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06/11/09 6:08 PM ET

Reds stay according to plan in Draft

Cincy boosts middle-infield depth, takes more college players

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have tried to get stronger up the middle of the field at the Major League level. That philosophy was reflected in the organization's picks during the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Of the 50 picks made by the Reds over the Draft, which concluded on Thursday, there were 23 pitchers (including three lefties), seven middle infielders, seven center fielders and six catchers.

"We took a lot of pitching," Reds senior director of scouting Chris Buckley said. "We got a good amount of catching and a number of athletic guys for the middle of the field. When guys can play in the middle of the field, it usually gives that much better of a chance to get there because they can do more things."

Overall, Buckley was pleased with the outcome, even though it won't be known whether his choices will pan out in three to five years. The front office's area scouts attempted not to leave any potential prospect unseen.

"You take it seriously," Buckley said of the Draft. "If they're going to give you 50 picks, I think you should take 50. We have to get two [Rookie-level] teams ready to play on June 23 -- Billings and [Gulf Coast League Reds]. You do have to fill some needs. Sometimes when you take a player just to fill the need, he surprises you and is a bit better than you thought. A lot of times, a kid's makeup and desire push them over the top."

Over the past three days, 34 of the Reds' picks were college players. Although four of the first 10 picks were from high school, the overall ratio of high school vs. college selections fell in line with Buckley's pattern since he joined the Reds in 2006.

"Sometimes you do that by design -- like if you go to an organization that might need a jump-start," Buckley said. "If everything is equal, the college guy is closer to the big leagues. But you see it trend that way a little bit as signability becomes an issue. A college junior is going to be less expensive than a high school guy. A high school guy has four years left. A college guy has one."

Only one selection made by the Reds was a local product. It was first baseman Thomas Nurre, who was taken in the 38th round. Nurre attended St. Xavier High School and was a junior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Reds -- Top five selections
8RHPMichael LeakeArizona St U
43RHPBradley BoxbergerU Southern California
57SSBilly HamiltonTaylorsville HS
88LHPDon JosephU Houston
119CMark FleuryUNC Chapel Hill
Complete Reds Draft results >

Cincinnati's first-round pick, eighth overall, was right-handed pitcher Mike Leake from Arizona State University. Leake is a six-foot-tall starter known for throwing ground balls.

Was he the right choice for the Reds? Time will tell.

"Someone might say Leake was conservative," Buckley said. "I don't see how somebody could say that. It's a lot easier to take the guy that's 6-foot-4. They tell you it's what you're supposed to do. It's a very subjective business. I remember we were criticized in Toronto for taking Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. The whole point is there aren't that many consensus players. [Nationals' overall No. 1 pick] Stephen Strasburg was the one."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.