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View Full Version : Looking back on the 2003 draft and the Ryan Wagner selection



savafan
04-17-2006, 01:17 AM
It bothered me at the time the Reds took Wagner in the first round of the 2003 draft that they had selected a relief pitcher with the 14th overall pick. I had heard all about how good his stuff was, and that he had closer potential, but this was the team that always seemed to find good closers easily with guys like Brantley, Shaw, the Williamson/Graves two headed monster. At the time, it just seemed like closers were easy to find, and that you shouldn't spend a first round draft pick on one. I had heard there was a brief moment where they considered making Wagner a starter, but that it didn't last very long.

Now, three years later, with nothing really left to learn, Wagner is down at Louisville, and the Reds bullpen is perhaps more of a question than the starting rotation. I decided to go back and look at some of the guys the Reds passed over for Wagner.


15th pick in the first round: Brian Anderson, Centerfielder, White Sox

18th pick in the first round: Brad Snyder, Outfielder, Indians

19th pick in the first round: Conor Jackson, Thirdbase/Firstbase, Diamondbacks

20th pick in the first round: Chad Cordero, Relief Pitcher, Nationals

23rd pick in the first round: Brandon Wood, Shortstop, Angels

24th pick in the first round: Chad Billingsley, Starting Pitcher, Dodgers

32nd overall pick: Matt Murton, Outfielder, by Boston, now with the Cubs

With the 14th pick in the second round, the Reds took Thomas Pauly

21st pick in the second round: Scott Baker, Pitcher, Twins

24th pick in the second round: Chuck Tiffany, Pitcher, Dodgers

7th pick in the third round: Chris Ray, Pitcher, Orioles

The Reds took Jose Ronda at #14 in the third round

At #14 in the fourth round, they picked Kenny Lewis, who is now pursuing football

17th pick in the fourth round: Jonathon Papelbon, Pitcher, Red Sox

1st pick in the thirteenth round: Chad Orvella, Pitcher, Tampa Bay

28th pick in the fifteenth round: Anthony Reyes, Pitcher, Cardinals

9th pick in the seventeenth round: Ian Kinsler, Shortstop, Rangers


I realize the baseball draft is a crapshoot more than in any other sport, but a lot of these other guys would look really nice in the Reds organization right now.

reds44
04-17-2006, 01:24 AM
Wagner could have ended up differently (he still can) if we wouldn't have called him up a week (yes exaggeration) after we drafted him,

savafan
04-17-2006, 01:32 AM
I still hold out hope that Wagner can be valuable for the Reds, but you don't want to use your first round, 14th overall pick on a middle reliever.

He was lights out though when he first came up in '03.

Here are his K/9 for every level from college through last year.

College 2002: 13.4
College 2003: 16.79
AA 2003: 10.8
AAA 2003: 9.00
Majors 2003: 10.38
AAA 2004: 10.26
Majors 2004: 6.45
Majors 2005: 7.69

savafan
04-17-2006, 02:22 AM
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060416/SPORTS07/604160475/1002/SPORTS

By Brian Bennett
bbennett@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

Ryan Wagner looked like a sure-fire star when the Cincinnati Reds drafted him in the first round in 2003.

The right-hander rocketed his way to the major leagues just months after the draft, posting a 1.66 ERA for the Reds in 17 appearances. Future closer, many said.

So, three years later, just what the heck is Wagner doing back in the minor leagues with the Louisville Bats?

The 23-year-old was the last pitcher cut by the Reds in spring training, despite finishing camp with 12 scoreless innings. Cincinnati officials want him to work on his command and pitch selection.

"He has very good stuff," Bats manager Rick Sweet said. "He just needs to throw more strikes. That's the problem."

Wagner is baffled by the criticism.

"I don't understand that, because I never had a problem with walking guys or anything like that," he said. "I'm just going to continue pumping strikes and getting guys out."

After going 3-2 with a 4.70 ERA in 2004, Wagner struggled to a 6.11 ERA last season with the Reds. He said he pitched hurt until he was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation. He shut it down for good July 15.

