Draft Day

It's draft time again and the success of the 2012 Reds left them without a pick until near the end of the first round. After two years of selecting high school pitchers with their top pick they pulled the trigger on Phillip Ervin, an outfielder out of Samford University.

During draft day Cincinnati found themselves in an unusual position of not having a selection in the first 26 picks. That's a welcome handicap because it's a result of success in the prior season. The last two years the Reds used their first picks for high school pitchers. When their turn finally came this year they invested it on a college hitter.

Samford's Phillip Ervin caught the Reds eye with the 27th overall selection. Perhaps you could consider him overlooked after waiting until nearly the end of the first round to hear his name called. If that be the case it's not the first time for Ervin. He wanted to play for one of the SEC school in his home state of Alabama but instead ended up at Samford where he's coming off a year of hitting .337 with eleven home runs and 40 RBI in 55 games. He knows how to swipe a base too and was successful in 21 of 23 steal attempts. Prior to his junior season he won MVP of the Cape Cod Summer League. Success in the draft is crucial for all MLB franchises, especially small markets. Overlooked or not he merited a precious investment from the Reds, and was picked higher than any player coming out of Alabama or Auburn this season.

Cincinnati is now stocking up on outfielders after also adding Jesse Winker and Jeff Gelalich to the pipeline from supplemental first round selections last year. In recent history the Reds have appeared to have a strategy of going after the best talent available with less regard to need. They've also shown a willingness to deal early round selections for veteran talent. 08 first-rounder Yonder Alonso had climbed to the top of their development system only to find himself blocked by Joey Votto at first base. 2010 first-rounder Yasmani Grandal was the second catcher in four years taken with their top choice. Those two along with 09 supplemental first-rounder Brad Boxberger were packaged in a deal to San Diego to return pitcher Mat Latos.

Ervin is a 5'10"/200# centerfielder out of Leroy, AL that bats and throws right-handed. Reds senior director of scouting Chris Buckley described him as a five-tool talent. Prior to Samford he played both football and baseball in high school. A torn ACL from the gridiron likely influenced his absence from the draft before going to college. Buckley also made some optimistic comments on his sign-ability which was not surprising after his club just invested a first round pick. His position in the draft was close to the #24 ranking that was estimated of him by Scout.com. Some other analysts also had him in their lists in the early-20's range.

The slot value assigned to the 27th pick is $1,812,500 and the Reds have a $6,046,700 bonus pool. First impression would be to assume nothing short of a total breakdown in negotiation would have the outfielder returning for senior season at Samford. Instead he's probably now thinking about a trip to Billings some time before his 21st birthday next month.

The Reds also fared well in a competitive balance lottery and got a selection in the early part of it, before the second round. They used the 38th overall selection on Michael Lorenzen out of Cal St. Fullerton. Lorenzen was an outfielder and closer for the Titans and the Reds drafted him as a pitcher. Given recent history and the high selection there might be some notions to try him as a starter in the minors.

During the first day of the draft Cincinnati also picked up Kevin Franklin in the second round with the 67th overall selection. He is a third baseman out of Gahr (CA) High School. Their two previous second-rounders, Tanner Rahier (2012) and Gabriel Rosa (2011) have both seen nearly all of their action at the hot corner since starting their minor league careers.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds had an off-day and will open a big series at home on Friday against division-leading St. Louis.

Louisville allowed four runs in the third inning and another four in the eighth as they lost 9-3 to visiting Norfolk. Daniel Corcino had another rough outing and failed to make it out of the fifth inning. He was charged with five runs and the loss. Catcher Corky Miller took the mound and pitched two perfect innings at the end of the game. Emmanuel Burriss went 4-4 and got a hit in all three run-producing innings for the Bats. Denis Phipps and Kristopher Negron added two hits each.

Pensacola made up for a rainout at Montgomery on Wednesday by sweeping the Biscuits 2-1 and 6-5 in a doubleheader. A two-run single by Travis Mattair in the sixth inning gave the Wahoos all the runs they needed. The fish had only four hits in the contest and Mattair also reached on a walk. Josh Smith got the win by allowing only one unearned run in five innings. Lee Hyde and Loek Van Mil both tossed a scoreless inning with Van Mil getting the save.

In the second game Pensacola scored a run in the sixth inning off a solo homer by Theo Bowe for the 6-5 win. They took an early lead in the first when Ryan LaMarre doubled in a run and later scored on an error. Bowe tied the game in the second with a sac fly. Ray Chang gave his team another lead in the fifth with a two-run single. Chang reached safely with two hits and a walk. Bowe and Devin Lohman added a couple of hits each. LaMarre reached twice with a hit and walk. Shaun Ellis got the start and no decision after he was charged with four runs without finishing the third inning. Drew Hayes relieved him and tossed one-plus innings without a run allowed. Chris Manno allowed one run in one inning pitched but had good timing to get the win. Lee Hyde finished with two scoreless frames for the save.

Bakersfield scored three in the seventh in a 5-2 home win over Lake Elsinore. They put the first run of the game across in the third inning from a Juan Perez double followed by a Marquez Smith single. Perez put his team ahead again when he led off the sixth with a home run. The three-run rally included a double by Juan Silverio, triple by Juan Silva, and homer off the bat of Chris Berset. Perez had two of the seven Blaze hits and also reached via a walk. Silva reached twice with a hit and a walk. Carlos Contreras got the start and lowered his ERA, but got no decision. He allowed only one unearned run while scattering seven hits and three walks across five innings. Jake Johnson relieved him and allowed one run in three innings for the win. Pat Doyle retired the sides in order in the ninth for the save.

Dayton fell behind when they allowed four in the second inning and never really threatened in a 6-1 loss at Bowling Green. Zach Vincej gave the Dragons a brief lead with an RBI-single in the second. Jesse Winker reached safely three times with a couple of hits and a walk while Joe Hudson added two singles. Sal Romano got the start and the loss by allowing four runs in five innings. Wandy Peralta entered in the seventh and did not allow a run while finishing the game.

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