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Thread: Cincinnati Draft History: 1965 - 1969

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Cincinnati Draft History: 1965 - 1969

    There's not enough baseball, my hours working have been cut in half, I'm working at home, and we haven't read anything on the Minor League Forum for almost a month. So I though I'd start a retrospective on the Reds' philosophies, successes, and failures in acquiring talent through the MLB draft. This isn't necessarily a re-draft (though those are undoubtedly fun), but a superficial analysis of how they did. Think of it not as a what-if, but more as a how-they-did.

    Let's start with the 1965 MLB Draft. The parent club was in the midst of its best team success in a long, long time. They'd won 90+ games twice and had just finished 2nd in the NL with a very young and productive team.

    Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson led the offense, and both were among the 20 or so best players in the league. Catcher Johnny Edwards was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner. SS Leo Cardenas was a defensive whiz who was also 25. The starters were veterans though two of them-- Bob Purkey and Joe Nuxhall-- were near retirement. 19-year-old Billy McCool looked ready to step into one spot. All in all, it was a pretty good time to be a Reds' fan.

    1965 Draft
    Johnny Bench (2) 75.2 bWAR HS
    Hal McRae (6) 27.9 bWAR 4Yr
    Bernie Carbo (1) 18.4 bWAR HS

    1966 Draft
    Gary Nolan (1) 25.9 bWAR HS
    Darrel Chaney (2) -3.4 bWAR HS

    1967 Draft
    Chris Chambliss (31) 27.5 bWAR HS
    Fred Kendall (6) 1.0 bWAR HS
    Dave Tomlin (29) -0.9 bWAR HS
    Wayne Simpson (1) -1.0 bWAR HS

    1968 Draft
    Milt Wilcox (2) 13.3 bWAR HS
    Mike Willis (25) 1.8 bWAR HS

    1969 Draft
    Ken Griffey (29) 34.5 bWAR HS
    Don Gullet (1) 18.2 bWAR HS
    Rawly Eastwick (3) 4.0 bWAR HS

    Italics indicate they did not sign.

    Overview/ Philosophy:
    Over the five-year period, the Reds almost exclusively chose high school arms and bats over college. In their first ever draft, Cincinnati signed just six pitchers. (In fact, they seemed to have a relatively difficult time signing top-10 talent. Though, to be fair, not much of that talent proved to be exceptional.) Not much of a coastal or warm weather bias, though they did tend to like California HS kids (Nolan and Simpson were high picks from the Golden State.) A preponderance of injuries to talented pitchers cloud the numbers of this decade. Gullet, Nolan, and Simpson were all very hard throwers who showed precocious talent early in their major league careers before suffering arm injuries. Carbo also got injured. It's hard not to see this list and think the Reds were a bit snake-bit.

    Best Player: Johnny Bench
    Pretty obvious, right? Greatest catcher in history (arguably), revolutionized the sport, and all-around massive talent. How did he slip to the second round?

    One That Got Away: Chris Chambliss
    You can't blame the Reds-- he was a 31st round pick, after all, but Chambliss was a very good player for about a decade. No clue where he would have played, though.

    Unearthed Gem: Ken Griffey
    The Reds seemed to have a talent for finding big league production very late in the draft. Four MLB-quality players drafted after the 25th round in five years augers well for either development or an eye for talent. Griffey was best among them. A 123 OPS+ and three All-Star games later, Griffey is among the best outfielders the Reds have ever developed.

    Best Draft: 1965
    They nailed the first one, though. So that's nice.

    Worst Draft: 1967
    Ted Simmons, Bobby Grich, Via Blue, Jerry Reuss, Don Baylor, and Dave Kingman available when the Reds chose in the first two rounds. They whiffed on all of them. Injuries suck, but that one hurt badly.


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  3. #2
    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Cincinnati Draft History: 1965 - 1969

    One note on injury:

    The three best Red pitching prospects all hurt their arms early in their careers-- Wayne Simpson (21), Don Gullett (25), and Gary Nolan (18, then more later).

    But that's not enough all of it.

    1965 7th rounder Lester Fulleylove, the Reds' highest drafted pitcher, never pitched a full season in minor league ball. 1968 1st rounder Mike Grant threw just over 100 IP once in his career-- then it ended the next season.

    The injuries are varied and remarkably damaging, and every would-be top draftee got hit before the age of 25.
    Last edited by Bourgeois Zee; 05-17-2020 at 03:07 PM.

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    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Cincinnati Draft History: 1965 - 1969

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    One note on injury:

    The three best Red pitching prospects all hurt their arms early in their careers-- Wayne Simpson (21), Don Gullett (25), and Gary Nolan (18, then more later).

    But that's not enough all of it.

    1965 7th rounder Lester Fulleylove, the Reds' highest drafted pitcher, never pitched a full season in minor league ball. 1968 1st rounder Mike Grant threw just over 100 IP once in his career-- then it ended the next season.

    The injuries are varied and remarkably damaging, and every would-be top draftee got hit before the age of 25.
    That also reminds me of Ty Howington, Chris Gruler, Ryan Wagner, Nick Travieso, Nick Howard ... and Hunter Greene?


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