The 2021 MLB draft is set to begin on July 11 and conclude on July 13. The Cincinnati Reds are slated to make their first pick at number 17. They were also granted a compensation pick at number 30 as a result of losing a qualifying free agent(Trevor Bauer). They were also given a competitive balance pick at number 35. Competitive balance picks are given to the 10 smallest market teams.
The recent history of the Reds top draft picks is filled with production and promise. With the MLB draft quickly approaching, lets take a look into the Reds last five years worth of first picks.
2016 MLB Draft
With the 2nd overall pick, the Reds selected a polished 3rd baseman, Nick Senzel out of the University of Tennessee. Senzel was fresh off a stellar junior season where he posted a .354/.456/.598 slash line. This was paired with 25 doubles, 25 stolen bases and an insane 40:21 BB:K ratio.
Senzel was drafted and almost always viewed as an infielder through his entire life and his first few years in the Reds farm system. For a multitude of reasons, Senzel was moved to the outfield.
In his time with the Reds, Senzel has been riddled with injuries. When healthy, Senzel has been a productive top of the lineup hitter. He has a very high ceiling and the type of versatility that provides him and the Reds with even more value.
2017 MLB Draft
Again with the 2nd overall pick, the Reds selected an electric RHP, Hunter Greene, out of Notre Dame High School. Greene, by many, was seen as the number 1 prospect in the draft. This was largely due to his 100 plus MPH fastball. Coming from a prime aged MLB pitcher, 100 MPH is impressive. Coming from a 17-year-old high school draft prospect, 100 MPH is unheard of.
Greene’s path to the big leagues was delayed when he had the vaunted Tommy John surgery in 2019. Since his return, he has been nothing shy of impressive. He bulldozed through Double-A baseball and was recently moved up to Triple-A where he has struggled a bit more than he is used to. His ERA is sitting just above a 6.00 in Triple-A, but it should slowly change back to form as he adjusts to the more developed hitters.
Greene is seen as one of the most exciting prospects the Reds have to offer. As he continues to develop as a pitcher, his potential just seems to rise even higher. Through these constant developments, it is easy to see his MLB debut is looming close.
2018 MLB Draft
With the 5th overall pick in the 2018 draft, the Reds selected 3rd baseman Jonathan India, a University of Florida product. India was seen as a polished and complete hitter, with the ability to reach base in a multitude of ways, as seen by his .497 OBP in his final year of high school.
India is one of the recent prospects that has been given the chance to prove himself in the big leagues. He has thrived in that given opportunity. India has been one of the best rookies in baseball in the first half of the season. He was moved to the lead off spot and has done nothing but excel in that role. He currently leads the Reds, a top tier offense, in OBP, sitting at .392 before the July 8-11 series with the Brewers.
India has looked like a future star. He has come through in clutch situations and provided the Reds with a spark from the leadoff spot. If this Reds team is going to make any playoffs runs in near future, India is going to be a key part of that team.
2019 MLB Draft
With the 7th overall pick, the Reds selected a low risk, high ceiling left-handed pitcher, Nick Lodolo, from TCU. Lodolo was also a first round pick in the 2016 draft, where the Pirates selected him out of high school. Lodolo didn’t sign.
Thankfully for the Reds, Lodolo is seen as possibly their top pitching prospect. Lodolo has dominated Double-A baseball for the majority of this season. As of late, Lodolo has dealt with blister problems that have sidelined him for a few starts.
He made a start a few days ago, pitching two innings and allowing no hits and no runs. The two inning limit was scheduled and leaves no room for concern. He is headed to represent the Reds in the All-Star Futures Game.
2020 MLB Draft
In the most recent draft, with the 12th overall pick, the Reds selected Austin Hendrick, an outfielder from West Alleghany High School. Hendrick is valued as one of the highest potential prospects in the entire draft. He has one of the highest power rankings, 70, out of the entire draft class, regardless of age. And he is only 20 years old.
It is much harder to tell with Hendrick whether he will be as successful in professional baseball as the other recent first picks. The potential is there though. As a kid born in 2001, Hendrick has plenty of time to develop and thrive through the minor leagues before the Reds even consider calling him up to the big leagues.
Having seen such success in the recent years of the draft, it would be hard, as a Reds fan, to not be excited about this years draft. With three top 40 picks, the Reds have a great chance of selecting at least one future star.
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