Today is the big day that kicks off the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. The first two rounds will go down tonight on MLB Network and MLB.com.

From now until 6pm, I will be answering your questions about and relating to the Major League Baseball draft. Leave your question in the comments section and as I get to it, I’ll delete it and add it to the story with the answer. I’m not going to limit the number of questions you can ask like I normally would, but try to keep them limited to 1-2 questions at a time, too.

Draft links of note:

My Top 10 Draft Board

Pre-Draft news and notes (updated throughout the day)

Baseball America’s Top 500 Draft Board

MLB Pipeline Top 200 Draft Board

So, if you have questions, let’s get to it.

Is there a particular player rated in the 20-40 range that you would really like to see make it to the Reds at 32?

Well, if we want to go by Keith Law’s draft board, I’d love to see Jordon Adell. But, other places have him in the Top 10 and I think he’s far more likely to go in the Top 10 than outside of the Top 20. I’d be very intrigued by a guy like Drew Rasmussen at #32 or #38. He’s coming off of Tommy John, but has returned to the mound and in limited time, performed well at Oregon State. He’s been up to 98 MPH this season out of the bullpen, though he’s worked a bit lower than that as the starter. He’s got a big time arm, and while there’s some risk involved there between the injury he’s coming off of, he’s the kind of arm I’d really like to see there. Obviously, if a guy falls for signing demands and the Reds fan swoop them up, I’m all for that. It’s seemed to work out quite well for them so far with Taylor Trammell. That will be harder to do this year with the different pool allotments, but not impossible.

How much would you like to be a “fly on the wall” in the REDS draft room ??

Chance Reds select Gore with first pick to possibly save some $ for the #32 pick. A. Slim or B. None

I’d pay to be in that room today. Not much, because I don’t exactly have a bunch of money…. but yeah, I’d pay money to be in there today and tomorrow. I’d say the chances that the Reds go with MacKenzie Gore at #2 to save money are very, very small. Like, less than 1%. We haven’t seen the team really linked to him at all, and while it wouldn’t surprise me if the Reds did try to save a tiny amount of money at #2, I think it would be more likely to happen with Wright or McKay.

1. Where would Hunter Greene rank in the Reds system right now? Who would you have ahead of him?

2. Are there a few specific players you’re personally hoping for at #32?

Without talking to more people, specifically the Reds people and just going off of the things I’ve seen (which is limited) and the reports from others, personally, I’d think that he’d be in the top 5. He’d definitely be behind Nick Senzel. After that, it’s tough to really peg him versus a few other guys. Right now I’d say that Vladimir Gutierrez is my top rated pitcher in the system. I’m not sure I’d rank Greene ahead of him. While the fastball velocity may be better, the secondary stuff simply isn’t close. Is Greene better than a guy like Romano, who throws about as hard, but has had big time success over the last 11 months in AA and AAA? I’m just not sure that he is, at least right now. But, as I said, if he’s the Reds pick, I’ll be able to talk to more people who have better information than I’ve been able to get and it will better inform me.

As for the #32/#38 pick. I addressed that a bit above. I’ll add that a guy like Brent Rooker would be a nice pick up at #38. Drew Waters is a guy who has been linked to the Reds at #32 and I’d like that pick quite a bit, though he may not last that long.

If the Twins take Greene #1 overall, do you march right up with Wright’s name on the Reds selection sheet? Or do you ponder taking Gore here?

Assuming that I get to make the pick, I’d take Kyle Wright. I’m a big fan of MacKenzie Gore, but Kyle Wright is my top guy. No hesitation on my part.

1. What are your thoughts on the rumors of Keston Hiura going in the top 6?
2. If we were to draft Hunter Greene do you think he would both hit and pitch or would they only have him do one?

The guy can absolutely rake. While it sounds like he may need Tommy John surgery, you would be drafting him for the bat, not the defense. There are questions about where he falls on the defensive spectrum, and if he winds up as a left fielder, you better believe in the bat. With that said, some reports on the bat are absolutely glowing on both the hit and power tools. So, I can understand it if you truly believe there’s plus hit, plus power how you could take him in the Top 6 even if you think he’s a left fielder long term.

I think there’s a chance that in the 1st year (this year), that he could do both, but I don’t believe that any team that takes him let’s him play in the field beyond this summer.

Is there as intrigue and misdirection in the mlb draft as there is in nfl?

Not at all. The NFL lets people trade up and steal your pick. That can’t happen in MLB. While I do think teams use the media to “leave their options open”, that’s more so just so they can use a small amount of leverage when talking to the player/agent about possible signing bonuses.

