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Reds have more wiggle room with 2018 Draft

Addition of Minor League team means club can sign more players
MLB.com @m_sheldon

DENVER -- Getting selections near the very top of the first round of the MLB Draft the past couple of years has enabled the Reds to zero in on taking not just the player available, but the best player they wanted without seeing him go off their board to another organization.

After picking No. 2 overall the past two years, the Reds will pick fifth in the 2018 MLB Draft.

DENVER -- Getting selections near the very top of the first round of the MLB Draft the past couple of years has enabled the Reds to zero in on taking not just the player available, but the best player they wanted without seeing him go off their board to another organization.

After picking No. 2 overall the past two years, the Reds will pick fifth in the 2018 MLB Draft.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"You wish we were picking lower," senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley said. "That means our big league team had played a little better. But you have a better idea about who you are scouting."

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET today. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 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, with a preview show beginning 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, projected top picks 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.

In about 50 words
As the Reds endure a frustrating season when they thought their rebuild was nearing the end, the organization can especially ill-afford any first-round misses. Some of their recent picks -- taken later in the first round -- such as pitchers Nick Howard and Nick Travieso haven't materialized, mostly because of injuries.

"You try hard to hit on all of them," Buckley said.

The scoop
This is Buckley's 13th year of leading the Reds' scouting heading into the Draft. He also oversees the signing of the players once they are selected. That could be made easier this year with the addition of a third Rookie-level team in Greeneville, Tenn. The decision to add another player development team was pushed by the late Kevin Towers, along with president of baseball operations Dick Williams and senior advisor Walt Jocketty.

Video: Mayo breaks down Top 200 Draft prospects

"What that means is we'll be able to sign probably 15-18 more players from the Draft," Buckley said. "Just through numbers, that helps. Many of your bigger, more financially strong teams all have three rookie level teams. It's always hard to tell a scout that we don't have a spot to play the kid, somebody who wanted to sign a player. Now that won't occur again. That's a real commitment from ownership and the front office."

First-round buzz
The Reds, of course, will be somewhat at the mercy of the four clubs picking before them. But they have scouted all of the top Draft prospects and have been connected to Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart and University of Florida right-handed pitcher Brady Singer. Callis predicted both players will be taken before Cincinnati, which could have the club taking second baseman Nick Madrigal from Oregon State, who is considered the best hitter in the Draft. The Reds have also scouted Glendale, Ariz., prep lefty pitcher Matthew Liberatore and University of Florida catcher Jonathan India.

Video: Draft Report: Nick Madrigal, College 2B/SS

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 $10,900,400 to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $5,946,400 to spend on their first-round selection.

Shopping list
The Reds came into this season with the eighth-best farm system in baseball according to MLB.com. Under Buckley, the organization has always taken the best available player on its board, regardless of the round and position of the player. Of course, finding as many polished pitchers as possible would be viewed as a priority.

Trend watch
In recent years, the Reds have leaned toward selecting college players because the signing bonus demands are usually less than that of high school prospects who have college as an alternative to turning professional. development time is also shorter for most college prospects. However, the Reds only took slightly more college players in the 2017 Draft: 23 of their 41 picks were from the collegiate ranks.

Rising fast
Outfielder Taylor Trammell, the 35th overall pick taken in the Competitive Balance A round in 2016, is already the No. 3 ranked prospect in the organization and No. 39 in baseball, according to MLBPipeline. Trammell, 20, is currently with Class A Advanced Daytona and has a big league ETA of 2020.

Video: Top Prospects: Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds

Cinderella story
Shed Long, taken as a catcher in the 12th round in the 2013 Draft, is now a left-handed-hitting second baseman who could be in the big leagues later this season. Long, ranked No. 5 in the organization by MLBPipeline, didn't break out as a true prospect until '16 and has hit well at each level since. The 22-year-old is currently at Double-A Pensacola.

Video: Top Prospects: Shed Long, 2B, Reds

In the show
Of the players on the current 40-man roster, the following were taken by the Reds via the Draft: Homer Bailey (2004, first round), Tucker Barnhart (2009, 10th round), Alex Blandino (2014, first round), Phillip Ervin (2013, first round), Amir Garrett (2011, 22nd round), Billy Hamilton (2009, second round), Shed Long (2013, 12th round), Jose Lopez (2014, sixth round), Michael Lorenzen (2013, round 1A), Tyler Mahle (2013, seventh round), Tanner Rainey (2015, Comp. Balance Round B), Sal Romano (2011, 23rd round), Jackson Stephens (2012, 18th round), Robert Stephenson (2011, first round), Joey Votto (2002, second round), Zack Weiss (2013, sixth round), Jesse Winker (2012, round 1A).

Recent top picks
2017: Hunter Greene, RHP, Class A Dayton
2016: Nick Senzel, 3B/2B, Triple-A Louisville
2015: Tyler Stephenson, C, Class A Advanced Daytona
2014: Nick Howard, RHP, Class A Advanced Daytona
2013: Phillip Ervin, OF, Triple-A Louisville

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 and listen to his podcast.

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