06/04/2002 11:07 pm ET
Reds draft plans for the long term
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
Reds round-by-round picks
CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds wasted no time signing first-round pick Chris Gruler on Tuesday.
They're willing to wait longer with several of their other draftees.
At least four prospects the Reds selected late on the first day of the 2002 first-year player draft --
right-hander Glen Kamis (15th round), catcher Trey Lavender (17th round), left-hander Zachery McCormack
(18th round) and first baseman Tyler Coon (20th round) -- are headed for junior college. That's fine with
the Reds' talent evaluators, who want to determine whether these players sufficiently improve before signing
"These guys already have the ability," said scouting director Kasey McKeon, pointing out that the Reds
have until next year's draft to sign their picks. "They just have to mature more. Also, our minor-league
system is pretty deep. We're trying to get better and better at developing pitchers. We have five good
starters at every (minor league) level. (Waiting) benefits them so their bodies can mature until they 'step
McKeon cited two specific examples: Just recently, the Reds signed two of last year's draft picks,
right-handers David Shafer, a 32nd rounder, and Miles Carpenter, a 39th rounder.
Here's a look at each of Cincinnati's draft choices Tuesday following Gruler:
"Sandwich" round (40th overall) -- Mark Schramek, 3B, 22, Texas/San Antonio (bats L, throws R, 6-2,
190): Cincinnati drafted Schramek in last year's 45th round and stuck with him despite a right knee
injury he suffered. "He sprays the ball all over the park and has the ability to drive it out," McKeon said
of Schramek, who McKeon described as a pure hitter. "He came back from knee surgery and is running better
now than he did before."
2nd round -- Joey Votto, 3B, 18, Richview College Institute, Toronto (bats L, throws R, 6-3, 200):
The 44th overall selection already has reached an oral contract agreement with the Reds. Though Votto
was drafted as a third baseman, Cincinnati plans to try him as a catcher. McKeon said Votto worked out with
Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, who "was very pleased and surprised that this kid has limited catching
experience. We're going to keep him behind the plate and let that left-handed bat carry him as far as it
3rd round -- Kyle Edens, RHP, 22, Baylor (bats right, 5-10, 185): An aggressive closer, Edens owns
a fastball that ranges between 90-94 mph. "Our guys compare him a little bit to Danny Graves, and I hate to
say that because those are big shoes to fill," McKeon said. "But he could be a guy who moves rapidly
through the system."
4th round -- Camilo Vazquez, LHP, 18, Hialeah (Fla.) HS (bats left, 6-foot, 180): Reds scouts
clocked his fastball at 88-93, which he enhances with a above-average change-up. "His breaking ball is
inconstent, but it has a chance to be a solid pitch," McKeon said.
5th round -- Kevin Howard, 3B, 20, Miami (bats left, throws right, 6-2, 180): The Reds like
Howard's polish. That'll help the Team USA veteran if he moves to second base, as the organization is
pondering. "He has yet to develop power, but he's an experienced kid who has traveled around the world,
been in international competition and knows how to play."
6th round -- Walter Olmstead, 1B, 21, Texas Christian (bats both, throws right, 6-5, 230): Scouts
think Olmstead hits better left-handed. Though Olmstead regressed statistically this year, the Reds believe
they can salvage his ability. "We're hoping we're finding a diamond in the rough who we can get back to
where he was," McKeon said.
7th round -- Corey Wachman, RHP, 20, Valdosta State (bats right, 6-1, 185): The Reds might try
Wachman, who has pitched mostly in relief, as a starter. His fastball ranges between 90-96 mph, which
8th round -- O.J. King, RHP, 22, Northwestern State, (bats right, 6-3, 205): King's fastball
reaches only 88-89 mph, but the Reds like the late sinking action he gets on it. "He's not a power pitcher
by any means, but he knows what he's doing on the mound. He gets a lot of ground-ball outs," McKeon said.
9th round -- Steven Booth, C, 22, San Francisco (bats right, throws right, 6-1, 190): McKeon said
that drafting competent catchers is a necessity to "protect the investment" of taking pitchers like Gruler.
"We want solid catchers who know how to control a game," McKeon said.
10th round -- Frankie Keller, LHP, 22, Abilene Christian (bats left, 6-3, 215): "You can never get
enough left-handers," said McKeon, citing Keller's velocity, which ranges from 87-92 mph.
11th round -- Michael Bassett, OF, 22, George Washington (bats left, throws left, 6-2, 205): "I think
he has broken every record at GW," McKeon said. Scouting a recent game to scrutinize another player, McKeon
said that Bassett "just stood out." Some scouts have likened Bassett's presence to that of Boston's Trot
Nixon. "All of a sudden, he started gaining a lot of late attention," McKeon said.
12th round -- Donald Gemmell, RHP, 22, San Jose State (bats right, 5-9, 175): This sinker-slider
specialist has a fastball that travels in the 88-91 range. "He's a polished guy who should be very durable,"
13th round -- Jose Cruz, SS, 20, Rice (bats right, throws right, 5-9, 175): The son of former Major
League outfielder Jose Cruz projects as a second baseman, a position he played freqently last year.
14th round -- Joe Curran, LHP, 22, Fort Hays State (bats left, 6-7, 215): The Reds like Curran's
arm strength -- his fastball reaches 92 mph -- but he needs work with his off-speed deliveries. "He's never
had a whole lot of instruction," McKeon said.
15th round -- Glen Kamis, RHP, 20, Elgin (Ill.) Community College (bats right, 6-5, 185): "He was
on our radar early in the season," said McKeon, noting that Kamis then encountered elbow problems. "We'll
see how he comes back," McKeon said.
16th round -- Jonathan George, RHP, 17, Camden Catholic (N.J.) HS (bats right, 6-4, 220):
George's father is Will George, a Major League scout for the Colorado Rockies. George has the option of
attending the University of Louisville. But he might have heard some complimentary things about the Reds
from Zach Booker, McKeon's nephew who he roomed with at the East Coast Showcase.
17th round -- Trey Lavender, C, 18, Pelham (Ala.) HS (bats left, throws right, 6-3, 185): "Our
scout (Bob Filotel) really felt like he has a chance to become something special," McKeon said of Lavender.
"He needs a little extra seasoning."
18th round -- Zachery McCormack, LHP, 20, Sacramento City College (bats left, 6-2, 195): McKeon
has virtually conceded that McCormack will stay in school for another year. "He'll probably be their No. 1
starter," McKeon said.
19th round -- Christopher Denorfia, OF, 21, Wheaton College, Conn. (bats right, throws right, 6-1,
185): The Reds believe Denorfia's speed gives him the opportunity to become a classic top-of-the-order
20th round -- Tyler Coon, 1B, 18, Silverado (Nev.) HS (bats left, throws left, 6-3, 210): The
Reds have no intention of playing Coon at first. Instead, they think he has a live enough arm to pitch.
21st round -- Mike Causey, RHP, 20, Moorpark (Calif.) HS (bats right, 6-6, 230): Causey's
fastball has been clocked at 92 mph, though, as McKeon said, "His delivery's a little crude. It's something
that can be worked with."
22nd round -- Matthew Luca, RHP , 17, Ball HS, Galveston, Texas (bats right, 6-6, 190): Luca's
what scouts call a "projectable" player -- somebody whose skills likely will blossom. "His curveball needs
some work. But he's only 17," McKeon said.
Chris Haft covers the Reds for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not
subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.