1. If the Twins take Greene, do you think the Reds take McKay over Wright? Looking at your board, I’m assuming you like Wright more than McKay.

2. How far down do you see Seth Romero falling?

Yes I do think they go with Brendan McKay if Hunter Greene isn’t available. I’d take Wright, but have no real issue with McKay is he winds up being the pick.

Very tough to say on Seth Romero to be honest. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went somewhere between the 20th and 50th picks. There’s a large range for where he can go. It just depends on exactly how teams feel with their background work on his off the field issues.

Do you see the Reds drafting a short stop day 1? If so, what are the options?

Any links w the Oregon State kid to the Reds? What do you see as repercussions on drafting a talent like that if he falls to 5th or 6th round?

If I had to bet, I’d say no. But that doesn’t mean they won’t. But, they’ve got three picks on Day 1 and we know that there’s been no link to them taking a shortstop at #2. So that leaves just two picks, and so the odds are just against it happening. Now, it’s possible, though unlikely, they could go with Royce Lewis at #2, though most believe he’s going to slide off of shortstop and move to center field in the long run. There’s a few high school shortstops in that 30-50 range – Mark Vientos, Brady McConnell, Chris Seise.

And if you are talking about Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich – I wouldn’t draft him if another team offered to pay his signing bonus and all future salaries.

How are signing bonuses paid out to draft picks? 50% Up front? 50% at a later date, or how? Just interested how they pay would break down if you signed for say…4 million.

Unless the player is going to be a 2-sport guy and play in college (in another sport, obviously), then they are paid upfront. If a player signs a 2-sport contract, then it can be spread out a little bit over several years. It used to be that teams could sign players to Major League deals, which would allow them to also spread out the money paid, but those are no longer available to draft picks.

1) How crazy am I for believing Hunter Greene would be a better SS/CF prospect for Reds rather than RHSP?

2) how concerned are you with Griffin Canning’s medical report? I saw him throw at Arizona St this season. Came away very impressed with production and projection.

You’re nuts. But seriously, I don’t know that it’s THAT crazy of an idea, but you are probably in the very extreme minority there.

With Griffin Canning, it’s tough to say because at least as far as I know, no one is aware of what those poor medical reports are saying. Teams certainly could know, but there doesn’t seem to be much information out there as far as what’s in the reported “poor medical reports”. I’m far less concerned if it’s an elbow than if it’s a shoulder. If it’s a shoulder, I’m staying away. If it’s an elbow, let’s talk.

At what point does Seth Romero’s talent overtake the personality concerns? Or is he off your board?

This is where as a scouting director/GM I’d have to rely on my local scout who should have far more information on exactly what’s happened, what kind of kid he is, and things like that. I don’t think he’d be off of my board based on what I do know, but that’s not to say that he wouldn’t be off of my board if I knew more. Tough to really say where he’d be worth it without knowing more information, which, unfortunately, isn’t publicly available but I’m sure teams have a much better grasp on things.

If Greene is the pick, do you play/pitch him this year? I would almost rather see him work on his body with a big league strength coordinator first. He just obviously needs a lot of refining before he can get professional hitters out.

I would absolutely pitch him this year. He had limited time on the mound in high school this year. His arm should be fresh. I’d send him to Arizona and put him on the mound and let him pitch over the summer.

Hey Doug, more of a question on how players are scouted for the draft. How do we receive such varying reports on someone like Hunter Greene (who has had more coverage than any player I have seen in recent memory)? Everywhere I look I see different opinions on his breaking ball. Obviously the fastball is solid, but with some saying the breaking ball isn’t even a plus pitch, is he worth the gamble? I figured the breaking ball would be the easiest to spot if it is above average or not, but apparently that is not the case.

Here’s a secret of the industry: You are going to get many different reports on players, even in the minor leagues. We don’t see them report that way, though, because generally there’s just going to be more people saying one thing than the other, so that’s how it gets written up. A good example would be in 2014. Talking to various people, both that work for the Reds and opposing team scouts, I was told that three different pitchers were the best pitching prospect in the system: Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen, Sal Romano. Don’t get me wrong, all three guys are and were guys with outstanding arms, but three people who have the job of telling people how the future will look gave three very different answers to the question.

