters feel that players like outfielder Riley Greene or first baseman Andrew Vaughn would be the types the Reds would pluck should they fall a few spots.

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the Reds have a pool of $9,528,600 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $5,432,400 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list
Even with a new point person leading their Draft this year, Meador has the same philosophy about making picks. Cincinnati will continue to take what it believes to be the best available player in each round. It doesn’t feel you can set up to fill specific positions, because there is no way to predict where the big league needs will be three to six years down the road. But it’s certainly easy to forecast that the Reds will take a lot of pitchers, because that’s where the most attrition can be in the Minor Leagues.

Trend watch
The Reds have, in recent years, leaned more on taking college players because they are more developed and often have a faster path to the big leagues. They also often command smaller bonus amounts. In 2018, 26 of their 41 picks came from colleges.

Recent top picks
2018: Jonathan India, 3B (Class A Advanced Daytona)
2017: Hunter Greene, RHP (out with Tommy John surgery in 2019)
2016: Nick Senzel, CF/3B/2B (called up to Reds on May 3)
2015: Tyler Stephenson, C (Double-A Chattanooga)
2014: Nick Howard, RHP (Chattanooga)

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.