27. CINCINNATI REDS3ds_reds83
PICK VALUE: $1,812,400
PHILLIP ERVIN, OF, SAMFORD (@Mr_MagicErvin)
Area Scout: Ben Jones
PICK ANALYSIS: Ervin gives the Reds a steal at 27 as a quick-twitch center fielder.
SCOUTING REPORT: Ervin wasn’t drafted out of high school, in part due to tearing a knee ligament as a football player. He has dealt with a less-serious injury this spring, a sprained left ankle. The problem pushed him to left field for a time and clouded some teams’ evaluations of whether he can stay in center field. For scouts that believe he can, Ervin presents one of the surest bets among college outfielders in the draft class. Ervin lacks the size and physicality of the likes of Stanford’s Austin Wilson or Fresno State’s Aaron Judge, but that’s an asset for him. He’s shorter at 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, has fewer holes in his swing, better hitting ability and above-average raw power thanks to his compact, strong swing. Ervin is a plus runner at his best, but scouts are mixed on his center-field ability. Those who like him see him as a solid-average center fielder early in his career and believe his speed plays better in the field than on the bases. He has enough arm strength to have pitched occasionally for Samford and could slide to right field eventually. Ervin’s blue-collar makeup and quiet confidence further endears him to scouts. Despite improved performance as a junior—he already had a career-high 11 homers and 31 walks—Ervin was thought to be sliding out of the first round, due in part to his ankle injury.
WHERE HE FITS: After Billy Hamilton, Ervin will rank as the system’s top outfielder, as his overall tools package is greater than Jesse Winker’s corner outfield profile.