Reds 2002 Draft Overview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Kasey McKeon (first year: 2001).
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 15th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 20th)
After several years of higher-than-average spending to sign amateurs, the organization found itself short on money to spend in the 2001 draft. The Reds took Jeremy Sowers with the 20th pick, in spite of his strong commitment to Vanderbilt and reported demands of more than $3 million to sway him from school. They did not come close to his price--and in fact many in the industry said they purposely drafted a player they couldn't sign--so this year they have an extra pick in the sandwich round (40th overall) as compensation.
The Reds already had to sign David Espinoza and Dane Sardinha to major league contracts after the 2000 draft in a money-saving move. Their contracts gave them no bonuses and allowed the club to stretch their guaranteed money over four years.
Kasey McKeon assumed the scouting director role in August 2000 and has done the best he could with the budget constraints. In addition to Sowers, the Reds failed to sign four of their next 12 picks last year, and focused almost solely on college players.
At least now the Reds should be able to start with a clean budget ledger. McKeon and the Reds brass have their sights set on a high-ceiling, high school pitcher again, though they intend to sign their guy this time around.
McKeon and general manager Jim Bowden have not hidden their affinity for righthander Chris Gruler. The Reds have sent seemingly everyone in the front office to his starts, including McKeon, Bowden, special assistant Al Goldis, assistant GM Doc Rodgers, farm director Tim Naehring and director of player personnel Leland Maddox. While they are bearing down on Gruler, some in the front office prefer lefthander Scott Kazmir.
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