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NL Central First Round Picks

by J.T. Toth

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Draft 412 has already reported on the Pirates' first round draft pick of starting pitcher, Paul Skenes. If you didn’t read it is:

Now, it is time for Draft 412 to peek behind the curtain of the NL Central to see how other members of the division fared with their first round picks and provide some analysis on players you will see (and most likely root against) in the future.

Cincinnati Reds- (7)- SP-Rhett Lowder-Wake Forest

The Reds selected a polished starting pitcher out of Wake Forest who can get through the minors quickly and become part of this Cincinnati resurgence.

Rhett Lowder has a quality four-pitch mix including a quality low 90’s fastball and the best changeup in the class. He has shown that he can pitch on the biggest stage and excel.

Draft 412, in our draft preview, compared him to Mike Clevinger of the Chicago White Sox, not just because of his crazy, long hair but because his changeup is a game changer.

Pirate fans, get used to the name Rhett Lowder because once he becomes part of the Reds' young starting pitching staff, he will be a force for the Queen City.

Chicago Cubs- (13)- SS-Matt Shaw-Maryland

Though he has played shortstop and is listed as such, Shaw will be a second baseman in pro ball. Shaw has the bat-to-ball skills you love from a top of the order hitter. In his college career, he has walked more than he has struck out and hits the majority of pitches hard. He projects as a .290 hitter, capable of hitting 20 home runs and stealing 20 bases.

Milwaukee Brewers-(18)- 3B-Brock Wilken-Wake Forest

The Brewers, with the 18th pick, took one of the best power hitters from college baseball. Wilken hit 31 home runs for the Demon Deacons and posted a .506 OBP. As many power hitters do, Wilken strikes out at a high rate, and there is no reason to see his approach changing in the future.

He is an above average third baseman in the field who has the arm to move to right field for the Brewers if needed.

Wilken will be an all-or-nothing type hitter who should bat for a .250 average and hit 30 home runs, but strikes out 130 plus times. Chances are good that Wilken will make Bernie Brewer take a trip or two down that god-awful slide against the Pirates in the future.

St. Louis Cardinals-(21)-OF-Chase Davis-Arizona

Draft 412, along with most outlets, did not have Chase Davis listed in their first round mocks. Davis started flying up draft boards after the combine on the heels of a much improved junior season and is one of the better five-tool players in this draft.

In his junior year at Arizona, he hit 21 home runs, batted .362 and walked more (43) than he struck out (40). He projects as a center fielder who has the speed to stick there.

The Cardinals may have gotten a steal at pick 21, and Chase Davis could be the next big prospect to roam the outfield at Busch Stadium.

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