Today’s the day, folks. There may not be baseball being played, but that doesn’t mean the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft isn’t happening. It does, however, mean it’s not happening like we usually see it. This year the draft will only be 5 rounds instead of 40. The draft will take place today and tomorrow. Tonight at 7pm ET the 1st round will take place on both ESPN and MLB Network. Tomorrow beginning at 5pm ET on MLB Network and ESPN 2 rounds 2-5 will air live.
What are the mock drafts saying for the Cincinnati Reds?
Baseball America’s Mock Draft version 7.0 was posted on Monday. In the most recent version they have the Cincinnati Reds selecting Austin Hendrick, a high school outfielder from Imperial, Pennsylvania out of West Allegheny High School.
The Reds select 12th overall tonight. Austin Hendrick was the 12th rated player in my Top 30 Draft Prospects. Seems like a good fit. You can read the full report I wrote on him here.
Fangraphs also released an updated mock draft on Monday. Eric Longenhagen, the lead Fangraphs prospect evaluator also has Cincinnati selecting Austin Hendrick, noting that the Reds haven’t shied away from drafting older high school hitters in the recent past (Hendrick is going to turn 19 next week).
MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo released his latest mock draft on Tuesday morning. He too had the Reds taking a high school outfielder, but it wasn’t Austin Hendrick. Mayo has Cincinnati selecting Pete Crow-Armstrong out of Harvard-Westlake High School in California. He was the 14th prospect on my Top 30 Draft Prospect list and you can read the full report on him here.
ESPN’s most recent mock draft was from two weeks ago, but Kiley McDaniel also had the Reds taking Austin Hendrick in that one. If you’re starting to see a pattern here, you aren’t alone.
An unsavory rumor
R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports tweeted this out early on Tuesday morning:
Heard from multiple front office types that a team with a top-10 pick is at least considering punting the draft. That would include taking a player in the first round who they don’t intend to sign. (They would still offer the minimum required to net a comp pick for next year.)
— R.J. Anderson (@r_j_anderson) June 9, 2020
This leaves me with so many questions and very few answers. First, if this is about saving money, this doesn’t really save much money – at least for 2020. The most any player is going to get paid that is drafted this year is $100,000 (50% of what’s remaining due is paid out in July of 2021, with the other portion paid out in July of 2022). At most, this saves a team $500,000 this year if they were to punt every pick.
But that’s only the beginning of it. Players that are drafted can’t become free agents if they refuse to sign. And if the team is only going to offer the minimum 40% in order to get the same pick +1 spot in the draft next year, it’s leaving the player without options simply because the team wanted to be cheap. If a team truly is going to go this route, they need to be sure they are drafting players who have zero interest at all in signing and playing baseball. Doing anything else would be beyond pitiful as it would be taking away the livelihood of someone to enter their desired job market simply because a team wanted to be cheap.
2020 MLB Draft Resources
Baseball America’s Top 500 Draft Prospects (sub required)
My Top 30 Draft Prospects (free)
My Scouting Reports on potential first rounders (33 in total – free)
The Athletic’s Top 100 Draft Prospects (sub required)
What’s coming today?
Well, starting around 11am (give or take an hour), this post will be updated with various draft news and notes, as well as any updated mock drafts that come in during the day.
While it’s not exactly going to be an “all questions answered” thread, I will be hanging out in the comments section today and trying to answer what I can up until draft time. Once the Reds make their selection there will be a new article created with as much information as possible on the selection.
Draft Day Update #1
It’s 10am and the big guys have all released their mock drafts this morning. Baseball America, ESPN, and MLB Pipeline have all been on top of things this morning. Let’s take a look at what each publication is saying.
There’s a change from their latest mock draft for the Cincinnati Reds, which had them selecting high school outfielder Austin Hendrick. This morning that’s been switched to Louisville left-handed pitcher Reid Detmers. He’s put up absurd numbers since the start of 2019 for the Cardinals, throwing 135.1 innings with 39 walks and 215 strikeouts while posting an ERA of 2.53. His stuff doesn’t quite match the numbers, though. Detmers rated 16th on my Top 30 draft prospects list and you can read his full scouting report here.
Kiley McDaniel had his final mock draft published at 7AM ET over at ESPN and he decided to go for the first two rounds. In the first round the former Atlanta Braves front office member has the Reds selecting Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad. He’s got big time power, but he’s also got some big swing-and-miss concerns going on. He rated as the 18th best prospect in the draft in my top 30. You can read his full scouting report here.
In the second round McDaniel has Cincinnati selecting right-handed pitcher from Florida, Tommy Mace. If that name sounds familiar, it should. The Reds selected him in the 12th round in 2017 and thought they had a way to get him signed, but couldn’t quite meet his asking price at the last second. He flashes good stuff, but hasn’t been a stand out with the Gators. He posted a 4.16 ERA – mostly out of the bullpen – in 2018. In the 2019 season his ERA jumped to 5.32 in 16 starts. This season he posted a 1.67 ERA in 4 starts. You can see his stats here for his college career.
Both Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis have published their mock drafts today at MLB.com. They both have the Reds selecting right-handed pitcher Cade Cavalli out of Oklahoma. He ranked 23rd on my top 30 prospect list. He’s got big time stuff, but his performance has been inconsistent at best as he’s struggled to throw strikes prior to 2020 and with big fastball velocity, hitters still seem to see the pitch well. He’s only thrown 101.1 innings at Oklahoma and he’s walked 53 batters with 114 strikeouts in that span to go along with a 4.09 career ERA. You can read his full scouting report here.
Draft Day Update #2
Eric Longenhagen has just updated his mock draft at Fangraphs. He still has the Reds selecting Heston Kjerstad, but thinks if outfielder Robert Hassell is there that he’ll be the pick. If neither are there, then right-handed pitcher Mick Abel would be the go to.