Saturday, July 27, 2013

Reds top pick Phillip Ervin performing very well in rookie ball


With their first pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft, the Reds opted to select Samford University outfielder Phillip Ervin, who has drawn comparisons from some scouts to Pirates five-tool center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Through 32 games in rookie ball, Ervin is certainly living up to the billing.

Ervin, 21, signed with Cincinnati quickly after being drafted and was subsequently sent west to play for Billings Mustangs. Entering play on Saturday, Ervin was batting .325/.411/.585 with seven home runs, nine doubles, 10 stolen bases, and 27 RBI for Cincy's rookie-level affiliate in the Pioneer League.

Ervin currently ranks tied for second in the league in homers, third in OPS (.997), tied for third in runs scored (25), fourth in stolen bases, tied for fourth in hits (40), and sixth in RBI. Now, is that not an impressive display of offensive balance or what?

The folks at MLB.com were so impressed with Ervin's potential that they ranked him as the fourth-best prospect in the club's farm system in their updated midseason rankings. Only Billy Hamilton and a pair of fellow first round picks (Nick Travieso and Robert Stephenson) ranked higher among Reds prospects than he did.

Empirical evidence also seems to suggest that the Reds got a steal when nabbing Ervin with the No. 27 overall pick in the draft. MLB.com rated Ervin as their No. 21 best prospect entering the annual draft. The only knock on Ervin at this point appears to be his lack of size (5'11/190). But that was also a knock on Mike Leake years ago and look what he has been doing lately.

Needless to say, I am excited to see how Ervin continues to develop through the minor league system, and I believe Reds fans should be too. Ervin could very well be gracing the Great American Ball Park outfield in the not-so-distant future.

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