Results tagged ‘ Chris Buckley ’

Reds select high school pitcher

 With the 27th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the Reds picked right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson from Alhambra High School in Martinez, Calif.

If you would like to see some video of Stephenson, click here

Stephenson, 18, is the first high school player to be taken by Cincinnati since catcher Devin Mesoraco in 2007. He’s the first high school pitcher taken by the team since Homer Bailey in 2004.

At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Stephenson is considered a power pitcher that, according to reports, can reach 97 mph with his fastball. He also has a commitment to the Univ. of Washington.

“We’re very excited to have Robert,” Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said. “He’s an outstanding high school projection pitcher with a very loose, live arm. We saw him as high as 98 [mph] this year. He’s going to fill out, get stronger.”

During his senior season, Stephenson threw two no-hitters and posted a 1.19 ERA in 76 1/3 innings.

“I saw him pitch three times this year,” Buckley said. “To get him in the first round, we obviously liked him a lot. He’s got very good upside, good projection to his frame. He throws hard now. He should throw a little harder as most high school kids do as they get bigger and stronger. We’re real excited to have him.”

 

Draft picks officially signed

Now that they’ve passed their physicals, the signings of the Reds’ top two Draft picks — pitchers Mike Leake and Brad Boxberger – became official on Monday night.

Leake, the eighth overall selection, got a bonus of $2.27 million. The organization’s supplemental first round choice at No. 43 overall, Boxberge received a bonus worth $857,000.

“We’re excited,” Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said. “We didn’t want to say anything until we worked out all the terms. That’s standard to get through the physicals. Everything is OK.”

Although the two sides reached agreements on Saturday, the deals were announced about 30 minutes before the midnight ET deadline. Both players and GM Walt Jocketty will meet with the media at Great American Ball Park at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Leake, a right-handed starter from Arizona State, was 16-1 with a 1.71 ERA, 24 walks and 162 strikeouts in 142 innings over 19 games this season. His bonus was over the MLB slot recommendation of $2.043 million but equaled the 2008 slot level.

Boxberger was 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA, 50 walks and 99 strikeouts in 14 starts this season for USC.

Leake was the first pitcher selected by the Reds in the first round since RHP Homer Bailey in 2004. He was the first collegiate pitcher selected by the Reds in the opening round since RHP Ryan Wagner in 2003. The Reds had selected a position player with their first pick in each of the previous four drafts: 1B Yonder Alonso (2008), C Devin Mesoraco (2007), OF Drew Stubbs (2006) and OF Jay Bruce (2005).

Both players will soon report to Sarasota.

“Neither one of the guys have pitched in a game in a couple of months,” Buckley said. “They have to get tuned up. I’m not sure they’ll pitch before the season is over. They both pitched a lot of innings this year.”

Reds select Leake

With the eighth overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday, the Reds picked right-handed starting pitcher Mike Leake from Arizona State University.

“I didn’t know they were that interested,” Leake said on a conference call Tuesday night. “I’m grateful and happy that they were that interested.”

Leake, a 21-year-old junior, was 16-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) for the Sun Devils this season. In 132 2/3 innings, he had 21 walks and 150 strikeouts. Arizona State is currently participating in the College World Series.

Here is what Reds senior director of scouting Chris Buckley had to say about Leake:

“He’s a very polished college pitcher with four pitches. The numbers are just off the charts. He’s a very good baseball player. He’s one of their better position players. This guy hit the ground running in college.”

“It’s his command and how polished he is. He throws four pitches for strikes. He can throw them at any time. He’s an outstanding fielder. He has an outstanding pickoff move. He has all the intangibles that good pitchers have.”

Leake’s four pitches are a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His fastball runs 88-93 mph and can touch 94 mph. He’s smaller pitcher listed at 6-foot and weighs 180 pounds…but Leake admitted his media guide exaggerated a little. He’s actually 5-10 1/2.

“It’s always been a thing that’s haunted me,” Leake said of his size. “I don’t let it get to me that much. I know all you have to do is show what you’re capable of and it will pay off in the end.”

Because ASU is still playing, negotiations to sign Leake have to remain on hold until his school is finished. He did not sound as though he wanted talks to drag out all summer.

“I will be ready to do it once our season is over,” Leake said. “The sooner we can get it done, the better. We can build a better relationship that way instead of going back and forth at each other with different negotiations.”

As for where he could start, Buckley did not commit to a Minor League level. His innings count indicates he won’t likely be rushed up the system this year if he does sign before the Aug. 17 deadline.

“This is a guy that’s 16-1 so he’s pitched a fair amount of baseball this year,” Buckley said. “You don’t want to rush him or put him in a situation where he could get hurt.”

Leake has a MLBlog already…check it out.

*****

Here are the other Day 1 Draft picks by the Reds:

Compensation round, 43rd overall, RHP Brad Boxberger, USC.

Round 2, 57th overall, SS Billy Hamilton, Taylorsville HS, Mississippi

Round 3, 88th overall, LHP Donnie Joseph, Univ. of Houston

Here is the link to my wrap-up story on Reds.com/MLB.com.

 

*****

Obviously, it takes dozens and dozens of scouts for an organization to comb through thousands of eligible players and watch their games, do interviews, etc. It’s one of the most unsung parts of the industry.

For fans, anybody taken after round one (and even some of the first-round guys) will garner shrugs because no one but their parents and those scouts know who they are.

Researching a story I did for Day 2 of the Draft, here are some players on the current Reds 25-man roster that were late round picks.

No one on the Reds epitomizes late, late round success better than reliever Daniel Herrera. The lefty was a 45th round selection (1,345th overall) by the Rangers in 2006.

  • RHP Jared Burton was taken in the eighth round (248th overall) in 2002 by the A’s.
  • OF Chris Dickerson was a 16th round pick (471st overall) by the Reds in 2003.
  • RHP Carlos Fisher was the Reds’ 11th round pick (332nd overall) in 2005.
  • Outfielder Jonny Gomes was the Rays’ 18th round (529th overall) selection in 2001.
  • IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. was taken by the Orioles in the 11th round (345th overall) in 1997.
  • Reds ace Aaron Harang was a 1999 sixth round pick by the Rangers (195th overall).
  • SS Paul Janish was a seventh round (138th overall) of the Reds in 2004.
  • RHP Mike Lincoln was taken by the Twins in the 13th round (367th overall) in 1996.
  • RHP Nick Masset was an eighth round (244th overall) of the Rangers in 2000.
  • OF Laynce Nix was taken in the fourth round (124th overall) in 2000 by the Rangers.
  • IF Adam Rosales was the Reds’ 12th round pick (362nd overall) in 2005.

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