The Cincinnati Reds have signed three more 2023 draft picks today. Sammy Stafura, Ethan O’Donnell, and Dominic Pitelli all signed today. The club also signed undrafted free agent Nick Sando. The three draft pick signings put the Reds at 14 of 21 picks signed.

While he was expected to sign, getting shortstop Sammy Stafura (draft day scouting report and info here) in the fold quickly may help the club negotiate with some of the remaining unsigned picks outside of the top 10 rounds. His bonus was for $2,497,500 (slot value was $1,998,200). Only high school right-handed pitcher Cole Schoenwtter remains unsigned within the top 10 rounds. Six picks after the 11th round remain unsigned. You can keep track with all of that over on the Cincinnati Reds Draft Tracker – which can be found right here.

Outfielder Ethan O’Donnell had some struggles as a freshman, but broke out at Northwestern as a sophomore and then transferred to Virginia where he continued to hit well, posting a .354/.448/.587 line with 18 steals in 2023. Shortstop Dominic Pitelli struggled some in both his freshman and sophomore years, but did show improvement from year one to year two. But this past year he took a big step forward as he hit .294/.480/.525 with more home runs – 13 – than he had hit in his first two seasons combined. (draft day scouting reports and info on O’Donnell and Pitelli here)

After spending four years at Santa Clara, Nick Sando went undrafted in 2023. His career was a bit up and down. Sando only pitched in four games as a freshman in 2020, but allowed just one run in 3.2 innings. In 2021 he made one start and 10 relief appearances, but struggled as he allowed 11 earned runs in 14.2 innings (6.75 ERA). As a junior the left-handed pitcher got plenty of playing time, making five starts and 15 relief appearances and posting a 2.81 ERA in 51.1 innings with 23 walks and 79 strikeouts. This past season he made 10 starts and five relief appearances, but he threw just 47.2 innings and posted a 7.36 ERA with 23 walks, 11 home runs (he had allowed just three in his career up to that point), and his strikeout rate plummeted as he fanned just 45 batters.

31 Responses

    • MK

      Wow 2nd round pick gets more than 1B. I see disgruntled prospect possible.

    • MK

      Difference is teams knew they could select Sando and didn’t; they didn’t know they could pick Friedl.

  1. mac624

    I know all won’t sign, but if we could get the first 16 picks in the fold, I’d be very happy.

    • MK

      love to see them sign #19 Hernandez. Need as many lefthanded pitching prospects as they can sign.

      • DaveCT

        I just read the Red Sox have 6 left handers in their bullpen.

  2. DaveCT

    The RML Draft Tracker now lists Stafura’s bonus as (overslot) $2,497,400. With my less than perfect tab of the underslot totals to date (ie Lowder, Floyd, Hollan), I have us still with 724,800 of underslot savings.

    Schoenwetter’s slot bonus is 640,300, so I’m thinking there’s ample cash for him more toward 3rd round money if needed.

    • DaveCT

      Hahahaha. Of course, if I had read the top line of Doug’s draft tracker, I’d have avoided the trouble of doing the math

  3. dbfromnva

    Counting the 5% overage they can offer Shonwetter 2 million not including anything the saved on the 6th and 7th picks.

    • JaxDan

      If I calculated correctly the Reds should be able to offer 1,529,010.00 for Schoenwetter.

      • Andrew

        Well, if the Reds sign all their remaining picks you’d be right. But they could just not show the late round picks and allocate those 150k buckets all to one player

    • DaveCT

      BA had Schoenveter projected as high as the 2nd round, given stamina and control issues. That would have him at a slot of $1,998,200.

      The current underslot savings we have to tack on to Schoenwetter’s slot of 640,300 is about 815,900, for a total of 1,456,200. The 5% overage would tack on a few extra dollars

      With the 3rd round slot of 975,100, splitting the difference between rounds 2 and 3 comes to 1,486,650. Hmmm.

      • Matt McWax

        Yeah that 1,998,200 figure makes sense as it matches the slot for his 43rd ranking on one list (which is where Stafura was taken). It is hopefully an upper bound on the negotiation.

