Reds Draft Report Card

Analyzing Cincinnati's 2008 draft class




QUICK TAKE
The Reds decided they couldn't pass on Yonder Alonso's bat even with Joey Votto's excellent rookie season in Cincinnati. Spending a little extra helped land two needed, intriguing arms in Fairel and Sulberan, whose success could determine the strength of this class.
POSITION PLAYERS

Best Pure Hitter: 1B Yonder Alonso (1) had the best combination of a short swing, plate discipline and strength in the draft. His polished approach led to 140 walks in his final two seasons against just 66 strikeouts.  >>  Best Power Hitter: Alonso overpowers balls to all fields and slugged better than .700 in each of his final two seasons at Miami.  >>  Fastest Runner: OF Theodis Bowe (21), a 5-foot-9 Delaware prep product, has been timed getting to first base in 3.9 seconds from the left side, even quicker on bunts. OF Andrew Means (11), a wide receiver at Indiana, gets to first in 4.0 seconds from the right side.  >>  Best Defensive Player: OF David Sappelt (9) has the speed and arm strength to play an above-average center field. Alonso's knowledge of the game helps him play a smooth, savvy first base.

PITCHERS

Best Fastball: RHP Zach Stewart (3) brings 96 mph heat out of the bullpen, with excellent sink. RHP Juan Carlos Sulbaran (30) sits in the 91-94 mph range as a starter at his best, while RHP Tyler Cline (4) was touching 94 mph before a pair of freak injuries sidelined him for instructional league.  >>  Best Secondary Pitch: Sulbaran's curveball is at least average with the potential to get better. LHP Matt Fairel (35) throws his above-average curveball and solid changeup for strikes. RHP Clayton Schunick (5) had a terrible debut but has shown a plus split-finger fastball.

ODDS AND ENDS

Best Pro Debut: 2B Alex Buchholz (6) dominated the Rookie-level Pioneer League, batting .396/.471/.604 while missing a month with a broken left hand. OF Byron Wiley (22) hit .227 in the spring for Kansas State but bounced back as a pro, hitting .328/.427/.635 at Billings.  >>  Best Athlete: Wiley wins among position players, while Stewart has uncommon agility and speed for a pitcher. He fields his position well and repeats his delivery.  >>  Most Intriguing Background: Sulbaran pitched for the Netherlands Antilles during Haarlem Honkbal Week this summer, giving up only one hit against Cuba in six innings and earning a spot on the Dutch Olympic team. Means was nearing 90 career catches for Indiana's football team and led the club in receiving yards this fall. Unsigned OF Patrick White (49) remains West Virginia's quarterback four years after being a fourth-round pick of the Angels out of high school. He's been drafted three times since then.  >>  Closest To The Majors: Alonso signed a major league contract and might be ready by the end of 2009. Stewart also should be a fast mover.  >>  Best Late-Round Pick: Sulbaran, the best starting pitcher the Reds drafted, signed for $500,000.  >>  The One Who Got Away: LHP Eric Pfisterer (15) should be an impact two-way talent for Duke. The Reds liked his three-pitch mix on the mound.