The Cincinnati Reds used their first round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft to boost their pitching depth as they selected RHP Robert Stephenson out of Alhambra High School in Martinez, California. Although Stephenson has committed to the University of Washington, the Reds must like their chances of convincing him otherwise given their use of a first round pick. John Sickels provided some quick analysis of Stephenson and views him as raw with huge upside:
When scouts see an 18-year-old pitcher who stands 6-2 and can reach 98 miles an hour with his fastball but weighs only 180 pounds, the word "projectability" almost always comes to mind.
Sickels follows that up with the usual concerns of eventual Tommy John surgery for somebody that size with that kind of power. Everybody will be hoping for the best, but a Ferrari engine in a Ford body can sometimes cause breakdown problems.
Based on Sickels and Keith Law's comments, Stephenson can bring the gas and also has a curveball with upside. MLB.com went so far as to say he's drawn comparisons to Matt Garza. Given how Garza has developed, I suppose that could be a good thing and a bad thing. The upside is definitely there and makes it easy to understand why the Reds jumped all over Stephenson at the bottom of the first round.
Head over to mlb.com to view a full scouting report and video of Stephenson in action.
We'll be here for the next three days covering the 2011 MLB Draft for the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland Athletics, and Bay Area baseball products. For more in-depth discussion about the Giants head to McCovey Chronicles. For more on the A's head over to Athletics Nation. For more general minor league and draft discussion, check out Minor League Ball and Baseball Nation.