This past week Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams joined Tommy Thrall and Jim Day on the Reds Hot Stove League show. He talked about a variety of things, but Thrall did ask him about the upcoming draft on Wednesday and Thursday, and the difficulties they are facing due to how everything has played out this year.
“Our guys were very aggressive at getting looks early last year and over the winter, getting to know these players well particularly once it became apparent there might be a shut down on scouting,” said Williams. “We felt we were ahead of the competition in terms of getting information on players. We’re excited to see where that takes us.”
Williams continued, “because of the way the draft was shortened, we can add players after the 5 rounds, but we’re capped as an industry at $20,000 bonuses. So you’ll have a lot of players after those 5 rounds that might have been 5th-9th rounders who would have got decent bonuses who have tough decisions to make. We’ve seen some decent prospects pulling their names out of the draft.”
What about the undrafted prospects? William addressed that and how he hopes the Reds can have success in picking up some of those types of players.
“It’s going to introduce an element of recruiting that we’re going to be involved in. We’ll have the 5 rounds then we’ll have a quiet period of about 48 hours, and then we can go after the $20,000 targets,” said Williams. “We’ll be competing head-to-head with the other organizations, not so much on money, but with other things and that’s where I think it’ll be important to tell our story and see how we do kind of head-to-head on a level playing field with some of these other organizations. I think we have a great story to tell in the way our developmental philosophy on the pitching side took a huge step forward recently. The way we’ve been building up the minor leagues, I think it’s an exciting story to tell.”
With regards to the draft question specifically, you can listen to the podcast of the show below and starting around the 14-minute mark is when things are addressed.
The Reds will have six picks between Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday will feature the 1st round, beginning at 7pm on both ESPN and MLB Network and Cincinnati will only have one pick on the night – 12th overall. On Thursday rounds 2-5 will take place beginning at 5pm on ESPN2 and MLB Network. The Reds will have five picks on that day, picking up an additional pick following the 2nd round as a competitive balance pick.
Over the last six weeks we’ve written 30 scouting reports in our 2020 Major League Baseball Draft Scouting Report series (you can see them all here). On Monday we’ll have our version of The Top 30 prospects in the draft, along with additional information. Be sure to check back in for that.