Third baseman Brandon Larson, taken with the 14th overall pick in 1997, batted .179 in parts of three big league seasons and eventually re-joined former general manager Jim Bowden in the Nationals organization this spring. Ty Howington, the 1999 first-round pick, was derailed by injuries and released during Spring Training. The 2000 top pick, David Espinosa, was dealt to the Detroit organization in 2002. Pitcher Jeremy Sowers, the 2001 first-round selection, never signed with the Reds.It's not all about the first pick, however. "We want to have a productive draft," Krivsky said. "We want all of our picks to do well. The spotlight is on the first pick, but you can't ignore the 40th. I want us to have a deep draft." While we await the Reds' decision on this year's first-round selection, here's what the previous regime -- led by former GM Dan O'Brien -- did with the last three top picks: OF Jay Bruce, 2005 (12th overall): The 19-year-old batted .266 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in his first pro season in the Gulf Coast League and Billings at the rookie levels. This year, the left-handed hitter is with low Class A Dayton and off to a decent start. The organization favors Bruce as a corner outfielder and likes his maturity and ability to hit to all fields. RHP Homer Bailey, 2004 (7th overall): Considered the best prospect in the entire system, the 20-year-old could be the one who ends the Reds' drought for developing quality pitching. Bailey spent last season at low Class A Dayton and is currently with high Class A Sarasota. Throwing in the mid-90s, the right-hander showed during his first Spring Training this year that he could get big league hitters out now. Credit Krivsky and farm director Johnny Almaraz for not trying to rush him through the system too soon. RHP Ryan Wagner, 2003 (14th overall): The first Reds player to ever reach the big leagues the same year he was drafted, the reliever appears stalled in Triple-A Louisville. The 23-year-old is off to a rough start in 2006 after he was one of the Reds' last roster cuts in camp. Wagner often has strong springs, but the organization feels he has a track record of not being as aggressive with hitters in games that count.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.