Even though the Indians had a day off yesterday, the Indians news did not take a day off. In addition to the first-year player draft, there is also the news that Chris Perez and his wife Melanie were charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Let’s get the bad stuff about Perez out of the way first, and then we can discuss the draft selections.
It seems like Perez had just over 1/3 of a pound of marijuana shipped to his house, and he admitted to police that he had pot for recreational use. The package was actually addressed to “Brody Baum” – the name of the Perez family dog and wife Melanie’s maiden name. (I’ll just say this now, if my dog wants to have drugs shipped to the house, that’s her business…I’m not taking the fall for her though). The couple was released on personal bond, and it’s possible they may get away with a slap on the wrist and a punishment comparable to a traffic violation. As for Major League Baseball, Perez may get lucky and get off the hook with some drug counseling. If you look at MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, marijuana is listed as one of the “drugs of abuse” along with cocaine, PCP, opiates, and several others. If you skip ahead in that linked PDF to section 4 on page 17, it says that a player that tests positive for a “drug of abuse” or is known to possess the drug, they’ll be referred to a treatment program. As long as Perez complies with that program, it looks like he’d be off the hook as far as punishment goes. We’ll have to wait and see the full repercussions from this.
I know that marijuana is legal in two states, but unfortunately Ohio is not one of them. While I do personally think that marijuana should be decriminalized, my opinion on this doesn’t matter – it’s the law in Ohio and Perez broke the law and will face the consequences. I think it’s kind of a boneheaded move to have packages of marijuana shipped to your home, and if Perez has been doing this for a while, he’s lucky he didn’t get caught until now. The way the Indians have been playing, they really don’t need any off-field issues hanging over them. Plus all of this is probably a big disruption to their two small children, which adds to the boneheadedness. Since Perez is still on the DL, the Indians really haven’t had much to say other than they’re “disappointed” and “waiting for facts” and things along those lines. Any trade value that Perez had left after this recent injury, probably went out the window with this ordeal. Even if these charges do nothing to harm his on-field abilities, teams will now probably try to lowball the Indians by painting Perez as more of a problem child than he already was perceived to be. (Edit/correction – someone pointed out to me that marijuana is decriminalized in Ohio – meaning that the penalties for possession are much less severe than some other states that have not decriminalized).
The Indians had the #5 overall selection in the draft last night, and then would not get another selection until #79 due to the draft picks they lost to free agent signings. The August swoon last year was good in some ways, because it meant that the Indians made it into the top 10 and their pick would be protected, even with the signings. However, this isn’t considered one of the stronger drafts of the last few years, so there wasn’t a lot of super high-tier talent at the top this year. Mark Appel, who was drafted 8th by the Pirates last year and did not sign, went first overall to Houston. With their first round selection, the Indians took high school outfielder Clint Frazier, out of Loganville, Georgia.
I’ve seen some refer to Frazier as a high-risk, high-reward kind of player. There’s a good chance he doesn’t make it, but if he does, he could end up being an elite player. To be fair, out of all first round picks, only about 60% actually make the majors. Not necessarily as an all-star, just 60% ever put on a major league uniform. Frazier batted .485 and hit 17 home runs during his senior year of high school; his full line was .485/.561/1.134 (and that slugging percentage figure is not a typo). He hit 63 home runs during his high school career (a school record) and led his team to the Quad-A Georgia state title his junior year. Some teams shy away from high school talent, instead preferring to go with more seasoned college players in the draft. I don’t necessarily fear high school students; look no further than Bryce Harper and Mike Trout (and hopefully, Francisco Lindor) to see that they can work out quite well for teams. At the same time, I’m a little paranoid about Frazier and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Perhaps it’s just the fact that I’m haunted by so many years of bad picks from the Indians, despite the fact that more recent picks have been better. Even though you see the phrase “can’t miss prospect” tossed around a lot, anything can happen between draft day and their progression to the majors. Just look at 2003 first round pick Adam Miller. He consistently threw 100 mph and looked like he was heading for stardom. Then his finger started to fall apart and he underwent multiple surgeries, proving that you can’t predict freak injuries and a whole host of other issues. I’ve heard people compare Frazier to Mike Trout, but there are others who say that comparison is insane. Let’s just hope that Frazier ends up more like Mike Trout than Trevor Crowe.
3rd round, #79 – RHP Dace Kime. Kime is 21-years-old and out of the University of Louisville, where he went 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA this season. He used to pitch out of the bullpen, but moved to a starting role mid-year. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 8th round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Defiance, Ohio, but went to college instead.
4th round, #111 – LHP Kyle Crockett. Crockett pitched out of the bullpen at the University of Virginia, where he was 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 12 saves. As a high school student in Poquoson, Virginia, Crockett was the 2010 Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year and a State Player of the Year in both 2009 and 2010.
5th round, #141 – LHP Sean Brady. Brady is high school student at Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral, Florida, where he went 7-1 with an 0.68 ERA. The Fort Myers News-Press named him their All-Area Baseball Player of the Year, and he was also named the Florida Athletic Coaches Association District 18 Most Valuable Player. He has also committed to attend the University of Florida, so he could opt to go there instead of signing with the Indians.
6th round, #171 – RHP Casey Shane. Shane is a high school student at Centennial High School in Burleson, Texas, where he went 5-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 77 strikeouts. He walked just eight batters all season and held opposing hitters to a .143 average; he allowed no home runs last season. Shane was also named to the named to the Rawlings All-American First Team and has committed to Texas A&M. Like Brady, he could opt for college instead of signing.
7th round, #201 – LHP Kenny Matthews. Matthews is a student at Riverside City College, in Riverside, California; he transferred there from Cal State Fullerton. The 19-year-old went 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA and 52 strikeouts, walking just two all season. He was drafted by the Mets out of Diamond Bar High School in the 12th round of the 2011 draft, but did not sign.
8th round, #231 – RHP Trevor Frank. The 21-year-old senior at the University of California Riverside went 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 10 saves. He was originally a starter, but moved to the bullpen; his fastball sits in the low 90s and occasionally touches 95 mph.
9th round, #261 – LHP Thomas Pannone. A freshman at the College of Southern Nevada, Pannone went 6-2 with a 1.84 ERA this season. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 33rd round of the 2012 draft, but instead opted for college. He was actually initially drafted as an outfielder, but transferred to pitcher in college.
10th round, #291 – Infielder Ross Kivett. Kivett, a junior at Kansas State University, is originally from Broadview Heights and attended St. Edwards High School in Lakewood. Last season for Kansas State, Kivett hit .363 with 26 steals; he was also named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. If you’d like to check out Kivett in action, he’ll be playing in the Super Regional against Oregon this weekend.
So out of the nine players the Indians selected in the first two days of the draft, seven of them were pitchers. They went with a mix of high school and college arms, although the majority have at least some college experience. With the draft pool, the Indians have $6,188,800 to spend on their picks in the first 10 rounds (last year they had $4.6 million to work with). The suggested slot for the number five overall pick is $3,787,000. Tyler Naquin, the Indians’ first round pick in 2012, was slotted at $2.25 million, but ended up signing for $1.75 million. If the Indians can strike a deal with Frazier, it will give them more money to sign their later picks.