Friday, June 6, 2014

Video: Experts breakdown Reds first overall pick Nick Howard



In case you missed it, the Reds opted to go with University of Virginia hurler Nick Howard with their first overall pick (19th overall) in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft on Thursday.

Seen in the video above are the experts breaking down the selection immediately after it happened. The general consensus from these guys is that they like the choice. However, the same cannot be said for Christopher Crawford of ESPN Insider, who has his doubts.

There are those who believe that Howard can start, but I have my doubts, based on his arm action and lack of a consistent third pitch. As a reliever, I could see him being a closer in the Jonathan Papelbon mode -- though Papelbon had better velocity at this point -- but as a starter, he'll need to seriously improve his command and show he can throw his change more consistently. Luckily for the Reds, the rotation is in pretty good shape, and they can use the bullpen as a fallback. Not ideal to have a bullpen fallback with the 19th pick, though.

As someone who has not analyzed Howard as much as others, my initial take is that I was somewhat surprised Cincinnati chose to go with pitching with their first pick. And especially on a guy who most aren't convinced can become a major league starting pitcher. With that said, the Reds are definitely getting an intellectual kid who boasts athleticism similar to current starting pitcher Mike Leake. Another thing going for the Reds and Howard is that Tony Cingrani was once in the same position Howard finds himself in. That is to say Cingrani successfully made the transition from a reliever to a starter. But if Howard doesn't pan out as a starter, using the 19th overall pick in the draft for a reliever (who may not close) doesn't seem too wise. In fairness to Cincinnati's scouting department, the club has been awfully good at getting the right guys in the draft in recent years though. 

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