The Cincinnati Reds hold the 7th overall pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft. It will start on June 3rd and run through June 5th. Today is going to kick off the scouting reports and information leading up to the draft. Pitching is always important, and that’s where we are going to start out the series.

How is this group?

The starting pitching isn’t exactly great in this draft class. There’s only one pitcher ranked among the top 10 players in the class, though you see a few more in the 11-20 range. Still, it’s considered a weak draft when it comes to pitching – at least in the 1st round.

The Rankings

In early May I went through the rankings for several national publications and averaged out their rankings to give an “overall” ranking for the Top 30 players in the draft. Here’s how the rankings lined up for the pitchers, with their overall ranking in parenthesis:

  1. Nick Lodolo – LHP (8)
  2. Matthew Allan – RHP (11)
  3. Alek Manoah – RHP (12)
  4. Zack Thompson – LHP (14)
  5. Jackson Rutledge – RHP (19)
  6. George Kirby – RHP (20)

That’s the extent of the pitchers in the Top 20. There’s only six of them, and five of them are outside of the Top 10.

Nick Lodolo Scouting Report

The 6’6″ and 185-pound left-handed pitcher from TCU is having a dominant junior season. He was a 1st round pick back in 2016 out of high school, going 41st overall to the Pirates, but would go unsigned and head to college. After having solid, but unspectacular results in his first two seasons as a starter, 2019 has seen him break out in a big way. He’s made 12 starts and posted a 2.34 ERA in 77.0 innings with 16 walks and 89 strikeouts for the Horned Frogs.

The big lefty throws his fastball in the low-to-mid 90’s and he does so on a downhill plane thanks to his height and arm angle. He’s scrapped a curveball in favor of a slider that has flashed itself as a well above-average pitch in the low 80’s. His change up will also flash itself as an above-average pitch.

The consistency with his secondary offerings have been the difference maker in 2019. He’s set himself apart from the rest of the college pitchers at this point in the year – and there’s only a month left until the draft. Short of some dramatic change, he should be the first pitcher off of the board.

Matthew Allan Scouting Report

The top high school pitcher on the board, the 6′ 3″ and 210-pounder out of Seminole High School in Florida, Matthew Allen has been a big riser in the last year. Last summer changed that, though, as he started showing more velocity and a sharper curveball.

Today the big right-hander is throwing in the mid-90’s and has reached 98 MPH. His curveball flashes itself as a plus offering and is consistently an above-average look. With two potential plus offerings, he’s been able to dominate in high school. He doesn’t show a change up often, but he does have one and it’s a solid pitch now and could be average in the future.

Alek Manoah Scouting Report

The 6′ 6″ and 260-pound Alek Manoah has been dominating in his new role as a full-time starter this season. As both a freshman and sophomore he split time in the rotation and bullpen, but in 2019 all 12 of his appearances have been as a starter.

The big righty has posted a 2.07 ERA in 82.2 innings this season. He’s walked 21 batters and he’s racked up 108 strikeouts while giving up just three home runs. He’s worked with his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90’s that features good sinking action to it. His slider is already an above-average to plus pitch and has a chance to be a plus-plus offering. The change up is behind the other two pitches, though that is more of a statement about those pitches than an indictment on an average change up.

Zack Thompson Scouting Report

Injuries kept Zack Thompson off of the mound for part of the 2018 season at Kentucky. That hasn’t been the case in 2019 for the 6′ 3″ and 225-pound left-handed pitcher. The former 11th round draft pick (2016, Tampa Bay), has made 12 starts for the Wildcats this year.

Thompson has posted a 2.08 ERA in 78.0 innings with 30 walks, 1 home run allowed, and he’s struck out 113 hitters. He’s also allowed just 50 hits along the way. Control has been a problem for Thompson in the past, as he walked 58 batters in 106.2 innings between his freshman and sophomore years. This season the control has improved, though his walk rate is still higher than you would prefer to see from a 1st-round caliber college pitcher.

His fastball sits in the low-90’s, but he can reach back and hit 96 MPH at times, too. He mixes in a slider that flashes plus and has become his main go-to secondary offering. But, he’ll also still flash a plus curveball, too. There’s also a solid change up in the mix that has a chance to be a future Major League average offering. Concerns about his elbow, which he’s had issues with in the past, does have some teams cautious about selecting him in the upper end of the 1st round.

Jackson Rutledge Scouting Report

A solid prospect heading into the 2017 draft, Jackson Rutledge went undrafted and to Arkansas to pitch. Things weren’t working out as he was used mostly as a reliever and the 6′ 8″ and 240-pound righty transferred to San Jacinto Junior College for the 2019 season.