With regards to Hunter Greene specifically, I think there’s a few things going on with the breaking ball reports. One, this season he’s simply pitched so few innings compared to others, that there just haven’t been as many good looks. So you’ve got fewer chances to see him flash that breaking ball. Generally speaking, high school guys are flashing above-average types of pitchers rather than showing them consistently. Also, generally speaking, teams tend to think they can teach a guy a breaking ball of some kind. It’s less of a *feel* pitch, and easier to teach than say a change up would be if a guy doesn’t have one already.

If the Reds take Greene, is he the Reds’ #1 prospect on day 1?

No. Nick Senzel will remain the teams top prospect. Hunter Greene may be #2, but he may be #5, too. At least on my list. Whoever the pick is, they won’t be ahead of Senzel, and where they fall in the pecking order after that will come down to what kind of information I can get from the Reds on what they saw, and from others who have also seen that player. I do think that on the national lists whoever the pick winds up being will instantly be the teams #2 prospect behind Senzel.

You put a lot of effort and obvious pride with all your post, but the Draft obviously is at another level. Please share how you personally prepare for it that us the readers might not consider?

Finally, from your estimation beyond drafting the best eligible talent what areas/positions do you feel that the Reds need to fortify in the system?

The biggest preparation is about being sure I’ve got food and drinks. The food needs to be stuff that doesn’t need cooked, but can still be prepared quickly. That comes into play on Tuesday and Wednesday more than Monday. Mostly sandwiches and wraps – turkey with lettuce, pickles, cheese (I’ve got a few options here). Quick. Easy. Other than that, it’s really just sitting at the computer with a bunch of tabs open for scouting reports and statistical data, waiting to put together information on the players selected. When a pick is made, particularly beyond the first 5 rounds when info starts to get a bit tougher to come by, I’ll try to reach out to people who may have seen them in their area. But, it’s not always easy to get in touch with some guys on draft day, either. Which is understandable.

You always need pitching and you always need catchers. Catchers are the toughest position guys to find. First base is a spot that’s a bit lacking in the system right now, too. Not that I think they should spend a spot on a first baseman in the first couple of rounds, but starting on day two if they went after a polished college first baseman, or an upside high school first baseman it would make some sense. And, as always, shortstops. Looking through the system though, left handed pitching is a rather glaring weakness.

1. I know teams draft on best available, but in your opinion, is there a particular position or type of player you would like them to draft based on a particular area of need? For example, high school pitcher? College hitter? Are we light in younger outfield prospects? ECT

2. Any mid round prospects you are high on? Rounds 2-5 to say

I’m a best play available guy, for the most part. I wouldn’t be using a top 2-3 round pick on a college first baseman, but other than that, I’m not really against any profile of a pick. Catchers with any chance to be big leaguers go off of the board in the first 3-4 rounds. With that said, rookie ball and A-ball seems to be stocked up there, so they may hold off on that one for a little bit.

Not really anyone that I’m seemingly higher on than most. I’ll be honest and say that after about pick 75, there’s just too much unknown for me to really get to know the guys. It’s just not worth the time required to get to know that many guys compared to just waiting and seeing who the team picks and then finding out as much information as I can on that player.

if the twins take Wright who would you take between Greene or McKay or Gore ?
Do you consider this a weak Draft or a depth type of a draft?

Everything points to Hunter Greene being the top guy, followed by McKay on the Reds board. So, I’ll stick with Greene and it sounds like they would be thrilled if that were the case.

The draft is more weird than anything for me. There’s some depth there, for sure, but it’s more so deep in the #5-35 range. At the very top it just seems that the consensus is that the top 3-4 isn’t as strong as it usually is. There’s not a clear cut “guy” at the top.

The rumor mill says Canning’s poor medical reports raised concerns about his elbow AND his shoulder. Off your board if true? Post rd 10?

I guess it would depend on just what they said, but certainly with shoulder concerns he’s be moving down. It would all come down to how much he’s willing to sign for. He’s got options too. If he’s hurt, and doesn’t get what he thinks is “fair”, he can go back to school and see what he can do to recover there and come back next year into the draft.

Rumor mill churning again about Lewis going #1 overall because of signability factors. I mentioned this last Friday. It heats up again today.

How big of a ripple would this send through the top of the draft?

Not too much. Lewis was going in the Top 5, so it would probably just re-shuffle 2-3 picks, at best, in the top 5 and after that, nothing would change.

On the path from draft pick to the majors, how much of the outcome is based on the organization’s ability to develop prospects vs their ability to scout them pre-draft?

Any sense for how much data and analytics teams are using to look at past draft choices as a model for how to approach the draft today?

