While a mock draft for 2018 happening in October of 2017 doesn’t tell us much useful information in terms of what will actually happen in June, it does give us an idea of the players to follow next spring. John Manuel at Baseball America released his early version of the 2018 Mock Draft.

The Cincinnati Reds will be drafting fifth overall in June of 2018 thanks to their 68-94 record. Manuel has the Reds selecting third baseman Nolan Gorman. He’s a high school third baseman out of O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Reds last had three straight years of top-10 picks from 1983-85, and they’ve hit with the last two No. 2 overall picks with Nick Senzel (already in Double-A) and Hunter Greene (the hardest thrower in draft history). Cincinnati employs a Best Player Available philosophy, and in this draft class, that’s going to mean a high school player, with more upside available. In other words, even though they have Senzel, that’s not going to keep them from pursuing Nolan Gorman, who has the best power bat in the class, high school or college.

It’s definitely not a surprise that the team has generally gone with the best player available regardless of “need”. That of course makes sense given how long it takes players, even elite ones, to reach the Majors. Needs today may not be needs in two to five years. With regards to Nolan Gorman, power is his calling card. He hit 11 home runs as a junior with O’Connor High School to go along with a .361 average. The third baseman also won the home run derby at Marlins Park this summer. Multiple high schoolers were brought in to participate over the All-Star break.

As noted above, there’s a ton that could change between now and June. And it will. But this will be a good bookmark, along with the High School and College Top 50 Prospect lists for those who want to keep tabs on guys in February and March.

34 Responses

  1. Wes

    Reds need to be leaning toward best college arm and leaning heavily. If that guys not there at 5 then best available.

      • wes

        Can’t ever have enough pitching!

        Reds are about to hit their window and they need to strengthen their “next wave” of pitchers coming up. A high school arm at this point may show up after their window has closed.

        Reds will eventually unload some guys to improve else where and pitchers typically have more value than position players.

      • Doug Gray

        Well if that’s the case, you should just only draft pitchers. Which I know would make one poster happy.

      • Wes

        I can keep going.

        Outside of correra or Rodgers what top 5 high school fielder was worth the value of pick in recent memory? And they both play short.

        In comparison to history high schoolers are in a period where they are currently over valued. Teams trying to strike Mike trout gold vs taking a player w several more years of history on.

        Your best player was a college arm last year and he fell to 5th. If reds can draft a potential future ss out of high school it’s worth the risk or if a nick senzel type player slips then great but outside of those 2 possibilities- best college ATM available.

      • greg

        “Outside of correra or Rodgers what top 5 high school fielder was worth the value of pick in recent memory?”

        This question doesn’t make sense because by their very nature, high schoolers take longer to realize their value.

        Best player available is the way to go in the long run. Think of it as your investment portfolio. Investing in one specific area is pretty risky. Doing this with draft picks will eventually *shorten* your competitive window. Investing in the best/most likely outcome over time will yield the more positive result, and generate a longer window.

      • DaveCT

        One flaw in the argument of drafting for need is the false assumption the player will be in your organization when they benefit you, let alone reach the ML’s — if they do. In that sense, selecting the bpa always is the best choice, having higher value in the world of baseball than the best pitcher available. There is no guarantee a college player will be ready in time for the next window closes either. Just ask Deck McGuire.

      • Wes

        @greg- are you 100% confident reds made right choice w senzel? I am for sure.

        If your phillies- are you still convinced moniak is best player? I’m not at all.

        How does that argument not make sense?

        I’m not saying you do this every year. Just this year. Last chance to draft in top 5. Take most for sure bet. If a Mike leake type is there- take him!

      • Doug Gray

        Because you are selectively picking end points.

        Let’s remember that Carlos Correa wasn’t even considered the best high schooler in his own draft class, Byron Buxton was (and could still wind up being that guy). The best baseball player alive today was a high school player (Mike Trout). He just didn’t go in the Top 5. The Reds best player was a high schooler. The whole argument is backwards. There’s always a high school guy worthy of being taken in the Top 5 when we look back. The problem was more so that the teams drafting there just didn’t pick the right guy. They usually didn’t pick the right college guy in that area, either, though they are a tad more likely to do so. Let’s just look at the 2005-2010 drafts. Justin Upton went #1. That worked out quite well, even though he wasn’t the best in that draft – he is close enough. Andrew McCutchen would have been a fine pick in the Top 5, but didn’t go in the top 10. The 2006 draft was a dumpster fire as far as position guys go. Drew Stubbs is still the 2nd most valuable 1st rounder among position players in that draft. 2007 has Jason Heyward as the 2nd most valuable guy in the 1st round behind only Josh Donaldson. Would have been a good pick in the Top 5, but he went outside the top 10. The 2008 draft has Buster Posey at the top, but then two high schoolers next on the list in Brett Lawrie and Eric Hosmer, then you get to a pitcher. The 2009 draft was Mike Trout. But you could have also gotten Nolan Arrenado (2nd rounder) from the high school crop and been dancing in the streets. In 2010 you had Manny Machado, a 17-year-old Bryce Harper out of a Juco (he was younger than almost every high schooler drafted this season) and Christian Yelich.

