The 1st Mock Draft, and a 4-man rotation?! Doug Gray March 7, 2018 16 Comments The Major League Baseball Draft is still three months away. But, that isn’t stopping Jeff Ellis of 247 Sports from unveiling his first Mock Draft of the spring. The Cincinnati Reds will draft 5th overall in the 2018 Draft. Where does Jeff Ellis think that the Reds go with their 1st round pick? Let’s take a look: 5. Cincinnati Reds Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central (GA) The Reds have gone with high upside players the past few years. They are not afraid to spend, having given the highest bonus to a single player the past two years. I fully expect them to take whoever is at the top of their board, regardless of demands. Hankins is the top player on a majority of boards. The injury concerns could see him pushed down the board a bit. I often say teams picking in the top five are looking more for reasons not to draft a player then draft them. We have seen more teams that are picking high get gun-shy on top talent with an injury history or questions. Entering the spring, Ethan Hankins was arguably the top prospect in the entire draft. He could still be that, if the belief is that his injury is indeed nothing to worry about. The reports are that he’s got a muscle issue that requires a few weeks of rehab and that nothing structural is wrong. Hankins is going to have to come back and show he’s his “normal self” if he’s going to be taken this highly, but with all of the information we currently have available things should be fine. Baseball is going to see a 6-man, and a 4-man rotation in 2018 The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announced earlier this spring that they would be going with a 6-man rotation this year. That will keep prized starter Shohei Ohtani on a schedule that he’s been on in Japan. Other teams have kicked around the idea of a 6-man rotation, but it seems the Angels are going to be the first ones to truly give it a shot. But earlier today things went in the opposite direction. Sort of. Marc Topkin, who covers the Tampa Bay Rays for the Tampa Bay Times, tweeted out this: #Rays Cash just said they could go with 4-man rotation all season, filling in with bullpen guys when needed to start — Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 7, 2018 Now, the wording leaves open the idea that they could still go with a 5-man rotation. With that said, it sure sounds like they will be going with a 4-man rotation, but generally on normal rest. They will skip the #5 when that option is available, but will go with a “bullpen day” for that spot when it’s needed. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m genuinely curious as to how long it will last. The plan is to do it for the full year, but consider me skeptical on that one. 16 Responses Brad March 7, 2018 Reds do not need a 5th starter until day 11 with 2 early off days. Wonder if they utilize and extra reliever for any potential short outings by starters and save a few day of service time for whoever earns the 5th spot. I still believe how Reds manage service time of Romano, Mahle, Garrett, R Stephenson, Senzel will be telling this season. The Duke March 7, 2018 I doubt we see much Service Time manipulation for Stephenson, Garrett, or Romano. They have too much time in the bigs already for that to be workable. Senzel and Mahle on the other hand it is absolutely a consideration. I imagine Whoever wins the 5th spot might start the year in the minors and the Reds carry an extra reliever until they are needed. They all have options. Brock March 7, 2018 If I recall correctly, they normally don’t have their 5th starter on the Opening Day roster, going with 8 in the bullpen to start the season, and wait until a 5th starter is needed to add someone. I don’t think it has much to do wtih service time, more about having an extra bullpen arm because the starters won’t being going past the 6th/7th inning at the beginning of the season. The Duke March 7, 2018 Eh, do we really want a hard throwing prep righty who is 3-4 years away at a minimum again? I suppose if they consider him BPA, that’s the way you should go, but I like the idea of a college bat or a high upside lefty. Then again, I’d be pretty happy with Gorman too. It’s all still in flux this far out. I doubt we see much clarity until mid to late May. AirborneJayJay March 7, 2018 Wichita St. OF Greyson Jenista had a rebound week against Nebraska. And they had a game yesterday with SIUE. In those 4 games he was 6-15, 3 R, 3 RBI, 3BB, 4K, HR, HBP and up for the season to .324/.468/.676 in 10 games. But his teammate 3B Alec Bohm is just crushing the ball. We have to put him on the Watch list. A .429/.565/.971/1.536. A 1.536 OPS. I know its early, but he is impressing early. Those same last 4 games as Jenista, Bohm went 4-15, 8R, 9RBI, 4BB, 2K, 3 HR. He lit Nebraska up. There will be a few college bats that rise quickly. They could be like last year’s UVA team with Pavin Smith and Adam Halsely which went #7 and #8 overall in last years draft. Michael Smith March 7, 2018 If they believe he is best option why not. Shoot for the moon when you are in the top 5 imo. CP March 7, 2018 Another wave of high upside pitchers will go a long way to extending this next competitive window. Put this