Reds go for pitching, infield help in first two days of draft
JUN 06, 2014 9:11p ET
CINCINNATI -- Through the first two days of the MLB draft, the Reds have picked a lot of pitching to go with some infield versatility.
The Reds have chosen 11 players through the first 10 rounds of the draft, which concludes Saturday with rounds 11-40. Six of their picks have been pitchers, including top pick Nick Howard out of Virginia. Howard was taken with the 19th overall pick on Thursday night. The Reds chose Alex Blandino, a shortstop from Stanford, with their second first-round pick at No. 29. They received that pick as compensation for losing Shin-Soo Choo to Texas in free agency.
Nine of the picks are college players.
"The righties are all hard throwers, the infielders fit in to what we always try to do in that they're baseball players," said Chris Buckley, Reds senior director of amateur scouting. "When we say 'they're all baseball players' these are guys that can play a lot of positions and do a lot of things."
Infield depth is something the Reds do not have an abundance of in their minor league system at this point. Besides Blandino, the Reds took Cal-Irvine third baseman Taylor Sparks in the second round, Oklahoma high schooler Gavin LaValley in the fourth round, California high schooler Shane Mardirosian in the seventh round and Rutgers first baseman Brian O'Grady in the eighth round.
More than any sport, baseball's draft is built on the ability to project players for the long-term. Unlike the NFL or NBA, where draft picks are expected to make immediate impacts, baseball draft picks will develop in the minors for a few years before they have chance to play at the major league level.
Jose Lopez, the sixth round pick out of Seton Hall, is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Buckley said Lopez is well into his rehab process and that before the injury he was considered a high round prospect. Lopez was throwing between 94-97 mph on his fastball when the Reds scouted him last year prior to injury.
"We love the big guys that throw hard," said Buckley. "The teams that are winning in the playoffs have a bunch of those guys. Yeah, you take chances. You have to. It's what we have to do."
The Reds concluded the second day of the draft by taking left-handed pitcher Seth Varney, a local prospect from Miami University. Varney is from Batavia, in Clermont County, and went to Clermont Northeastern High School.
REDS DRAFT PICKS
1st round: Nick Howard, RHP, Virginia
1st round: Alex Blandino, SS, Stanford
2nd round: Taylor Sparks, 3B, Cal-Irvine
3rd round: Wyatt Strahan, RHP, USC
4th round: Gavin LaValley, 3B, Carl Albert (Okla.) HS
5th round: Tejay Antone, RHP, Weatherford College (Texas)
6th round: Jose Lopez, LHP, Seton Hall
7th round: Shane Mardirosian, 2B, Martin Luther King HS (Calif.)
8th round: Brian O'Grady, 1B, Rutgers
9th round: Brian Hunter, RHP, Hartford
10th round: Seth Varner, LHP, Miami (Ohio)