The move has been one of great benefit for the 20-year-old who has dominated out of the rotation where he’s thrown 82.2 innings with a national best 0.87 ERA. He’s struck out 134 batters with 30 walks on the season and allowed just one home run.

The tall right-hander brings the heat, sitting in the mid-to-upper 90’s and tops out at 99 MPH. And he can take that velocity throughout his entire outing. With premium velocity, he’s also bringing a plus to plus-plus slider at times. His curveball spins well and is an above-average offering in it’s own right. The change up is solid now and could become an average offering in the future. Control is the biggest knock on his resume, though it’s shown some improvements in 2019.

George Kirby Scouting Report

Drafted out of high school by the New York Mets (32nd round), George Kirby chose to go to college and pitch at Elon University. After his freshman year the 6′ 4″ and 205-pound right-hander moved full time into the rotation and broke out with a 2.89 ERA over 90.0 innings pitched.

In the 2019 season he’s taken another step forward. In 12 starts this season he’s posted a 2.20 ERA, an 8-1 record and allowed just three home runs in 77.2 innings pitched. The most impressive stat, though, is that he’s walked just six batters on the season to go along with 96 strikeouts. He’s controlled the strikezone on an entirely different level this season than just about anyone in the country.

With a fastball that sits 93-96 MPH and touches 98, he’s got plenty of velocity to get the pitch by hitters. With two breaking balls, he can give batters a different look. His curveball is a bit slower, hovering around the 80 MPH mark and grades out as an average offering most of the time, but will flash better. His slider comes in a bit harder, working in the mid-80’s and has a chance to be an above-average pitch. Kirby will also mix in a solid change up. Control allows his pitches to play up at times, especially against batters in college.

For the Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have traditionally kept things close to the vest when it comes to their draft outlook. With that said, they’ve been linked with both Nick Lodolo and Jackson Rutledge this spring. The rumor with Rutledge was more so that perhaps he could be an over-slot bonus that slides down that the team could take with their second pick rather than a guy they would be looking at with their #7 overall selection.

16 Responses

  1. wes

    If 6 hitters go first- be nice to see Reds get first crack at any of these guys! Gotta like big lefties with decent track record!

  2. Kyle

    Just playing the strength of the draft, I would grab a position player again. I Would consider a pitcher with the 2nd round pick at 49 with an over slot. Rutledge would be nice, but he’ll probably be gone by then. Jack Leiter, Hunter Barco, Josh Wolf, and Kendall Williams come to mind

  3. haven

    I am really hoping for either Bleday or Bishop at seven.

  4. donny

    Lodolo, even though he is a college player. He still has room to grow and get stronger. He could still put on another 40-50 pounds.

    6-6 and only 185 pounds

    • donny

      Usually when a player gets stronger they add more power or more fastball.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    Allen and Rutledge intrigue me the most. Rutledge is a short-armer which aids his plus slider…..that paired with his downward plane at his height and you really have something.

  6. Shamrock

    Let’s say (just about best case scenario) comes “back healthy” in late June and pitches to like a 7-4 record and an ERA around 3.00………..

    What’s the play in free agency?
    a) 1 year “Offer Him” at what will probably be around $20M (i personally doubt anyone would match + give up a draft pick
    b) Extend him on an extreme health & performance basis
    c) say “good riddance” and let him walk

    Humor me…

    • Wes

      I think 1 year 15 million makes u the highest bidder by far. If Dallas “The Donkey” Kuechel can’t get a contract- doubt wood can w his injury history. He will prob get a slew of offer from 10-12 mil for a year.

      And no one will give up a pick but if reds don’t think he’ll sign and reds know they need him- you can just pay him the roughly 20 mil- wood won’t walk from all that guaranteed money. Because wood isn’t a jackass.

  7. Siri'sSidepiece

    I see Carter Stewart, who didn’t sign with the Braves last year, isn’t ranked this year. I don’t follow college baseball but liked what video I saw of him last year. I know he enrolled in a small Florida college but anyone have any details on his situation. TIA

  8. kevinz

    Off Topic just to Vent one time lol. How is Winker going to hit LHP if always sits vs them? I get irritated when he sits. If he is Banged up i get it. I do not see anything about being Hurt.

    • kevinz

      Well i guess Winker dealing with something. 2 games out of Lineup in row , def stinks too see that.

  9. Tom

    Off topic rant: Nice to see the Reds are in on exactly zero of the top 30 international players. Same old song about the Padres, Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and Rangers dominating.

    • RobL

      Maybe it’s the same old song because those teams have the best relationships with the buscones.

    • Hanawi

      This has been the single biggest organizational failure over the past 20-30 years.