The knock on him is that he relied too heavily on his slider. The pitch can be devastating, but hitters were ready for it and let the pitch sail out of the strike zone. Wagner said he's now focusing on using his fastball more to set up the slider. He also began throwing a changeup this season to keep hitters even more off-balance.

It's working so far with the Bats, where Wagner has a 3.60 ERA with seven strikeouts in five innings.

Hobo
04-17-2006, 02:38 AM
No more pitch to contact.:clap:

M2
04-17-2006, 03:05 AM
Wagner's been the victim of ferocious mismanagement. He got rushed to the show and then the team tried to remake him in the majors.

My guess is he'll be dealt this year and turn out to be a mini-coup for the trade that trades for him.

MWM
04-17-2006, 03:07 AM
Wagner's been the victim of ferocious mismanagement. He got rushed to the show and then the team tried to remake him in the majors.

My guess is he'll be dealt this year and turn out to be a mini-coup for the trade that trades for him.

That's what I was thinking. He's a guy in serious need of a good pitching instruction. Once he gets it, he'll be nasty again.

Caveat Emperor
04-17-2006, 03:14 AM
Wagner's been the victim of ferocious mismanagement. He got rushed to the show and then the team tried to remake him in the majors.

My guess is he'll be dealt this year and turn out to be a mini-coup for the trade that trades for him.

Still no explanation, however, for his run-in with the Mysterious Velocity-Eating Monster™ that struck the entire staff c2004-2005.

He was a flamethrower when he came up out of college, touching 93-95 on the gun with his fastball. Last year I didn't see him top 91 the entire season. He was devestating when he was working in the mid-90s -- pedestrian when working in the lower end.

KronoRed
04-17-2006, 04:06 AM
I blame some of that on coaching.

"Throw slower and nibble on the corners!"

;)

flyer85
04-17-2006, 10:05 AM
The really stupid picks were Ronda and Lewis, not Wagner or Pauly.

Falls City Beer
04-17-2006, 10:33 AM
I think Wagner's going to need a lot more than just pitching instruction; he's going to need crates of Zoloft.

IslandRed
04-17-2006, 12:31 PM
Now, three years later, with nothing really left to learn, Wagner is down at Louisville


"I don't understand that, because I never had a problem with walking guys or anything like that," he said.

Wagner does have things to learn after 4.70 and 6.11 ERAs the last two years, and one of them is that a BB/9 of around four is too high. I get people's dissatisfaction with the current bullpen, but Wagner did need some straightening out and his development is not being ill-served by doing it in Louisville.

Red Leader
04-17-2006, 12:34 PM
Drafting Wagner in the 1st round was one of the dumbest things I've seen. The 14th pick and they choose a player that could help them soon (which they needed to do, I do agree there). The problems is, they rushed him to the majors to defend their pick, and it hurt Wagner big time.

savafan
04-17-2006, 12:37 PM
Wagner does have things to learn after 4.70 and 6.11 ERAs the last two years, and one of them is that a BB/9 of around four is too high. I get people's dissatisfaction with the current bullpen, but Wagner did need some straightening out and his development is not being ill-served by doing it in Louisville.

I've got to agree with Hobo here, that the pitch to contact philosophy has to be what hurt Wagner that much.

RedsManRick
04-17-2006, 12:44 PM
I'm on the velocity is his problem bandwagon. When you have a 95 mph fastball, people can't afford to sit on the slider. If they're looking slider and that fastball comes, there's no way to catch up to it. Thus, they have to either guess, or sit on the fastball -- which leaves them susceptible to his slider.

However, if it's only 90 mph, they can just sit on the slider and still turn on the fastball if it comes. He either needs to get back up in the mid-90's, or learn to better locate his stuff. Hopefully it was just the tendonitis that was robbbing him of his velocity.

big boy
04-17-2006, 01:26 PM
I had always assumed that Bowden worked out a deal where if he would sign quickly, he would get to the Reds pronto. I never understood the quick promotion.

indyred
04-17-2006, 01:37 PM
was 2003 the year Mauer and Prior went 1-2 and the Rangers IB Mark T went top 5.....Talk about injury prone guys Mauer and Prior.......I just remember living in Minnesota, people were ticked they took the local guy and not the pitcher....word was Prior wouldn't have signed with the Twins....could have been a different draft though and not that Reds had anything to do with them anyways......

indyred
04-17-2006, 01:39 PM
nevermind.....it was 2001 draft.........

