I apologize for not getting to this earlier, but I had quite a bit on my plate until now. Anyways, I received this question a few days ago:
My real question is, who do you think the indians take with there pick in the first round. I’m reading Heaney, but do you think that they may take Zimmer or Stratton, or maybe a bat like Rahier, Piscotty, Kelly, or Schaffer.
Well Connor, I was “Pumped” at one point about that sweep. Now? Not so much; however, that is a different post for a different day. In case you need a quick refresher on past draft results, see below for some of the past Indians draftees.
1st Round Selection– Lonnie Chisenhall (SS, 29th Overall, Pitt C.C.)- Well, based on the fact that the Chiz kid has made it to the big leagues and seems to have an idea of how to hit a baseball, I will consider this pick to be a success. Chisenhall seems to be finally breaking through the AAA door, and it is possible that he could stick on the big league roster for the season and years to come based on his performance for the next couple of months.
2nd Round Selection– Trey Haley (RHP, 76th Overall, Central Heights H.S., Texas)- All you need to know is that despite Haley being selected four years ago, he still finds himself in A ball; however, after taking some bumps and bruises early on, it seems as if Haley is capable of developing into a reliever for the Tribe. Stay tuned.
Bonus Selection that you may know?– Cord Phelps was taken in the 3rd round of this draft. It seems as if he is stuck in AAA without much of a chance of breaking through due to Kipnis’s play, he may serve as some trade bait at the deadline, or breakthrough into the big leagues in some way. It is important to understand though that Phelps is now 25, and that “prospect” window is closing fast.
1st Round Selection– Alex White (RHP, 15th Overall, North Carolina)- As you may already know, White was a part of the trade that brought Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. Even though Indians fans were quite excited about White’s potential in an Indians uniform, he has struggled mightily since being relocated to Colorado.
2nd Round Selection– Jason Kipnis (CF, 63rd Overall, Arizona State)- Grand Slam on Friday. That is all.
Bonus Selection that you may know?– There is literally no one picked after these two who are notable. I will throw out Joe Gardner, the third round selection from this draft, only because he ended up also being shipped to Colorado for Jimenez. This. Draft. Was. Lacking.
1st Round Selection– Drew Pomeranz (LHP, 5th Overall, Ole Miss)- Yet another exciting left-handed pitching prospect the Indians selected in the early rounds (Don’t get me started on David Huff, Jeremy Guthrie, etc.). Of course, Pomeranz is best known for being the other top-tier prospect involved in the Ubaldo Jimenez incident (Yes, I referred to the trade as if it was a mystery novel); however, since being dealt to Colorado he has also struggled, posting an E.R.A. of 5.01 in 9 starts for the Rockies.
2nd Round Selection– Levon Washington (OF, 55 Overall, Chipola JC, Florida)- He was a first rounder the year before, but failed to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays. He could be the second coming of Logan Morrison largely due to his Twitter following. #WashTime
Bonus Selection that you may know?– Cody Allen (16th Rounder) was selected in this draft, but did not sign with the Indians. More on him in just a moment.
1st Round Selection– Francisco Lindor (SS, 8th Overall, Monteverde HS)- The organizations current heir to the short-stop position, Lindor has played well for the first 200 AB’s for Lake County. Remember however that Lindor is still just 18, and is still far from the bigs.
2nd Round Selection– Dillon Howard (RHP, 67th Overall, Searcy HS)- Has not thrown a pitch yet in the minors, but is already on the radar as some one to watch in 2012. Stay tuned.
Cody Allen’s “Redrafting”- After not-signing with the Indians after being drafted in 2010, the Indians re-drafted Cody Allen seven rounds later in 2011. He signed this time, and has been lighting it up in the Indians farm system ever since. In just one minor league season, Allen has already ascended to AAA Columbus, and could be in line for a September call-up.
Phew, I am already worn out from all of that. I listed some of the past picks to illustrate just how important the early rounds of a draft are. Whiffing on these early picks can be devastating to your farm system; therefore, it is essential that the Indians pick the right player in this year’s draft. On to Connor’s question….
With the Cleveland Indians stuck smack dab in the middle of the first round at 15th Overall this year, they have a couple of options when it comes to first-round talent available. When in doubt, ask Keith Law:
Keith Law, ESPN.com (His Mock Draft 3.0)- Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson.
Shaffer is falling a bit on draft boards after a poor showing at the ACC tournament. The Indians also are linked to Andrew Heaney. (Law has Heaney going 13th in his latest Mock Draft).
A brief profile video from MLB.com on Shaffer can be found here. According to Law, it seems as if Shaffer has improved his defense this season, and projects as a major-leaguer with decent power (20+ HR’s). It is not that I disagree that Shaffer is not a quality 1st rounder, but I feel as if Law is projecting this selection as if the Indians are choosing Shaffer in a “Best Player Available” scenario. Looking at the young players that the Indians already have on the left side of the infield (Lindor, Chisenhall, and Wolters just to name a couple), it seems as if Shaffer would have to undergo a position change to the outfield to stick.
Jordan Bastian has an excellent article here that explains why the Indians should instead opt for pitching with their first couple selections in an effort to restock their farm system. If they are deciding to go this route, I assume that the number one guy on their radar as to be Andrew Heaney.
Law describing some of Heaney’s stuff:
He works from just under a three-quarters arm slot and sits 89-92, occasionally reaching 94, with some tailing action, and he’s aggressive with the fastball to both sides of the plate. He throws a big, two-plane breaking ball at 78-81, like a hard slurve, and will throw several in a row to try to set up a fastball against left-handed batters. His changeup is solid-average at 79-82, although he can slow his arm almost imperceptibly when throwing it, something major league hitters should pick up.
Keep in mind that Heaney led the nation in strikeouts this season and fits the mold of the traditional “Left-Handed College Pitcher” that the Indians have been linked to selecting in past drafts; However, if Heaney is not available, pitchers the Indians may choose include Michael Wacha (RHP, Texas A&M) and Chris Stratton (RHP, Mississippi State). A wildcard pick by me is Lucas Giolito, a high school pitcher who many thought could have gone number one in this year’s draft had it not been for a elbow injury. I am not one to suggest that Indians pick a player who could be labeled as “damaged goods” in this year’s draft, but all tests on the arm showed no tendon or ligament damage. The 6’6, 230 pound right-hander brings a lot of power to the mound (hit 100 mph before the injury; sits 94-98 normally), and could be available when the Indians are on the clock.
Connor, I hope that I answered your question, and let’s get PUMPED for this draft!
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