I think scouting guys pre-draft is more important than the ability to develop. That’s not to say that development isn’t important, because it is. But there’s a reason that as every pick in the draft goes by, the odds are less likely the player is good. No team has seemingly found a way to continuously develop lower round guys. I think there’s a reason for that – there’s only so much you can do to teach a guy without that kind of raw talent. With that said, I do believe that some coaches are worth their weight in gold. But even those guys can only do so much if a guy just doesn’t have the talent.

Teams are certainly using more and more data than ever. I’ve mentioned it before on the site, and I think in this thread, but the ACC tournament was played in Louisville Slugger Field where the Bats play. The Reds paid money to install the Trackman system there (and in all of their ballparks). They have had it running in other ballparks when tournaments were being played there (I can’t confirm it was on during the ACC tournament last month – but I know they’ve run it in Dayton when teams played there other than the Dragons, so I’d be amazed if they weren’t running it during that tournament to get data on the pitchers and exit velo on the hitters). Dick Williams has also mentioned in interviews over the last few weeks that they are indeed looking at data on guys, though he didn’t get too specific about what. With college guys, there’s a lot more of that data. The SEC, ACC and some Pac 12 teams have Trackman installed and provide that data to MLB teams (I’m guessing they are charging for it). The big showcases tend to have Trackman set up and you can get data that way. There’s definitely a ton more data and analytics being used today than even 5 years ago. Now, how they are using some data to compare to past guys, that’s a tougher question because this kind of data isn’t available on those guys (as amateurs at least). But, if we are looking back to say, 15 years ago, what we’ve learned about baseball through the general data revolution, probably applies. Guys with crappy strikeout-to-walk ratios are poor bets is probably the biggest one that I think we know better about now than we did in 2002.

Hey Doug. I’m curious…how may monitors do you use when you start researching? I’ve used three monitors for work (Operations Analyst) for the past year and I don’t think I could go back.

My main computer has dual monitors, but directly above it is a 50″ 4K tv that’s hooked up to a second computer (an old laptop). So, if needed, three screens. But, I doubt I’ll be doing much of anything on the TV and just relying on my two monitors. Funny enough, a year ago I thought “I don’t need two monitors” but someone talked me into it. I’ll fight to the death now if someone tries to force me to go back to one.

1. Would you prefer an international draft or do you like the current system?
2. What tool is the most difficult to project on a high school player (pitcher and hitter)?
3. Will you remind everyone how important it is that those of us readers who can support the site take a few minutes out of their time to sign up for Patreon and support the site in anyway they can? Lets not have the 2018 draft without this site. Keep up the great work

I prefer the current system over a draft, but I’d rather it just be full on free agency with no signing limits. I’m not a fan of lowering wages via collusion, which is exactly what happens in the draft and international market. Teams would absolutely pay way more money if free agency existed, but they’ve gotten it set up so they don’t have to.

Health for a high school pitcher. Generally speaking, it’s just due to the fact that they are throwing about 65 innings a season and they’ve also got a long road ahead of them to get to the big leagues. We know that pitchers generally get hurt at some point, it’s just a matter of when for most guys. The high school guys have to show they can throw larger workloads, that most of the college guys have shown they can do (most guys have at least thrown 100 innings in a season when drafted). The college guys are more advanced and generally reach the big leagues quicker, so projecting their health is a tad easier because there are less hurdles to overcome for them. With hitters, it’s plate discipline. They just don’t see enough “pro quality” stuff to truly know how well they can handle it from a plate discipline standard. While there’s at least the showcase circuit these days, a large majority of their time is coming against guys that won’t even play juco college baseball, much less ever get a paycheck from a professional baseball team for their play on the field.

As for supporting me on Patreon – it’s rather important. First, it gives me an actual idea of some amount of money that I know I will be making the next month. Advertising certainly provides income, but the rates vary wildly. I can’t project income based off of project traffic because I could get 300,000 views in back-to-back months and one month will pay out 40% better/worse than the other. I’m trying my best to get away from this kind of advertising – I would like to cater to local Cincinnati area businesses, but I’m just starting to try this and haven’t gotten there yet. So, if you know anyone that owns a local business, or works for one in advertising/marketing, have them get in touch with me. But, getting back to Patreon and supporting me and my work, right now there are 125 users that are supporting the work. I greatly appreciate every one of you that do. With that said, and this isn’t a complaint as much as it’s just me pointing out reality, last month there were over 37,000 unique visitors (and nearly 300,000 total views), so the number of people that show up versus provide support via Patreon is incredibly low. And I understand. We’ve all got a finite amount of money that we can spend on non-essentials. But, if you do have an extra $4 a month (or more if you’re feeling generous and really appreciate my work), it really does go a long way to keeping the site going and allowing me to continue to provide the coverage that I do.

