New Draft Rules Help Get Reds Picks On The Field

CINCINNATI—The first year under the new draft rules, including the July 13 signing deadline, went swimmingly for the Reds.

"I think generally, it worked a lot better," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We got our guys signed right away for the most part, other than a few guys who were playing in the College World Series. Those got done quickly too. We just gave them time off.

"I think the earlier sign date and that fact that the system's set up how it is makes it much, much easier to sign them."

The Reds signed their first 16 picks well before the deadline and had most of them playing in the minors. That included righthander Nick Travieso, their first-round pick out of high school in Florida, who signed on June 25. He actually agreed to terms on a $2 million bonus ($350,000 below slot) earlier that that, but the Reds delayed the announcement while his family went on vacation.

Travieso, the 14th pick overall, became the earliest first-rounder to get into camp since Devin Mesoraco in 2007. The four first rounders since—Yonder Alonso, Mike Leake, Yasmani Grandal and Robert Stephenson—all signed right at the old mid-August deadline. Alonso played six games the year he signed, Grandal eight, and Leake did not make his pro debut until the Arizona Fall League the year he signed.

Stephenson did not play at all last year. He made his pro debut in mid-June this season at Rookie-level Billings and has pitched well, with a 2.15 ERA in 21 innings. He had allowed 16 hits, eight walks and struck out 24.

"A guy like Stephenson, if he signed earlier and played, he might be at (low Class A) Dayton this year," Jocketty said. "That's what we try to tell these guys. We always tell them that, but they don't always listen."


• The Reds' worst-kept secret ended the day after the All-Star Game when the club announced that shortstop Billy Hamilton was being promoted to Double-A Pensacola. Hamilton, 21, hit .323/.413/.439 at high Class A Bakersfield and stole 104 bases in 125 attempts. Clearing room for Hamilton at Double-A, shortstop Didi Gregorius was bumped up to Triple-A Louisville. Gregorius hit .278/.344/.373 at Pensacola.

• Utilityman Kristopher Negron tore his ACL and had season-ending knee surgery. Negron hit .218/.287/.342 at Triple-A Louisville and got a brief callup earlier this season.