Sunday, June 9, 2013

Keith Law breaks down Reds draft picks

The Reds farm system is about to be injected with a slew of new players as the franchise, and 29 others, wrapped up the 2013 First-Year Player Draft this weekend. Of course, not all of their draftees will wind up signing, but it is safe to assume that their top picks will. 

With that being said, baseball guru and ESPN's Keith Law took the time to evaluate the overall drafts of each National League club, including the Redlegs. Sadly, he doesn't seem too impressed with the work the reigning National League Central Division champs did.

Here is what he had to say about the Reds top draft picks:

I've generally liked the Reds' drafts the past few years, but they were more conservative in 2013 and their class doesn't offer the same potentially high return in my view. Phil Ervin (27) is a short, thickly built outfielder, in center now but destined for a corner, bearing an uphill swing and a lower half that will require a lot of maintenance to keep it in shape. I don't see him as an above-average regular and think it's most likely he's a fourth outfielder.

Michael Lorenzen (38) is a tremendous defensive centerfielder who can't hit and a reliever who can hit 99 mph with little effort but has pitched so little (by choice) that he hasn't developed a second pitch. You can teach him a slider more easily than you can teach him to hit, so I believe his future is in the bullpen. Kevin Franklin (67) has plus raw power but is a well below-average hitter with a huge, long swing, and I cannot imagine him staying at third base, with a body type (6-foot-1, 220 pounds already) that you only see at first.

Ben Lively (135) has had good results at Central Florida thanks to the deception in his delivery, but he doesn't have an above-average pitch. Right-hander Mark Armstrong (104) and shortstop/pitcher Cory Thompson (165) are more in line with how the Reds typically draft, raw kids with one or more carrying tools, although Thompson is nearly 19 already and still isn't advanced as a hitter yet. The Reds did make the most interesting pick of the first 10 rounds with former New York Giants draft pick Chad Jones (285), a former outfielder and left-handed reliever for LSU who was 86-89 with a slider that projected as average or better, and who showed a ton of energy on the mound (as well as raw power in BP). Jones suffered a catastrophic leg and ankle injury in a 2010 car accident that ended his football career before it began; this would be an amazing second act for him.

Time will tell about these players. Hopefully they prove Mr. Law wrong.

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