Reds have plenty of options with second pick

Reds have plenty of options with second pick

CINCINNATI -- The 2016 Draft will take place today through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Reds, whose first selection is the No. 2 overall pick.

In about 50 words
It's the second time in the franchise's history, and the first time since 1983, that the Reds have the second pick overall. With the team in a rebuild mode seeking to invest heavily on the amateur market and develop its own players through the system, this pick could carry big ramifications.

The scoop
The 2016 Draft lacks the wealth of prized picks with no Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg-type players that are consensus top selections. The Reds have the luxury of losing only one player they might want on the Draft board ahead of them, depending on what the Phillies do with the first overall pick. According to senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley, 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.

First-round buzz
Recent mock drafts by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis have the Reds taking Nick Senzel, a third baseman from the University of Tennessee. However, if the Phillies do not take University of Florida left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk, as predicted in the mock Draft, he might be too good for Cincinnati to pass up. Other players that might be on the radar include outfielder Kyle Lewis from Mercer University and shortstop Delvin Perez from Puerto Rico.

Top 2016 MLB Draft Prospects

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each pick in the top 10 rounds comes with an assigned value, and the total for each of a team's choices covers what it can spend without penalty in those rounds. Any bonus money in excess of $100,000 given to an individual player selected in rounds 11-40 also counts against a club's bonus pool. The amounts rise each year in accordance with Major League Baseball's revenue growth, and the total increased by 4.62 percent compared to 2015.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax, plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

Because the Reds have both the No. 2 pick and the No. 35 overall selection for winning the Competitive Balance Lottery, they will have the largest bonus pool at $13,923,700 to sign their 11 picks.

For the No. 2 pick in this year's Draft, the slot value is $7,762,900. The No. 35 pick is valued at $1,837,200.

Shopping list
Via recent trades and the past few Drafts, the Reds have focused on replenishing their pitching depth. Several pitching prospects are in the system that the organization is very high on, including a few at the Triple-A and Double-A levels that are knocking on the door to the big leagues. Where the depth is lacking is with big-time hitters. That doesn't mean Cincinnati won't take pitching with its upper-round picks.

"You may think you have a ton of pitching, but you never have as much as you think," Buckley said. "Look at all the guys who are hurt this year. It happens to every team. You never shy away from really good pitching."

Recent Draft history

Trend watch
On the pitching front, the Reds have spent the past few Drafts loading up on power arms. They have not been afraid to take pitchers that have been relievers or closers for their college team and try to develop them as starters. It's something they've done with pitchers like Michael Lorenzen, for example.

Rising fast
Lefty starting pitcher Amir Garrett, Cincinnati's No. 4 prospect, is dominating at Double-A Pensacola this season. Garrett was a 22nd-round selection in 2011, but he had higher-round talent. When Garrett was taken, he was also a college basketball player who didn't have significant baseball experience. Since giving up hoops two years ago, he has flourished while steadily moving up.

Top Prospects: Garrett, CIN

Cinderella story
Right-hander Sal Romano, taken one round after Garrett in 2011, is the organization's No. 15 prospect. Although he doesn't have great numbers in 2016 for Pensacola, the organization likes his size and power right arm.

In The Show
Homegrown players are all over the Reds' current roster that were drafted and developed from within the organization. That includes former first-rounders like Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey, second-round selections like Joey Votto, Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton and others such as Tucker Barnhart, Jon Moscot, Tony Cingrani and Lorenzen.

The Reds' recent top picks
2015: Tyler Stephenson, C, Class A Advanced Daytona
2014: Nick Howard, RHP, Class A Advanced Daytona
2013: Phillip Ervin, OF, Double-A Pensacola
2012: Nick Travieso, RHP, Double-A Pensacola
2011: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Triple-A Louisville

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.