Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Reds' Pitching Coming Along, Looking Ahead to Draft

by: Jack Ward
Staff Writer

Signs of hope! The Reds have been pitching (somewhat) and they have been hitting A lot! They had a streak of four straight starters going into, or completing, the seventh inning, which resulted in four straight victories for the team last week. Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce have been carrying the Reds offense lately. But Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Billy Hamilton, Tyler Holt and Eugenio Suarez have all be contributing. Great to see. The Reds should have swept the Nationals. In their lone loss on Sunday they had the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the ninth and only scored one run. That happens sometimes.

The pitching staff gave us much to be encouraged about. Dan Straily is locked in. Tony Cingrani and recently recalled Josh Smith were unscored upon in a combined four outings last week. John Lamb and Brandon Finnegan each had outstanding performances.

Anthony Desclafani will start Friday against the Oakland A’s. Who is out when Desclafani returns? I would guess Jon Moscot or Alfredo Simon. Rasiel Iglesias will go to the bullpen when he returns which is going to be this week. The reason is that the Reds want to lighten his workload since he has had two shoulder injuries in consecutive seasons.

The Reds have the 2nd pick in the draft this Thursday. This is the second time in team history and the first time since 1983 that they have had the second pick. According to info from the Reds Hall of Fame they selected a high school infielder named Kurt Stillwell number two in the 1983 Draft. Did you know the Reds debated for a couple of years between Barry Larkin and Kurt Stillwell as to who would be the Reds future shortstop? After the 1988 season, any lingering debate was put to rest when Stillwell was traded to the Royals. An All-Star in 1988, Stillwell ended up with a solid nine-year big league career.

I’m hoping that the Phillies who have the number one pick will skip on AJ Puk the left hander from Florida and the Reds can nab him. If the Phillies take him the word is the Reds will take Nick Senzel and third basemen from the university of Tennesee. Senzel led the Cape Cod league this spring in doubles, OPS and runs scored. He leads the SEC in doubles with 25 and OPS with 1.051! I like Corey Ray an outfielder from the University of Louisville. He has stolen 39 bases and hit 15 home runs this season for Louisville.

Jason Groome may be the best talent in the draft. He is 6-6 and 220 pounds and throws 96 miles per hour. Holy cow! And he’s just 17 years old! But big league teams don’t like to draft high school pitchers very high any more since they won’t be major league ready for four years at least and maybe more. He has signed with Vanderbilt. But if he is drafted in the top five he may skip college.

The Reds also have the number 35 pick. According to senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley, from an article by Mark Sheldon “Cincinnati has focused its scouting this spring on four or five players. The club will stick to its mantra of taking what it feels is the best available athlete. Whoever is taken by the Reds, even at the second pick, it might be a few years before that player reaches the Majors. It remains to be seen if that type of talent is out there this year who is that close to the big leagues, Buckley said. While there is no can’t miss prospect out there this is a very good draft full of some outstanding talent.”

Until next time,

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