CINCINNATI -- The Reds are in same position as last year as far as the draft. They pick second overall.
The difference is, last year things were more wide open as to the top players in the draft. Speculation had a half-dozen players in the mix for the Reds. They chose Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel, a pick that looks very good.
This year, it’s safe to say it down to three players. Nearly everyone has California high schooler Hunter Greene, Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright and Louisville left-hander/first baseman Brendan McKay atop their board.
Baseball America has them in the that order, although BA has Minnesota picking McKay with the first pick. MLB.com has the Twins taking McKay as well.
That would open the door for the Reds to pick Sports Illustrated cover boy Greene, a shortstop/right-hander who throws 102 mph and hits 400-foot bombs.
If Greene’s there, will the Reds take him?
“We haven’t made that decision yet,” Reds General Manager Dick Williams said. “Those guys (Greene, Wright, McKay) we’d all be happy with.”
The draft begins with the first two rounds on Monday. Rounds 3 through 40 are Tuesday and Wednesday. The Reds have three of the first 38 picks, so they can continue to add to their overall talent pool.
But obviously the No. 2 picks overall gets the attention. Greene would be the sexy pick with the higher ceiling. Wright and McKay pitch in the mid-90s. The Reds see both Greene and McKay as pitchers.
Williams has scouted Greene -- a 6-foot-3, 190-pound, 17-year-old -- in person.
“When we were in spring training, I scouted Hunter,” Williams said. “I went back and watched him again. I’ve met his parents. I’ve watched in person some of the other top players, including McKay and Wright.”
McKay and Wright are polished college pitchers, so they are surer bets who are likely to get to the big leagues quicker than Greene. But Greene is a rare prospect. He was the California player of the year as a sophomore.
In addition to 102-mph fastball, he has an impressive slider and a curveball.
Reds scouting director Chris Buckley has taken college players first in seven of his 11 drafts with the Reds.
“Wherever you pick, you’re at the mercy of the strength of the draft,” Buckley said. “Somebody says Kris Bryant. A lot of years there’s not a guy that’s that talent level. Some years, there are. I think this is my 23rd year as the scouting director or national cross-checker. There’s a number of drafts where I haven’t seen a player as talented as Bryant as a college position player. They don’t come along every year.”
Neither do players like Greene.