      • BK

        Good analysis … I bet you’re right in the ballpark.

      • DaveCT

        BK, I am merely admiring the work being done. This scouting crew is on its game with the draft. And has been.

  4. dbfromnva

    The 5% overage adds about $690,000. I have the money available with the overage at about $2,145,000. So if he gets the slightly under 2 million slot that would leave around $150k to spread around the unsigned 11-20 round guys if they wished.

  5. Chris

    Doug, can you explain why anyone would sign for under slot value (like Lowder this year)? If someone is the 7th pick, I would think they’d demand to sign for the 7th pick value.

    • Doug Gray

      Lots of reasons. Someone can be selected higher than expected based on the amount of money they’ve told teams they will sign for. Someone can actually get more money despite signing for less based on where they get taxed at, which is not the same for all of the teams. It’s tougher for college guys – even juniors – to truly have all kinds of leverage. You gonna turn down a multi-million dollar bonus to go back to school, risk underperformance, injury, and also delay your professional career over 7% of your bonus that in theory could have you set for the rest of your life?

      Their only real leverage is “if you don’t pay me, then you lose this pool money”. While that stinks, it’s not the same kind of leverage that the teams have.

  6. TJ

    Doug, I would also add a lot of these teams discuss $$$ or the orbit of $$$ prior to the draft. The Reds have an idea of what it would take to sign certain players. If Lowder falls to the 9th pick (just 2 spots), the slot value is $5.7mm. That is what he signed for. If he fall 3 or more spots, it’s worse. IMO, the only guys with leverage are the HS players, and even those guys don’t have huge leverage at the top of the 1st. The numbers are too big to risk.

    • Doug Gray

      Right. The teams know within a very small amount of what it’s going to take to get these guys to sign.

  7. Optimist

    To pick up on Doug’s comment above, looks like only 3 HS players left – the ones who may have the most leverage since presumably they have college offers in hand to play against whatever the Reds may offer them.

    Those 3 are Schoenwetter, Henley and Gaeckle. The priority is obviously Schoenwetter, and it seems they are set there, having determined what he’d need, and what they have remaining to offer from the slot savings.

    Henley seems fairly placed in the draft, so there’s probably little incentive on either side to move away from the slot $$$.

    Gaeckle is clearly the long shot pick from the Reds, but if they have enough left, or care to get into penalty territory, they may make it an interesting choice for Gaeckle.

    With all of that, it’s a very good choice to use the lower picks for such long shots – particularly if they’ve done advance work and found there’s a non-zero chance of landing one.

    • TJ

      I reality teams never go above the 5% over slot. The penalty for up to 5% is a 75% fine of the overage. The total penaly for that overslot under 5% for the Reds this year would be a little more then $500,000.

      Spending between 5% to 10% above the bonus pool threshold costs a the team a first round pick, and the penalty reaches two first round picks at 15%. There is a minimal chance the Reds will ever forego a future 1st round pick to sign any player that puts them in that position, specifically one drafted in the 20th round. That player would have to be a high 1st round talent because that is the true cost.

    • Greenfield Red

      I think Stock hit the nail on the head the other day when he said Gaeckle was Schoenwetter insurance. I think the bulk of remaining money will go to 1 or the other. Seems unlikely to sign both

      • Optimist

        This is true, and it sets up an interesting gambit if they play them off one another – Schoenwetter a top 50 ranking, Gaeckle at 100ish.

        Both unlikely, but it would be interesting.

        TJ – they’d never get to losing a pick, but they may go into the 0-5% penalty range. That’s all I was thinking.

  8. dbfromnva

    The Reds pot is a shade under 13.8 million so their overage is about 690,000. If you add that to the 810,000 they have left and Schoenwetters 640k slot you have around 2.15 million left for him and to sprinkle around the 11-20 round guys. He was rated the 43rd best player by MLB so I am thinking he is looking for that slot which is around 2 million. So I think he gets signed but that doesn’t leave much for the other guys.

  9. Joe K

    At this stage, do you foresee The Reds signing any of the 6 remaining unsigned draft choices?