Reds close out Day 1 with Rainey at No. 71
CINCINNATI -- With their competitive balance B selection, and pick No. 71 overall in the 2015 Draft, the Reds took right-handed pitcher Tanner Rainey from the University of West Alabama on Monday.
Rainey was the Reds' third selection of the evening. The first-round pick (No. 11 overall) was catcher Tyler Stephenson from Kennesaw Mountain High School in Georgia. In round 2 (49th overall), right-handed pitcher Antonio Santillan was taken from Seguin High School in Texas.
The Draft continues on Tuesday. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
A 22-year-old reliever and first baseman for West Alabama, a Division Two school, Rainey was 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA and nine saves in 26 appearances. In 28 1/3 innings, he allowed five earned runs, 11 hits and 14 walks with 50 strikeouts. MLB.com scouting reports show that his fastball tops out at 97 mph. He is listed at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds.
Following a trend they've established in recent years, the Reds plan on developing Rainey as a starting pitcher and not as a reliever. It was something they did with first-round compensation pick Michael Lorenzen in 2013. Lorenzen was a college closer and center fielder and is now a rookie in the Reds' rotation.
"It's like Lorenzen because they could get more mileage out of him that way [in college as a reliever]," Reds senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley said. "A lot of times in college, a guy isn't going to be what he's going to be when we bring him over here. He could have easily been a starting pitcher. He's got four pitches."
As a hitter, Rainey batted a team-leading .386 with 19 home runs. Like the earlier picks in Stephenson and Santillan, Buckley and his scouts were drawn to Rainey's athleticism.
"We always try to do that," Buckley said. "Sunday we were all here watching [the Reds vs. Padres]. Mike Leake pinch-ran. Lorenzen took a couple of swings up there. It helps when you're more athletic like that. We're projecting down the road.
"One thing you always see, we start with the athlete, whether it's [Aroldis] Chapman or [Raisel] Iglesias. We're all in this together. Most of our pitchers are very athletic."