Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Latest mock draft has Reds tabbing college catcher in first round

With the MLB Amateur Draft set to commence on Thursday, mock drafts can be found everywhere as "experts" attempt to project which players will be chosen by which teams. To be honest, predicting where players will fall is an absolute crapshoot. But it's fun to talk about at least.

As fate would have it, our beloved Cincinnati Reds possess the 19th overall pick in the draft. The club has opted to go with right-handed pitching more times than not in recent years (Mike Leake-2009, Robert Stephenson-2011, Nick Travieso-2012), but the latest mock draft published by ESPN's Keith Law on Tuesday suggests the Reds will use their first round pick on a player who wears a mask. According to Law, the Reds are destined to select Kennessaw State Owls backstop Max Pentecost (6'1, 190-pounds) at pick No. 19.

Here's what Law had to say about his projection:

I hear a lot of assumptions that they will take a toolsy prep guy, but scouting director Chris Buckley has taken numerous college guys in the first round, including Mike Leake, Yasmani Grandal and Phil Ervin.

They are also the team I've heard with the most interest in New Jersey prep righty Joey Gatto and Georgia prep righty Spencer Adams.

Using their first pick on a catcher might sound like an asinine idea considering how well Devin Mesoraco has been performing lately. But before we scoff at the the possibility, let's consider the fact that many scouts view the junior as the best all-around catching prospect in the draft.

Aside from his gaudy offensive numbers this season (.422/.477/.626, 8 HR), it's important to note that the Texas Rangers thought highly enough of him to take Pentecost in the 7th round of the 2011 Draft. However, Pentecost decided to decline a pro contract and pursue his college education instead.

Like Mesoraco, Pentecost's hitting ability is what really sets himself apart from other catchers. According to scouts, Pentecost has average arm strength and an above average pop time, but his ability to call pitches for his Kennesaw State pitching staff, a task often handled by coaches, is certainly impressive.

For those of you who live around the Louisville area and want to see this kid play, Pentecost's Owls are slated to take on the host Cardinals at Jim Patterson Stadium this weekend, with the winner of the Super Regionals matchup punching a ticket to the College World Series in Omaha.

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