Draft Rounds 31-40

The odds are against the late-round selections for advancing professionally and many will opt to go to college to improve their chances in a future draft. The Reds started the final rounds by taking their chances at a local college-bound talent and finished with a couple of picks that put up some attention-grabbing stats against competition in the northeast.

Each team concluded the draft with low investments on late picks. MLB team's interest varies for signing many of the late selections and high school players often find college a more attractive option for an opportunity to improve their draft position in the future. The Reds started by making an aggressive pick on a college-bound Cincinnatian and finished with a few pitching projects and a couple of prospects/suspects that finished stellar careers against their past competition.

Round 31, 945th overall selection: Andrew Benintendi, 5'11"/175# CF, Madeira (OH) High School. Benintendi would be a prospect that is truly home grown having played in the Cincinnati area where he set the Ohio State high school record for hits. The left-hander doesn't project for much power and appears to be one of the more ambitious selections for Reds to try and sign. His plans to attend the University of Arkansas prevented him from being drafted earlier.

Round 32, 975th overall selection: Logan Uxa, 6'4"/205# 1B, Arkansas St. Uxa is the second Reds selection this year from Arkansas St. where he finished a senior season. Over his final three seasons there the left-handed hitter batted .279 with 17 HR in 600 AB and his 127 walks are second highest career total at that school.

Round 33, 1005th overall selection: Matt Blandino, 6'1"/180# RHP, Wolcott (CT) High School. While in high school he cracked 90 mph with his fastball which he mixes with a curve. During his senior season he went 10-0 with a 2.74 ERA and finished high school with a 24-2 career record. The coach at Central Connecticut State is hoping he won't sign and fulfill his commitment there instead.

Round 34, 1035th overall selection: Luke Bolka, 5'11"/206# LHP, Atlee (VA) High School. His fastball spends most of its time in the high 80's and he also throws a breaking pitch and changeup. He's won two letters in both football and basketball and was rated one of the top left-handed pitchers in the state of Virginia. Bolka has signed to play for East Carolina University.

Round 35, 1065th overall selection: Connor Simonetti, 5'11"/207# LF, Fairport (NY) High School. This left-hander can generate power to all fields from a short swing. He set a career home run record in the section in which he competed in high school and led his team to the Section V Class AAA championship. He's signed with Kent St. but turning pro might look like a better option since they've undergone a coaching change.

Round 36, 1095th overall selection: Taylor Hearn, 6'5"/210# LHP, San Jacinto (TX) College North. Hearn was drafted in the 22nd round by the Pirates out of Royse City (TX) High School last year. His fastball tops out in the upper 80's but his frame gives reason to think the nineteen year-old could still add more velocity. Hearn is a real project that pitched in only two JC games this year after playing first base his senior year in high school.

Round 37, 1125th overall selection: Alec Byrd, 6'3"/175# LHP, St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) High School. Byrd offers a variety of pitches with a fastball that hangs around the mid-80's. Like their previous selection Hearn, there's thought that could increase as his body matures. He stepped up his game in the mound this year going 8-2 with a 1.32 ERA and also played first base, hitting .342. He has an option to play collegiately at Florida State.

Round 38, 1155th overall selection: Dan Grauer, 6'4"/230# RHP, Liberty University. Though he was drafted as a pitcher most of his collegiate action has been catching while making only thirteen appearances on the mound. While being used primarily as a designated hitter this year he hit .280 and led the Flames with seven homers and 42 RBI. He posted a 6.06 ERA in ten appearances as a reliever.

Round 39, 1185th overall selection: Manny Cruz, 5'11"/175# SS, Wolcott (CT) High School. 39th round or not, this guy was like Superman in a baseball uniform at the high school level. In 20 games this season Cruz hit over .500 with an on-base percentage of nearly .700. He also went 6-0 as a pitcher with a sub-one ERA. It would make one wonder about the level of his competition but there should be enough there to make the Reds try to persuade him from following his commitment to Southern New Hampshire.

Round 40, 1215th overall selection: P.J. Cerreto, 6'3"/230# RHP, Rampano (NJ) College. Cerreto might not have been this year's "Mr. Irrelevent", but he was runner-up. Actually, it's a bit of a head-scratcher how he lasted so long after finishing a senior season with a 2.72 ERA and 60/25 K/BB ratio over 40 innings. Even though he pitched at a small college he had a solid career, going 19-7/2.71 ERA over four years, and appears to have very good value for a final pick. Should the interest be there they should have no problems signing him since he has no college eligibility remaining.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds were shut out at home 6-0 by the Brewers. Homer Bailey was roughed up for six runs in seven innings before J.J. Hoover and Manny Parra each tossed an inning of scoreless relief. Jay Bruce reached safely with two hits and a walk and Ryan Hanigan added two singles. The loss dropped them 3.5 games behind division leader St. Louis. Jonathan Broxton was put on the 15 day DL with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow. Pedro Villarreal was recalled to take his place.

Louisville opened up a two-run lead and held on for a 2-1 win at Norfolk. Greg Reynolds was solid again, allowing only one run while scattering eight hits and three walks over six innings and picking up the win. Logan Ondrusek relieved him with two scoreless frames before Jose Diaz retired the ninth in order for the save. Felix Perez led off the second inning with a single, advanced to third from a couple of errors, and scored the game's first run on a sac fly. Billy Hamilton added some needed insurance when he doubled in the fifth, stole third and scored on a Josh Fellhauer single. Fellhauer finished with three hits to raise his average to .287 and Perez added two singles.

Pensacola also opened up a two-run lead, but they allowed four in the fourth inning and eventually lost 6-2 to visiting Mobile. Travis Mattair doubled in the first run of the game in the first inning and Ryan LaMarre provided the second one by leading off the third with a double and later scoring on a sac fly. Mattair finished with three of the six Wahoo hits while LaMarre reached safely twice with a walk in addition to his double. Daniel Renken got the start and had some control issues, walking six and lasted only three innings. He allowed four runs and took the loss. Wilken De La Rosa and Josh Ravin teamed up to shut out the BayBears over the next three frames. Loek Van Mil ended the game with one-plus scoreless innings.

Bakersfield found themselves in a six-run deficit after three innings in a 6-4 loss at Modesto. The Blaze came up short despite a four-run rally in the eighth that was started with two outs and included a two-run double by Yorman Rodriguez and RBI-singles off the bats of Juan Perez and Juan Silva. Silva finished with two of his team's five hits while Kyle Waldrop reached with a hit and a walk. Starter Mike Dennhardt took the loss by allowing six runs (four earned) in seven innings.

Dayton allowed the winning run in the eighth inning in a 5-4 loss at South Bend. Things started off well for the Dragons with a three-run homer by Seth Mejias-Brean in the first. Zach Vincej doubled in the next inning and scored on a sac fly, but that would be the last time they would cross the plate on the day. Daniel Piggott had two hits while Beau Amaral and Joe Terry both reached safely twice via a hit and a walk. Starter Drew Cisco got no decision from allowing four runs off eight hits in six innings. Jesus Adames threw one inning and allowed a run that pinned the loss on him.


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