When I saw Mckay and Wright pitch over the weekend, I was actually more impressed with Mckay as he had a smooth delivery and sharp breaking ball. Wright’s delivery was maximum effort and despite that he never got past 94 mph which Mckay more effortlessly hit also. So, especially since he’s LH why wouldn’t you pick McKay over Wright?

One game doesn’t change much, but that was Wright’s worst outing in about 6 weeks. He’s generally been up to 96-97 in most of his starts this year, throwing 91-95 throughout. McKay’s 1-2 combo is good. But his fastball isn’t as good as Wright’s is. And Wright’s #2 is just as good as McKay’s – both are plus offerings. Where Wright separates himself, though, is that he’s got two other possible plus offerings with the change up and second breaking ball. And while I absolutely know if goes against conventional thinking, I don’t care what arm a pitcher throws with. I don’t give a guy any more credit because he’s a lefty. The only place that comes into play is as a reliever, and even then, I think it’s generally overplayed. If a guy is eventually going to be a LOOGY, how valuable is he actually going to be? Now, that’s not me saying anything with regards to McKay, just general thoughts on the whole lefty/righty thing.

I saw Trey Griffey was cut by the colts today. Any Coincidence with the draft tonight? I know he was drafted in 24th round by mariners last year. Is he eligible to be drafted again? Any reports on him as a baseball prospect?

He hasn’t played baseball since he was about 12 or 13 I believe. But, yes, he would be draft eligible again this year. You are only a free agent once you’ve gone undrafted.

could some of this smoke of rumors with min an cin be all rumors because krivky with the twins? try make it harder to know who they really will take to throw the reds off who to take? if makes sense tried getting it in before 6

No. The Twins will take who they take without regard to anything the Reds want to do. If they don’t trust their people, they need to fire them immediately. What the Reds people say should never influence another team. That’s why they pay their scouts and front office people.

Interesting stats on ESPN and how the odds are better that hitters pan out better with high selections – so many variables go into pitching and injuries. But pitching is sexy and what the Reds need. Considering the signing money and investment if you were investing in something blind, only seeing statistics and possible results, with no emotion, you’d select a hitter. That’s a tough one. And stats seem to indicate you’d select a collegiate pitcher vice a HS one. Does sexy or meat and potatoes win out tonight?

Historically, high school pitchers are a terrible bet. But, I do believe that teams are much better at picking high schoolers over the last 15 years. The way that they develop guys today is vastly different than it used to be. They are still more risky, but it’s not like the top college pitchers taken aren’t also awfully risky.

8 Responses

  1. donny

    My 2017 reds draft prediction. I will give my prediction in bold letters and name 2 more in that round that i think can be possibility for the round. Based on who can be signed with the amount of money the reds can afford or who is available and so forth.

    Just my predictions, i am not anything special but i do feel comfortable after watching the reds draft over the years the kind of players they draft and like.

    number 2 pick in the draft. – HUNTER GREENE, Brendan Mckay, Mackenzie Gore.

    Competitive Balance Round A and the 32 pick – JETER DOWNS, but with the signing of Jose Isreal Garcia could sway them to take a chance on someone else with equal talent. Maybe even Drew Waters who the Duke mentioned. Drew Waters, Brendon Little.

    2nd round pick number 38 in the draft – CHRIS SEISE, another ss, but with the athletic ability to play all ss,2b,3b, and all of the outfield. Will Crowe, Conner Uselton.

    Given how close the reds 2nd and 3rd pick is, any of those guys could be reversed in the draft order as well.

    3rd round and 77 pick – MASON HOUSE,Bryce Montes de Oca,Tyler Johnson.

    With the reds 2nd pick i am hoping they get a guy that slides down, who is requires a certain amount to sign instead of going to college.

    That my prediction, we will see how well i do. I could look like a idiot. lol

    • donny

      But i am putting my self out there for laughs and criticism.

  2. greg

    Perhaps the most important question is how many facepalm moments Harold Reynolds will provide us with tonight

  3. DaveCT

    BA just released a 5.0 mock with Kewis going first.

    • Doug Gray

      I may have deleted them on accident. I’ll go double check and restore them.

  4. rick in boise

    Hunter Greene!

    After Twins take Royce Lewis…