- By David Jablonski Staff Writer
The Major League Baseball draft ended Wednesday for the Cincinnati Reds when they took Ryan Cusick, a high school pitcher from Sudbury, Mass., in the 40th round. He was the 1,189th of 1,204 players selected.
Chris Buckley, the Reds’ vice president of amateur scouting, called the Reds’ group of 41 players a balanced draft class. The Reds now have three rookie-league teams in Greeneville, Tenn., Billings, Mont., and Goodyear, Ariz., so they needed all the help they could get. The Greeneville Reds, of the Appalachian League, were added this year.
“We got 19 right-handed pitchers, two lefties, five catchers, two first basemen, one second basemen, shortstop, third baseman and 10 outfielders,” Buckley said. “It’s a little different than some of the years because there is that third rookie team. Five catchers is probably more than most years. It’s something that’s a big advantage for us because we’ll be able to sign more people and putting more people in always helps. There’s always going to be injuries or guys that don’t reach their potential.”
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The third team will also give the Reds a chance to sign undrafted players this summer. In the past, they might not have had room for extra players.
“In certain years, you can’t take a catcher if you don’t have a spot to play him,” Buckley said.
Among the interesting names taken on the third day was Connor Curlis, a left-handed pitcher from Ohio State and Findlay. The Reds drafted him in the 24th round. He was 7-4 with 3.55 ERA in 16 starts.
The Reds also drafted a college teammate of first-round pick Jonathan India, selecting right-handed pitcher Michael Byrne, of the Florida Gators, in the 14th round.
Looking ahead: The Reds begin a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:10 p.m. Friday at Great American Ball Park. The Cardinals have won 11 straight games against the Reds, including seven in April. It’s their longest winning streak in the series since 1949.
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Matt Harvey (1-4, 5.79 ERA), Luis Castillo (4-6, 5.64) and Anthony DeSclafani (0-1, 7.20) will start for the Reds against Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.41), Michael Wacha (7-1, 2.41) and Carlos Martinez (3-2, 1.83).
Special offer: For an extra $55, fans who attend Sunday’s game can watch the game with Reds Hall of Famer Tom Browning in The Handlebar. The price includes a buffet meal. Fans can meet Browning between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.