2017 MLB Draft Grades: Cincinnati Reds
Best Pure Hitter: SS Jeter Downs (1s) catches up to good fastballs, stays balanced at the plate, uses the whole field and smirks at sliders in the dirt like a three-year-old looking at brussel sprouts. Scouts are pretty confident that he will be an above-average hitter.
Best Power Hitter: RHP Hunter Greene(1) will put away his bat and focus on pitching full-time, but if he had remained a position player he had some of the best power in the class as scouts saw 30-plus home run potential thanks to his near top of the scale raw power.
Fastest Runner: OF Stuart Fairchild (2) is a plus runner who turns in times of 4.1 seconds from home to first. Best Defensive Player: Fairchild’s speed plays well in the outfield. He’s projected as an above-average to plus defender in center field.
Best Fastball: Greene has one of the best fastballs in draft history. He touched 102 mph in his first pro outing and sat 97-100 mph during the high school season. His delivery is clean and easy.
Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Jacob Heatherly (3) has a plus 77-82 mph curveball with 12-to-6 downer action.
Best Pro Debut: Fairchild hit .304/.393/.412 for Rookie-level Billings. Downs’ season was not as impressive statistically, but considering he was fresh out of high school, the shortstop’s .267/.370/.424 season was equally impressive.
Best Athlete: Greene was a first-round talent as a shortstop as well. His only lacking tool is his foot speed. Fairchild is an impressive athlete with plenty of speed and burst.
Jeter Downs Makes Debut In New Organization
Almost 15 months after getting traded to the Red Sox as the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts deal, Downs made his debut at Triple-A.
Most Intriguing Background: Greene’s father is a high-powered Los Angeles private investigator who has worked with A-level Hollywood stars. RHP Tyler Buffet (6) is cousins with famed billionaire Warren Buffet. RHP Mac Sceroler (5) counts among his uncles ex-big league RHPs Brett Laxton and Ben McDonald, the No. 1 overall pick in 1989.
Closest To The Majors: Greene should move fast for a high school pitcher thanks to his fastball and his consistent delivery.
Best Late-Round Pick: RHP John Ghyzel (18) is a promising reliever with a 94-97 mph fastball and a useful slider.
The One Who Got Away: The Reds would have loved to have signed RHP Tommy Mace (12). Instead he’ll head to Florida where he has a good chance to blossom into a top three round pick in a few years.