CINCINNATI -- For a small-market club like the Reds that often avoids big spending on the free-agent market, using the MLB Draft and developing homegrown players is critical for competing.The three-day 2017 Draft ended Wednesday, and the Reds will be watching and teaching their newest crop of 41 players with
CINCINNATI -- For a small-market club like the Reds that often avoids big spending on the free-agent market, using the MLB Draft and developing homegrown players is critical for competing.
The three-day 2017 Draft ended Wednesday, and the Reds will be watching and teaching their newest crop of 41 players with hopes they can follow the path of current homegrown players like Joey Votto, Zack Cozart, Billy Hamilton and Devin Mesoraco, among others.
"We hope it went really well. But it takes four or five years to find out," Reds vice president of amateur scouting Chris Buckley said. "I know this: A lot of work went into it, a lot of people put their hearts and souls into it."
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Cincinnati had the No. 2 overall pick for the second straight year, and used it to take the No. 1 prospect in the Draft, per MLBPipeline.com, in pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene from Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, Calif.). Not only has Greene impressed the nation with his 102-mph fastball, he has already captivated with his poise and maturity.
Buckley and his staff selected high-school players with four of the first five picks, but continued a trend of recent years by taking more collegiate players, with 23 of the 41 players coming from colleges. There were also several junior college players in an effort to balance out the ages of the new prospects.
As is the case for most clubs, including Cincinnati, in every Draft, the Reds stocked up on pitching by taking 25 hurlers. That included five left-handers, most notably third-rounder Jacob Heatherly.
"You always hope for more," Buckley said. "Every team says the same thing. There's just not that many of them, and not that many you project to be starters in the big leagues."
Pitching is paramount in the Draft because of the high attrition rate due to arm injuries. The club also placed a premium on shortstops, taking five of them, not including two-way standout Greene.
During Wednesday's Day 3 of the Draft, which covered rounds 11-40, the Reds took two players that had local ties. In the 29th round, right fielder A.J. Bumpass was taken from the University of Cincinnati. Later, in the 34th round, R.J. Barnes was taken from Sycamore High School (Montgomery, Ohio). Both players participated in the MLB Breakthrough Series showcase in the city, and Barnes was also a product of the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Cincinnati.
"A very athletic kid with a chance to be a good player," Buckley said of Barnes. "He needs to play, and keep working. We were excited about that."
The Draft is over, but the job is not for Buckley and the scouting department.
"We have scouts going to amateur games tomorrow," Buckley said. "You start on 2018, and the ink isn't even dry on most of these contracts. It's a year-round process. We just completed three days, but you really do work 11 1/2 months on putting those three days together. I have a really good group of guys that help me sign these players."
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.