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Reds play the field on Day 1 of draft

Reds play the field on Day 1 of draft

ST. LOUIS -- The crop of players taken by the Reds on Tuesday during Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft featured all different shapes, sizes, positions and makeup.

But almost all of them shared one common trait.

Of the 18 picks selected, 15 will be transitioning from a college campus to a Minor League ballpark near you.

"It's not by design," Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said by phone from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. "It's the way it lined up."

The collegiate trend began in the first round when Cincinnati selected outfielder Drew Stubbs from the University of Texas with the eighth overall pick. The second-round pick, pitcher Sean Watson, came from the University of Tennessee and was followed by Chris Valaika, a shortstop from California-Santa Barbara.

And so on, and so forth.

Not considered an organization deep with pitching depth, the Reds didn't skew heavily on pitchers through Day 1. Half of those taken Tuesday were position players -- five infielders and four outfielders.

"It goes very quickly, Buckley said of the draft process. "But we're also trying to fill two teams [Billings and GCL] so it has to go quicker.

"We've spent the last 10 days lining everything up, so you kind of have a good feel for how it's going to go, and how it's going to fall."

Watson, the 52nd overall pick, was one of the college arms taken and was considered quite versatile.

"He's a polished college pitcher," Buckley said. "He was used in both roles [starter and relief]. This year, he was a good team player and their coach had him close. He's a big guy with good stuff."

There was one player taken with local ties. First baseman Logan Parker from the University of Cincinnati, but a Texas native, was taken in the 12th round.

"Lots of our people liked him, and I saw him play in the Big East tournament," Buckley said. "He's a better athlete than you usually get at that position."

The Reds planned to sign as many of the players taken on the first day as possible, Buckley said. A lot of the players taken on day two are expected to be of the "draft and follow" variety -- the organization will chart their progress in summer leagues and other programs.

Don't expect to see too many of these players at Great American Ball Park anytime soon. For those that even make it to the Majors, it could take several years before they're ready.

"Most people don't know who a whole lot of these players are," Buckley said. "They don't know who we picked in the seventh, eighth round. They're not seeing these players on television. We've spent a lot of time. We had regional meetings, and our scouts did a very good job tracking them down."

Here is a pick-by-pick overview of the Reds' Day 1 draft selections:

No. 8 overall, Drew Stubbs, OF, Univ. of Texas: Many consider Stubbs to be the best athlete taken overall in 2006. His power, speed and defense are plusses, but his high rate of striking out is a red flag.

No. 52, Sean Watson, RHP, University of Tennessee: Had 11 saves while going 4-3 with a 4.61 ERA in 29 games. Has a three-pitch repertoire.

No. 84, Chris Valaika, SS, UC-Santa Barbara: Batted .335 in 2006 while leading the the Big West conference with 57 RBIs. Sat out all of 2005 with a knee injiury.

No. 114, Justin Reed, OF, Hillcrest Christian HS, Miss.: Athletic kid that can swing the bat, according to the club's reports.

No. 144, Josh Ravin, RHP, Chatsworth HS, Calif.: Considered to be polished for a high school pitcher, with a good delievery and three pitches.

No. 174, Jordan Smith, RHP, Southern Nevada CC:

No. 204, Justin Turner, 2B, Cal State-Fullerton University: Batting .355 in 57 games this season and is still playing in NCAA tournament.

No. 234, Travis Webb, LHP, Washington State University: Posted a 4-0 record with eight saves and a 2.17 ERA this season. Opponents hit just .215 against him.

No. 264, Jeremy Burchett, RHP, University of California-Berkeley: In his first season as a full-time reliever, finished with 23 strikeouts in 31 innings. Posted a 3.19 ERA and five saves.

No. 294, Josh Roenicke, RHP, UCLA: Also played outfield for the Bruins, but he posted a 2-3 record with a 3.46 ERA and four save with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings.

No. 324, Brandon Rice, Spalding HS, Georgia:

No. 354, Logan Parker, University of Cincinnati: Rated above average athletically as a first baseman. He could end up playing a corner outfield spot.

No. 384, Kevin Gunter, RHP, Old Dominion University: In 15 starts for ODU, went 6-5 with a 3.46 ERA. Struck out 101 batters, compared to 30 walks, over 104 innings.

No. 414, Carson Kainer, OF, University of Texas: Teammate of Stubbs is considered an offensive-type of player.

No. 444, Rafael Sanchez, 3B, Queensborough CC: The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder also pitched in college, but was drafted as an infielder.

No. 474, Jamie Arneson, LHP, Bakersfield College: Struck out 102 batters in 81 innings this season.

No. 504, Chris Heisey, OF, Messiah College, Pa.: Batted .428 this season and was named Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year. Stole 21 bases in 22 attempts.

No. 534, Ryan Wehrle, SS, University of Nebraska: Led the Huskers in batting average (.367), hits (83) and on-base percentage (.447). He was a first-team All-Big 12 selection.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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