Originally Posted by Krusty
So, I ask.....Was O'Brien's First Draft Really That Horrible?
The Reds lack pitching at the major league level. They've got maybe two starting pitchers in the system right now who might show up by 2007 and give them some help (Pauly and Gardner -- you can take a flyer on guys like Moseley and Kelly, but given the way they've pitched in the minors I see that as wishful thinking).
So they've got a relatively empty cupboard for the foreseeable future and what do the Reds do? They stock up on HS arms high in the draft. They took five pitchers in the top 10 rounds, four HS arms and one juco arm.
Take a look at what they did in 2003. They got Wagner, Pauly and Gardner in that haul -- all guys who were able to start at low A or higher and who can be expected to be ready within fours of their selection.
The kids the Reds drafted in 2004 are much longer-term projects. They all started in rookie ball (low rookie ball in most cases). It may take them until 2006 to reach low A and pitch there with any sort of competence. A reasonable timetable for any one of these kids would be 2010 before he's ready to come to the majors and thrive. Now I'm not saying some of these kids won't be worth waiting for or that it's impossible that one or two won't be able to handle an advanced timetable (though that's up to nature and not the Reds), but how much sense does it make to you to put your area of greatest need on the slow track?
Homer Bailey was high risk selection, which I certainly didn't think was wise, but let's allow the Reds the roll of the dice on that one. Why, why, why not follow up with some quality college arms after that? It's one thing to take an educated gamble here and there, unfortunately what the Reds did was put themselves consistently in harm's way.
Then you get to the bats. Take a look at how these kids did in a hitters paradise (Billings) this season. Outside of Cody Strait's 49 ABs of glory, they put up fairly blah numbers. Unless some of these guys unlock heretofore undiscovered talents within themselves, they're going to hit a brick wall in Dayton next season. Hopefully a specimen like Szymanski avoids that peril, but others like Tatum, Janish, Lawhorn and Anderson need to show a lot more quality before you even can begin to call them prospects.
The 2004 Reds draft was a combination of enormous risk on the pitching side coupled with a pack of hitters who almost immediately got exposed. Rather than lather, rinse, repeat on the 2003 draft which provided an immediate shine to the Reds' faded and scraggly system, the Reds went back on a path toward baldness.