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Reds 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Replenishing A Shallow Cincinnati Farm System

Image credit: Nick Lodolo (Photo by Dan Arnold)

Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.

Also of note: 

2020 MLB Draft Prospect Rankings | Updated 2020 Mock Draft | Baseball America’s Draft Database


2019 RECORD: 75-87

STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The Reds traded many of their top prospects (Taylor Trammell, Jeter Downs, Josiah Gray) for veterans over the past year in an attempt to end their six-year playoff drought. Those moves, plus injuries (Hunter Greene) and graduations (Nick Senzel), have yielded one of baseball’s most shallow farm systems.

See the Reds Top 30 Prospects. 

BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: C Yasmani Grandal (first round, 2010). Grandal stands out in a largely unfruitful decade of drafting for the Reds. They traded him as a prospect to the Padres in the deal for Mat Latos, however, and never received the direct benefit. Latos did give the Reds three solid seasons as a starter, helping them reach back-to-back postseasons in 2012-13.

WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Nick Travieso (first round, 2012). The Reds drafted Travieso 14th overall in 2012. He needed five seasons to reach Double-A and missed all of 2017 and 2018 with shoulder injuries. The Reds released him last year. Meanwhile, the five players taken immediately after him included Corey Seager, Michael Wacha and Lucas Giolito.

DEEPEST POSITION(S): Righthander. The Reds aren’t particularly deep at any position, but they at least have some prospect righthanders with potential. Greene is a high-octane flamethrower when healthy, while Tony Santillan, Lyon Richardson, Vladimir Gutierrez and Noah Davis have all shown flashes of promise. With Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer in the majors, righthanded pitching is where the Reds have the most top-to-bottom talent.

WEAKEST POSITION(S): First base. Ibandel Isabel is the only first baseman who ranks among the Reds Top 30 Prospects, and he posted a 42 percent strikeout rate at Double-A last season. None of the Reds top prospects project to move to first base either, putting even more of an onus on Joey Votto to reverse his two-year decline.

DRAFT TRENDS: The Reds hold the 12th overall pick this year, their first time picking outside the top 10 since 2015. They’ve selected a college player with their top pick in three of the last four years.

2020 BONUS POOL RANK: 11th

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