REDREAD
04-17-2006, 01:46 PM
The really stupid picks were Ronda and Lewis, not Wagner or Pauly.

I guess I disagree with your opinion on Lewis. I don't mind spending a 4th round pick on a guy like Lewis that has such amazing speed and athletic ability. Sure, it's like Bowden's 5 tool gambles, but we're only talking about a fourth round pick here.

If Lewis had more success, I bet he would've stayed on (as opposed to playing football).

Caveat Emperor
04-17-2006, 01:49 PM
I had always assumed that Bowden worked out a deal where if he would sign quickly, he would get to the Reds pronto. I never understood the quick promotion.

Ryan Wagner was a need pick in the first round.

In thise case, the need was for Bowden to create buzz about a young pitcher making a big splash for the Reds after years of hearing the Reds couldn't draft pitching.

flyer85
04-17-2006, 02:30 PM
I guess I disagree with your opinion on Lewis. I don't mind spending a 4th round pick on a guy like Lewis that has such amazing speed and athletic ability. Sure, it's like Bowden's 5 tool gamblesLewis was a Bowden 5 tool gamble.

StillFunkyB
04-17-2006, 03:52 PM
If Soto can teach Wagner to throw that changeup half as good as he did, then Wags will be just fine.

I think a year at AAA won't hurt him one bit. He's still only 23.

The guy has stuff. He has proven that he can get major league hitters out. Didn't I just read, or hear somewhere that the difference between a big league player and a minor league player is the ability to make adjustments. A third pitch will help. He has his "out" pitch, he just needs to develop a bit more to get the big league hitters to bite.

I also don't have a problem with trading him either, if we can get something good in return.

KronoRed
04-17-2006, 04:03 PM
I guess I disagree with your opinion on Lewis. I don't mind spending a 4th round pick on a guy like Lewis that has such amazing speed and athletic ability.
He would have been available later in the draft.

Aronchis
04-17-2006, 04:12 PM
Wagner was most definitely a need pick. It also was a position(bullpen arm) where Bowden and his associates thought they were "good" at finding talent compared to pitchers with the word "S" in front of it. The Pauly pick was also based on this belief.

Considering the Reds BP was on the verge of imploding with age and injury in 2004, they needed some fresh talent.

Wags looked great on the scene in 2003 because teams would fly all over his slider, literally. I was amazed how poorly located his fastball was however(and the up/down velocity he has had do to a sore arm half the time). He really needs his fastball to set up his slider, or teams will do what they figured out after 2003, just don't swing at the slider 3 times and you are set.

MWM
04-17-2006, 04:24 PM
I didn't think it was a bad pick at all. I thought it was a pretty good pick. How they handled it from there is another story.

Team Clark
04-17-2006, 10:07 PM
Wagner does have things to learn after 4.70 and 6.11 ERAs the last two years, and one of them is that a BB/9 of around four is too high. I get people's dissatisfaction with the current bullpen, but Wagner did need some straightening out and his development is not being ill-served by doing it in Louisville.


He really needs to learn to "shut his mouth". If he spent as much time learning about pitching as he does running his mouth he'd probably be in the bigs. I have accurately compared him to Brett Tomko on more than one occasion. This kid has A LOT of growing up to do. His slider is/was phenomenal. Every time he gets sent down or someone criticizes him in the least he just goes off. Grow up kid. Try pitching in New York.

After the scouting report was passed around on him hitters laid off the slider and he DID walk the ballpark OR would have to lay one in there 2-0, 3-0. HE got RIPPED. The Reds tried to help him develop a sinker/2 seamer and he just resisted. I should probably start comparing him to Nuke Laloosh. That would be unfair because Nuke had a better Fastball. :laugh:

BTW, I am ELATED that he has to work with Soto. Soto will not put up with his attitude AT ALL. Mac Jenkins was a real pushover. This will be fun to see. I am scheduled to see the Bats pretty soon. I can hardly wait.