Reds drafted dreadfully in the '90's.
but from '97 to '99, the drafting was quite a bit better (at least relatively speaking!). Those drafts netted players that had trade value, if only for a short time. Mike Frank, Brandon Larson, Dewayne Wise, Gookie Dawkins were part of '97, as was Scott Williamson. Kearns and Dunn led '98 but BJ Ryan and Todd Coffey were there too. things began to die off in '99, but Ben Broussard exploded on the scene and Ty Howington had a lot of value for a short time. Partly as a result of those drafts, as well as trades (Drew Henson) and the signing of free agents such as Antonio Perez and Jacoba Sequea, the Reds system was highly rated in the years 1999-2000
but the problem with those drafts was all of the absolute clunkers. So many of them had arm surgeries within a year of being drafted. MANY players washed out in less than a year. Others like Dawkins OPSed less than .750 at Billings, which is just a terrible sign for a Cincy prospect. Just looking at the top 10s in these three years, just looking at their first seasons-and-a-half:
1st rounders: Kearns had a great start, and Howington, Larson were OK
2nd rounders: Broussard and Dunn had great starts, Dawkins OPSed .623 at Billings
3rds: Did not choose to sign one after taking a closer look at him, another OPSed .633 at Billings, and a third was released within a season
4ths: two arm surgeries within a year, and a third player never got out of Rookie League
5ths: one did-not-sign, one arm surgery, and Dwayne Wise had a pretty good start with .844 OPS at Billings
6ths: one arm surgery, and two players OPSed less than .713 at Billing and were released within a year
7ths: one arm surgery, one OPSed .652 at Billings and was immediately released, and Mike Frank had a terrific start
8ths: one did-not-sign, one released within a year, and one released after two years
9ths: arm surgery, another released after a year, and Scott Williamson
10th: one released within a year, another OPSed .690 at Billings, and Scott Dunn who eventually got a cup of coffee.
In all, 33 percent at least reached the majors, and 13 percent have had significant careers. but 70 percent immediately showed the reddest of flags, either by not signing, having an immediate surgery, or posting a pathetic OPS at Billings
So, there's some data on the 2006-7 class of new administration. So far as I can tell, there have been NO arm surgeries (!), and there's no clear reason to release any players within a year either unless it's Andrew Bowman, who had pretty bad numbers. A couple of pitchers can't throw strikes but will get more chances. Drew Stubbs has had the lowest OPS at Billings, and .768 is troubling but, frankly, we've had MUCH worse. He's at least tradeable, and certainly not releaseable. Two draft picks did not sign; a third pitched for a season then was placed on the restricted list, and you might want to add Andrew Bowman. So, maybe 17% (as opposed to 70%!) have shown red flags so far-- but the data are not all in for 2007 yet. There might be some surgeries this spring, plus some of these guys haven't shown me a Billings OPS yet: Cozart bypassed Billings completely, and Mesoraco could very well OPS .650 at Billings. We'll see
overall, though, it strikes me as a VERY DIFFERENT set of players, and I would expect to see very different results. What those results will be, I cannot say. Maybe these guys have lower ceilings, and these drafts will produce fewer players with significant careers. but the present administration has certainly shown the ability to avoid the immediate stinkers, which strikes me as a great quality.