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Reds Draft Review Part 2

MLB lead draft analyst Jeff Ellis looks in at the Reds 2016 draft. The second part goes deep starting with Taylor Trammell and going all the way to Ryan Hendrix in the 5th round.

Here is part two of the Reds draft review. One can find part one here.

The Reds basically got a second first round selection with the top pick of the competitive balance selections, after the supplemental round, with pick 35. They selected Taylor Trammell, who had been rumored to be in play in the teens. He was the top player on more than a few boards when the Reds took him.

Trammell is a likely centerfielder, with speed to spare and the type of athleticism that gets a player noticed. He went directly to the Reds rookie league team in Billingsley and played well there. 

The high BABIP is a great sign for a player at his level. He stole 24 bases in 61 games, showing his speed which is his best skill. He also had 15 extra base hits, though it has to be noted six of those were triples, which are more about his plus plus speed than power potential. He averaged one home run for every 114 at bats, so power is not a part of his game right now.

The one area for concern in the numbers is that he had a 2.48 strikeout to walk rate, along with striking out twenty-two percent of the time he came up to bat. These are rates that would not be acceptable for a power hitter, let alone more of a table setter type. 

Trammell could be a future centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the Reds down the road. The hope is that, as he progresses in the minors, he will cut down on his strikeouts before it derails him in the minors.

At the top of the second round, the Reds selected Chris Okey. Okey was a catcher, out of Clemson, who had been on their radar since his high school years.

Okey was assigned to rookie league for nine games, before he was bumped up to low A. He played fairly well there. His BABIP and HR numbers were solid, but not spectacular. The bar for catchers is significantly lower offensively than any other position in baseball. The chance for a catcher with above average power would project Okey out as a potential starter down the road.

The issue here is the same as it was for Trammell, trouble with his strike zone judgment. This issue is more concerning for Okey, because of his age and experience. In addition, his rate data was worse than Trammell. His strikeout to walk rate was 3.5, with a strikeout rate of twenty-nine percent.

This is a small sample size for Okey, but there are reasons for concern. He was an advanced college player, coming from a top conference, and moving to low A in a notorious hitter’s park. I expected better numbers out of Okey, who I was a big fan of on draft day. It's a limited sample size and I expect a rebound next year. There is a chance Okey could have been worn down from catching. 

Nick Hanson was the first player the Reds drafted who did not get a seven figure bonus. Hanson is a 6’5” right hander from the Minnesota prep ranks, who the Reds took in the third round. 

He was viewed as a very raw pitcher, with a ton of upside and that showed this summer. Hanson pitched just eight games for the Reds rookie team in Arizona. The numbers were not pretty, but it is impossible to use 16.2 innings to be sure of anything.

Hanson has potential to be almost anything. He is a big, cold weather arm with a ton of ceiling. On the other side, there is a chance he never makes it to AA. When it comes to a pitcher like this, it is often more about the team who is developing the player than it is the player themselves. 

I mentioned in my Red’s draft tendency piece about how the Reds have liked to draft college relievers and attempt to make them starters. They did this in the fourth round with Scott Moss, a left-handed reliever from Florida.

This move makes more sense than the other arms they tried to convert. Moss would have been a starter on nearly any other team in college baseball. Florida is just so well coached, and has so much talent, that a pitcher like Moss didn’t get many chances at Florida.

Moss was a redshirt sophomore, who didn’t appear in a single game as a freshman. He started five as a sophomore and came out of the pen in nine more games. His entire college career was 23 innings, which are 15.1 less than he pitched this summer for the Reds rookie league squad.

Moss is a bit of an oddity because, while he is 22 years old, he is not your typical college arm. The lack of reps leaves a bit more growth potential for Moss. The numbers for Moss are beside the point. He did not pitch for two years, so the composite 61.1 innings this year is hard to judge against any previous performance. 

Moss is a big 6’5” lefty who, with continued reps, could see a velocity jump. He comes out of one of the best colleges in baseball, so we know he has been coached very well. There is some nice upside here as a potential mid-rotation left-hander, and a pretty safe player with a floor of a lefty reliever out of the pen.

In the fifth round, the Reds grabbed Ryan Hendrix, a right-handed pitcher from Texas A&M.

Hendrix had some preseason first round talk after a strong sophomore year. He had started five games that year, and there was some hope he might get a look as a starter. There was a lot to like between his mid-90s fastball and a plus curve. He had shown a change, as well, that could be a show-me third pitch.

Instead, he ended up starting zero games for the Aggies, struggling with his command, and seeing his home run rate double. On the positive side, his strikeout rate went up and his hit rate went down. These both could have been factors in how wild he was this year in college.  

The Reds dropped Hendrix in the rookie league for 8.2 innings before jumping him up to low A Dayton. He ended up pitching 26.2 innings at Dayton, which is more than he pitched at Texas A&M this year. As mentioned before, Dayton is a hitter’s park, but Hendrix excelled. His walks per nine went from 7.11 in the spring for TAMU, to 2.7 at Dayton. He also did not give up a single home run again, in spite of pitching in a park known for its propensity to induce home runs. 

Hendrix showed during the summer why some people thought he could be a potential first rounder. At this point, he is strictly a pen arm going forward, but there is back of the bullpen potential in Hendrix, thanks to two potential plus pitches. The question going forward is which pitcher we will see, the Hendrix from this summer or the one from the spring. 

Taylor Trammell Chris Okey Scott Moss Cincinnati Reds

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