draft pick alongside of Hunter Greene and let them be the next couple difference makers. Colorado Red March 7, 2018 Nice, But a lot of College and HS BB to play, before the draft. WA March 7, 2018 Tom Tango wrote a blog post on Travis Sawchik’s Fangraphs article http://tangotiger.com/index.php/site/article/should-billy-hamilton-come-in-as-an-early-inning-pinch-runner-and-stay-in-t Doug Gray March 7, 2018 Thanks for the link. I think it’s a bit more complicated than his initial post suggests. As I said when I wrote about it – I love it AND I hate it. AirborneJayJay March 7, 2018 There is a song somewhere in that line, “I love it and hate it”. Or a pepto-bismol jingle. I love it, I hate. I can’t believe I ate it. stock March 7, 2018 Schebler playing CF, 2-2 with a HR. Andy March 7, 2018 I would favor the 6man for the Reds. Castillo, Garrett, Romano, Bailey, Disco, Finnegan to start the year. Continue until someone gets hurt, or proves they don’t belong. After service time shenanigans, first to falter or get hurt replaced by Mahle. If by some miracle we still have 6 healthy starters at All-Star break, pare down to the best 5 after that. dbfromnva March 7, 2018 Give me any off the next four players that went that mock especially Gorman: 7. San Diego Padres Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (CA) The Padres approach the past few years has been to add pitching, pitching, and more pitching. They have targeted arms in trades and in the draft, but they have also been connected to several California prep players the past few years. In this mock so far, five of the first six picks are arms, which sets things up for the Padres to grab a bat here. Turang has slipped due, in large part, to over-familiarity, in my opinion. He is an up the middle talent with the chance to be a plus regular at short, which would also fit what the Padres look for historically. 8. Atlanta Braves Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West (WI) Since 2015, the Braves have had six first-round picks and spent five of those on arms. Until Kyle Wright, last year, every one of those picks had been a prep arm. I state all of those also knowing that there is a new GM, so one should look at what the Blue Jays did under Alex Anthopoulos. His drafts with the Blue Jays were prep heavy and mostly unsuccessful, outside of 2010. At this point, there were several prep players to consider, but I went with Kelenic, due to the preference that Anthopoulos seems to have for athletic players. 9. Oakland Athletics Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde Academy (FL) Last year, the Athletics took the player in the draft who was the complete opposite of everything that was espoused in the book “Moneyball”. They went for the athletic, upside kid with major risk, in Austin Beck. Sedas is another prep player with the potential to be a middle of the order bat up the middle. The A’s love of athletic shortstops is so well known that, even though I took heat for it, I projected them to target Jorge Mateo as the centerpiece for Sonny Gray, which they did. Sedas goes to the same high school Francisco Lindor did, but I see more of a Carlos Correa in him. The Athletics have really changed their approach the past two years, making them hard to figure out. 10. Pittsburgh Pirates Nolan Gorman, 3B/SS, Sandra Day O’Connor HS (AZ) The Pirates last five first round picks have gone prep, college, prep, college, prep. So they should be looking into a college player, one would think. Well, in terms of just first overall picks, they have gone mostly prep, outside of Newman and Craig in ‘16 and ’15, respectively. Another fun fact is that the last four hitters the Pirates have drafted are either shortstops of third baseman, so Gorman fits there, even if that is more correlation than causation. I would argue, though, that drafting players currently playing shortstop is always a positive for teams. I loved the Pirates draft a year ago, when they went heavy on prep players, many with long histories of success. Gorman’s size, listed at 6’1”, will scare some teams, but the bat will play anywhere, even if worse comes to worse and he ends up at first. Gorman will not be 17 until May and the bat and power are legit. He fits the mold of what the Pirates have done, so this feels like his floor right now. Simon Cowell March 7, 2018 I like both ideas actually. a 6 man rotation would be excellent for delicate arms. a 4 man rotation could be the future too because it actually prepares a team for late in the season and the playoffs. It also reduces payroll considering starting pitchers make more than bullpen guys. In the next few years when all starting pitchers are demanding 300 million dollar salaries we just might see 3 man rotations. Money matters to ownership don’t pretend like that isn’t a factor when at least 50% of the teams out there claim to be small market enterprises. RedFuture March 7, 2018 With 4 more off days this year a 5th rotation pitcher is needed fewer times. I did a quick run-through of the Reds schedule and strictly speaking the 5th guy is only needed 20 times. That leaves 38 starts for #1 and 37 starts for #2, 3 & 4. Also the #5 would only need to take consecutive turns through the rotation 7 times and never 3 or more consecutive turns.