Best Tools: July 2 Prospects
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Reds Draft Preview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Leland Maddox (first draft: 2003).
2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 15th)
2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 20th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking third)
They went off the board to draft Mark Schramek, a senior at Texas-San Antonio whom they had selected in the 45th round following his junior season. The Reds called him the best hitting prospect in the draft, though most teams felt he fit more in the sixth to 10th rounds.
They had a predraft deal with Schramek, but when second-rounder Joey Votto signed a day after the draft for $600,000, Schramek asked for more money. Six months later, after Schramek considered going to Japan and signed a deal with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, the Reds finally signed him for their first and only offer of $200,000.
Their next three picks--two of whom, Kyle Edens and Kevin Howard, were college seniors--weren't signed until November when the fiscal calendar flipped. The Reds have used similar tactics to get players signed in the past, specifically with 2000 first-rounder Dustin Moseley.
Some in the organization didn't agree with the Gruler pick, and many of the Reds' scouts coveted Scott Kazmir more, but his rumored $4 million-plus asking price scared the Reds away. (Kazmir slid to No. 15 and signed with the Mets for $2.15 million)
The Reds won't have much more money to work with this year, but they hope things will go more smoothly. The first item to address is signing premium draft-and-follow Nick Markakis, who should command a bonus between $1.5 million-$1.8 million.
As the Reds' front office places increased emphasis on performance and feels pressure to get a quick return from the draft, they are likely to look at a polished college player like Ball State's Brad Snyder with the 14th pick. If they land Markakis, they might overdraft a player with a cheap price tag, and subsequent rounds would be similar to last year--with several college seniors on tap.
The Reds haven't drafted a college player with their first pick since Brandon Larson in 1997.