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Draft Preview: Reds stick with best available

Draft Preview: Reds stick with best available

CINCINNATI -- No one could have predicted that pitcher Mike Leake would go from college pitcher straight to the Majors this spring after he was the eighth overall pick by the Reds in the 2009 Draft.

As he prepares for the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Reds scouting director Chris Buckley will make this prediction: History won't repeat itself so soon.

"I wouldn't expect it to happen again," Buckley said. "That doesn't happen too often."

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This time around, the Reds have the 12th overall selection and will stick to their mantra of selecting the best available player. It doesn't matter what the needs are now because they may not be needs three to five years from now.

The Reds last picked 12th in 2005 and ended up with a pretty good player that year -- outfielder Jay Bruce.

Draft Central

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live from MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, June 7, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.

MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.

Coverage for Rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and Rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.

REDS FIRST-ROUND PICKS
Year
Player
Current team
2009Mike LeakeReds
2008Yonder AlonsoAAA Louisville
2007Devin MesoracoAA Carolina
2006Drew StubbsReds
2005Jay BruceReds
Here's a glance at what the Reds have in store as the First-Year Player Draft approaches:

In about 50 words
Once considered one of the bottom organizations in terms of developing players, the Reds now have a better reputation and a deeper talent pool. The franchise has embraced the notion of building with homegrown players. That has become evident with four former first-rounders on the current roster in Leake, Bruce, Drew Stubbs and Homer Bailey, joined by many more of their own developed players like Joey Votto, Chris Heisey, Chris Dickerson and Paul Janish.

The scoop
"It's an average Draft. It's a little tougher because we're a little deeper at 12th this year than eighth, where we were last year. Now we're at the mercy of 11 teams. That makes it tougher. I'm very confident that a lot of people we like will be selected ahead of us." -- Reds director of scouting Chris Buckley

First-round buzz
The Reds have been linked to a few players in mock Drafts, including that of MLB.com's Mayo, which recently had them picking outfielder Bryce Brentz out of Middle Tennessee State. If he is still around, Georgia Tech pitcher Deck McGuire is someone the club likes, as is Univ. of Texas-Arlington outfielder Michael Choice. An intriguing possibility is Ohio State right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers, a Cincinnati native who attended Moeller High School.

Shopping list
Leake's success as a sinkerball pitcher that keeps the ball down is among the reasons the Reds will place a higher premium on ground-ball pitchers. Great American Ball Park is a homer haven, but pitchers can succeed if they can keep the ball on the ground.

Trend watch
The Reds have trended towards taking college talent in most of their Drafts in the past few years. Budget size often has a lot to do with the age of the players taken. High school players with college scholarships often require higher bonuses than players already in college. As a small market team with a smaller budget than teams like the Yankees or Red Sox, the Reds are more likely to spend less when possible and that means going on campus.

Recent top picks
2009: RHP Mike Leake, Arizona State -- Not only is he already in the Majors as the Reds' fifth starter, he's an early candidate for National League Rookie of the Year.
2008: 1B Yonder Alonso, Univ. of Miami -- Taken seventh overall, Alonso is blocked at first base by Joey Votto. The Reds are trying to make Alonso a left fielder and he's back with Triple-A Louisville.
2007: Catcher Devin Mesoraco -- A high school pick taken 15th, he might have finally found himself as a hitter. He batted .335 with 10 homers in 43 games at Class A Lynchburg and just received a promotion to Double-A Carolina.

Rising fast
Right-handed pitcher Matt Klinker, a West Chester, Ohio, native and 15th round pick in 2007, is back at Triple-A Louisville after he started the season at Double-A. Klinker was 4-3 with a 1.63 ERA in nine starts at Carolina.

Cinderella story
Left-handed pitcher Matt Fairel was a 35th-round pick in 2008 and has reached Double-A Carolina after he was 11-8 with a 3.02 ERA in 27 starts combined over both levels in Class A last season. He was 5-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 10 starts at Class A Lynchburg before his promotion up one more level.

In The Show
With the exception of Leake, no one from the last three Draft classes has reached the Majors yet for the Reds. Going back to 2006, first-round pick Drew Stubbs is the starting center fielder and 17th-round selection outfielder Chris Heisey has impressed since his first big league call-up on April 30.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }