Sports Today: Reds make familiar move in MLB draft

Credit: Joe Robbins

Credit: Joe Robbins

The headlines say the Cincinnati Reds drafted another third baseman Monday night.

I prefer to see it as selecting another hitter.

The comparisons between 2018 first-rounder Jonathan India and 2016 pick Nick Senzel are only natural.

Both are third basemen from the SEC (Florida and Tennessee, respectively) known best for their bats.

Senzel tore up the Midwest League and breezed through advanced-A and Double-A last year before turning in a strong spring training this year. (He’s currently in Triple-A, where he has had some issues with vertigo.)

Two years ago I really wanted the Reds to draft a hitter in the first round because they haven’t shown they can develop hitters in recent years.

They’ve brought up some sluggers, sure, but not many hitters aside from Joey Votto.

They got Nick Senzel and he proved to be exactly what they were hoping.

Now they say this kid from Florida has a similar projection.

Said team president Dick Williams of India, who hit .365 with 16 homers and 40 RBIs in 54 regular-season games for the Gators this season:

"He's got an advanced offensive approach," Williams said. "To do what he did this year in the best conference in the nation speaks to his ability. He's got a hit tool but with more power than some of the other guys we were looking at in that same range. Very good defensive player. That will serve him well and give us some flexibility with him in terms of moving him around, but he's played a very good third base. We took a close look at that as well."

Ok, sign me up.

Williams also said they think India can be in the majors in a relatively short amount of time, something the organization also felt about Senzel.

Whether comparisons continue beyond this week remain to be seen.

The Reds used their other two picks last night on pitchers.

After years of seeing first-round pitchers flop, I like the idea of getting a position player to start out then stockpiling arms…

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals offseason goes on with hopes of putting two disappointing seasons behind them. 

Jay Morrison noted there is potential for a whole lot of roster turnover after this season, adding another twist to what is already an interesting season thanks to major changes on the coaching staff.

Will that lead to a lot of extra motivation, or is there a risk the locker room easily splinters as everyone looks to get theirs?

For what it's worth, virtually none of the guys year from free agency are irreplaceable — or even necessarily good starters — but there are a handful who could still prove to be more valuable than they have been (most notably offensive linemen Jake Fisher, T.J. Johnson, Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond).

›› Versatility key for Hewitt, Uzomah in revamped Bengals offense

Roster churn is part of life in the NFL, but it’s still kind of amazing they have this many players who are in limbo…

The other Bengals news item yesterday regarded five former players being on the 2019 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

I would vote for two of them: David Fulcher and David Pollack. .

Pollack has the best case for sure.

Three first-team All-America selections is rarefied air, and I am assuming not many two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Years are out there.

He was an absolutely dominant college player who is a little bit forgotten because an injury cut short his pro career.

CUS WORDS: Random thoughts

Meanwhile, Fulcher might be better-known for his days with the Bengals thanks to Dick LeBeau featuring him in the early days of the zone blitz.

From a collegiate perspective, Fulcher has a good case since he was a two-time first-team All-American and a three-time All-Pac 10 pick.

I’m not feeling it for Carson Palmer, who was both a major recruit and a one-year wonder at USC.

That one year was really awesome, but I just don’t think he had enough sustained success to be a hall of famer.

After all, earning All-American honors once is pretty much the minimum criteria.

Yes, he won the Heisman, but that wasn’t the strongest field he beat in 2002. It felt kind of like he won it by default because he was the quarterback at USC, where they had been bad for a while so the story was even bigger.

Perhaps the Thorpe Award gets Rickey Dixon in, but I think he’s not quite there.

(I have high standards, yes.)

Ashley Ambrose?

I’d be lying if I said I were an expert on his career, but I recall his signing being a big deal during the bad old days when almost there was a lot of grasping for good news wherever it could be found.

I believe he was a solid contributor on some of my Tecmo Super Bowl III teams for Super NES, though.

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