        The players are there. You’ve just got to identify the right ones.

  2. Case

    My top 5 guys right now are:
    1) Singer
    2) Turang
    3) Hankins
    4) Liberatore
    5) Gorman

    So much will change from now until June though.

  3. The Duke

    I think the Reds will be positioned to get as good a value at 5 as they could have at 3 in this draft. Anyone in the top 6-8 I think is going to be pleased with this draft.

    As long as his health checks out leading up into the draft (he had a forearm strain over the summer), Casey Mize is close to the top of my board. Only 9 BB vs 102 K in 83.2 IP in the SEC for Auburn last year. Good size, mid 90’s fastball, wipeout slider, he throws a splitter in lieu of a changeup to date, and he has maybe the best fastball control in the draft.

    If we end up with one of Mize, Turang, Gorman, Rolison, or Hankins i’ll be happy. This is obviously up to a lot of change between now and next June. It will be another good season of college baseball to follow though. I could maybe see Nick Madrigal sneak into the plans if he continues to own the Pac 12 and shows enough range for people to think he can stick at SS despite his short stature.

  4. donny

    If i was drafting i would try and get the best right handed hitter i could get. If the comparisons of some one like Gorman and another right handed hitter is close in talent. i am taking the right handed hitter over Gorman.

    Good right handed hitters seem to be more rare.

    I watched video of Gorman and his swing, and it looks to me like Cody Bellinger of the dodgers . Definitley looks the part of a good talent.

    • donny

      If the reds don’t think he is good enough to play 3b or the outfield with enough athletic ability. I don’t think the reds will draft him.

      • donny

        Unless the National league decides to vote in the DH. Then that is a hole different story.

    • Doug Gray

      No. He was more of a second half of the 1st round shortstop.

  5. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    I get the argument about the window is going to close for the Reds and how that is connected to Joey Votto, That thinking is not ignorant, however, is it worth it to skip a high school player who you had as best on the board at that time and he ends up an elite player? Or, let’s say you feel you’re one big piece away and another team is in sell-mode but part of their demand is a young, very highly rated prospect to fit their window which isnt for another couple of years. However, you passed over the best player on the board and you end up kicking yourself because you can’t use him as the headliner for that one Major League tested game-changer.

    • Wes

      So use last season as a guide. Wright is best college arm and ranked 3rd on average behind mccay and Greene. Yet gore and Lewis both high schoolers both go before him. Last year, excluding Greene, id take gore or Lewis if I had them above wright. This year I take wright. If there’s a few guys grouped together- give me the college arm

      • Jasonp

        Interesting with the talk of taking a college arm instead of someone from high school when our rotation might have only 1 starter that went to college, DeSclafani. The rest could be all from high school (Romano, Stephenson, Bailey) or signed from the Dominican Republic, Castillo.

      • The Rage

        Add high schooler Tyler Mahle into that as well. Basically 2003 Jim Bowden is crying is eyes out. Where was that then eh Jimbo?

        I don’t know why the Reds are developing high school pitchers to hit the majors this decade. Maybe they just got a system that works now or like the Cleveland Indians, made a bunch of trades for young pitchers in the early 10’s and hit the jackpot after some serious suckage initially…………… plain luck.

        There is no right way to rebuild or draft players. It takes some systemic work frankly and just plain ole luck.

  6. DaveCT

    Eight players drafted or signed by the Reds in playoff game action last night.

    Bruce, Gregorious, Frazier, Chapman, Torreyes, Turner, Grandahl, and Rosales.

    If Cingrani had pitched, it’d have been nine.

    • Trey

      That’s a lot of players. I had a chuckle when Chapman got Bruce to ground out to Frazier. Although all those players other than maybe Didi have peaked and are on downside of career. Most do or will carry high salaries which don’t support Reds model.

    • MK

      4 of them played third base yesterday.
      He was signed or drafted but Encarnacion certainly grew up and developed in the Reds system. His ankle injury certainly looked nasty.

    • Wes

      Great seeing Bruce play so well! His trade value over last two seasons is mind boggling. He makes a fantastic al dh

  7. terry m

    There is a small write up with video on BA about Hunters performance on Saturday. Three innings with 7 k’s. Don’t know any of other stats from this outing. Some info about velocity’s on different pitches.

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