by Chris Duzyk

A quick review of the Reds’ 2021 day 2 draft picks

Day 2 of the 2021 MLB Draft saw the Reds split their picks between five pitchers and four position players — all from the college ranks — to add to their three picks from day 1. Let’s review what to know about each player selected.

No. 53 overall — Andrew Abbott, pitcher

The Reds opened their day two by taking the 6-foot left-handed pitcher out of the University of Virginia.

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades (out of 80)

Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50

Abbott pitched out of the bullpen his first three years at Virginia before being put into the starting rotation in 2021. Abbott responded with a stellar senior season, striking out 162 batters over 106.2 innings, good for third-most in all Division I. The only pitchers ahead of him were Vanderbilt stars and top-10 picks Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker.

Abbott’s strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) stayed consistent other than the jump during the Covid-shortened season where he only threw 13.1 innings, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB) actually improved as a starter.

  • 2018: 13.7 K/9, 4.87 K/BB
  • 2019: 12.1 K/9, 2.36 K/BB
  • 2020: 19.2 K/9, 3.5 K/BB
  • 2021: 13.7 K/9, 5.1 K/BB

Abbot primarily mixes a low 90s fastball that can reach 95 mph and an above-average curveball that was his primary out pitch. As a starter this season, Abbott mixed in his changeup more frequently — a pitch that will need to improve if he continues as a starter. Scouts seem a little split on if Abbot will be used out of the ‘pen or as a starter long term, and a lot will probably depend on the development of the third pitch. Most lean that he has the ability to be a starter long-term, but he has demonstrated success from both roles throughout his college career.

The slot value for the 53rd pick is $1,370,400.

No. 89 overall — Jose Torres, shortstop

The third-round pick added another shortstop to the draft class for the Reds with the 6-foot, Dominican-born right-hander from NC State.

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades (out of 80)

Hit: 45 | Power: 45 | Run: 45| Arm: 60 | Fielding: 60

Unlike first-round pick Matt McLain, there seems to be little doubt if Jose Torres will remain at shortstop in his professional career. Almost 22 years old, Torres only played two years of college baseball, one being the Covid-shortened 2020. According to MLB.com, “he can get overly aggressive at the plate.” This is reflected in his strikeout-to-walk ratio, which Reds Minor Leagues’ Doug Gray attributed to “some concerns about how well he has handled offspeed stuff in college.” However, we see below his K% has improved from the small sample size of 2020.

  • 2020: 30.7% K%, 4.6% BB%
  • 2021: 18.0% K%, 6.0% BB%

The slot value for the 89th pick is $667,900.

No. 119 overall — Ruben Ibarra, first base

The 6-foot-5, 290 pound first basemen out of San Jose State showed above-average to plus power in his redshirt junior season. He finished the year with 14 home runs and a .850 SLG, which was good for second in Division I. Ibarra saw positive trends across his entire slash line throughout his collegiate career, posting a fantastic .503 OBP his final year. According to scouts, he has the athleticism to continue playing first base in the pros.

  • 2018: .245/.288/.265
  • 2020: .344/.474/.574
  • 2021: .381/.503/.850

The slot value for the 119th pick is $483,000.

No. 150 overall — Thomas Farr, pitcher

The Reds added their second pitcher of the draft with the 6-foot right-hander from the University of South Carolina. Drafted in the 37th round in 2019 after a shoulder injury saw him fall on draft boards, Farr transferred to South Carolina from Northwest Florida State Junior College.

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades (out of 80)

Fastball: 60| Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 45

Farr’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s but can top out around 97 mph, and he has an above-average spiked curve to mix in. One concern noted by scouts is some command issues highlighted by a 4.11 BB/9 in 2021. The development of his third pitch, a changeup, along with progression of his control, will play a factor in his role as a pitcher within the organization.

The slot value for the 150th pick is $357,100.

No. 180 overall — Justice Thompson, outfielder

The sixth round saw the Reds go back to the ACC for North Carolina’s speedy center fielder.

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades (out of 80)

Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 65 | Arm: 50 | Fielding: 60

Thompson displayed his speed stealing 15 bases on 17 attempts in 2021. Only playing one year of Division I baseball at UNC, some scouts show concern for his pitch recognition as well as how often he swings and misses. However, his above-average fielding and raw power provide reasons to be optimistic for his future.

  • 2019: 10 BB, 28 K, .337 Avg.
  • 2020: 7 BB, 12 K, .344 Avg.
  • 2021: 25 BB, 67 K, .304 Avg.

The quote from MLB.com, “on pure physical ability, Thompson would go in the first two rounds,” shows how much upside Thompson can have if his bat comes along.

The slot value for the 180th pick is $272,500.

No. 210 overall — Kevin Abel, pitcher

The Reds added the 6-foot-1 right-hander in the seventh round. After a stellar 2018 freshman season, Abel lost most of 2019 to Tommy John surgery and did not play in 2020 due to Covid and rehabbing from the surgery.

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades (out of 80)

Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50

Abel features a plus changeup as his secondary pitch, along with an above-average to plus curveball. His fastball can get into the low 90s but mostly sat in the upper 80s this past year. Abel is credited with mixing his pitches very well to keep hitters off-balance, but at times has struggled with command.

  • 2018: 5.1 BB/9
  • 2019: 5.0 BB/9
  • 2021: 6.7 BB/9

While striking out 109 over 82 innings in 2021, he also walked 61. Abel will need to improve on that command in order to succeed at the next level.

The slot value for the 210th pick is $213,300.

No. 240 overall — Hunter Parks, pitcher

The 6-foot-4 right-hander out of Florence-Darlington Technical Junior College was taken in the eighth round by the Reds.

MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades (out of 80)

Fastball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Slider: 50 | Control: 50

Parks’ fastball sits in the low 90s but can get up to 95 mph. According to scouts, his slider and changeup both show potential but need further development. At only 187 pounds, there is the potential to add weight and potentially power to his fastball and slider to improve both pitches.

The slot value for the 240th pick is $172,100.

No. 270 overall — Jack Rogers, outfielder

The Reds selected Sam Houston State’s 6-foot-2 outfielder with their ninth-round pick. After hitting for average his first three years, Rogers saw a big jump in power his senior season with 16 home runs. One concern will be the high strikeout totals throughout his collegiate career.

  • 2018: 116 PA, 5 HR, 34 K
  • 2019: 223 PA, 8 HR, 58 K
  • 2020: 60 PA, 1 HR, 16 K
  • 2021: 251 PA, 16 HR, 58 K

The slot value for the 270th pick is $153,600.

No. 300 overall — Donovan Benoit, pitcher

To round out the day, the Reds took the 6-foot-4 right-hander out of Tulane. Benoit’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s, but he has been inconsistent throwing strikes. Mark Sheldon reported that, according to Reds’ scouting director Joe Katuska, “we’ve seen three pitches from him, and think we can develop him as a starter, but we know there’s that high-octane stuff that could fit into a back-end role.”

The slot value for the 300th pick is $144,800.

Featured Image: Thomas Farr, TigerNet.com (Flickr)

Chris began his Reds fandom with family trips from central Kentucky to Riverfront Stadium. At a young age, he had to learn to swing a wiffle ball bat left handed to properly imitate Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey in backyard games against his brother. A graduate from Centre College, he was able to combine his love of baseball statistics and analytics often into his statistics and econometrics courses. He currently is living in Northern Kentucky where all it takes is a simple walk across the bridge to enjoy the games. Find him on Twitter @cduzyk.