Over the next six weeks, MLB-DI will take a look at each teams draft class, breaking down the best — and most questionable — over the past week.
Next up, the Cleveland Indians. The Indians had one of my least favorite first-round picks in 2013, but they did very well in the later rounds. Was that the case again this year? Or was it the opposite? Let’s discuss.
The Decision Makers
General Manager: Chris Antonetti
Director, Amateur Scouting: Brad Grant
Position Players: 15
Corner infielders: 03
Middle infielders: 05
The First Ten Rounds
Steal: Player was selected several rounds — or in the case of the first-round, several picks — later than his value indicated.
Solid: Player was taken later than his value indicated.
Average: Player was selected where his value indicated.
Slight-reach: Player was taken slightly earlier than his value indicated.
Reach: Player was drafted several rounds or picks earlier than his value indicated.
|01.05||Clint Frazier||OF||Loganville H.S. (Ga.)||Average|
|05.141||Sean Brady||LHP||Ida Baker H.S (Fla.)||Average|
|06.171||Casey Shane||RHP||Centennial H.S. (Tex.)||Solid|
|07.201||Kenny Mathews||LHP||Riverside C.C. (Calif.)||Average|
|09.261||Thomas Pannone||LHP||Southern Nevada||Average|
|10.291||Ross Kivett||2B||Kansas State||Average|
Analysis: I wasn’t as high on Clint Frazier as some of the scouts I talk to, but I do think the Indians did okay here. Frazier can really hit, with as much bat-speed as any player in this class. My concern with Frazier is two-fold; I don’t think he’s going to be playing center-field on a major league club, and I don’t think there’s a ton of projection. I see an above-average bat at the corner outfield, and if he can play center, he’ll be the best high school position player to come out of this draft.
I get mixed opinions as to whether or not Kime can start at the next level, but I don’t see it. The command has never been a strength, and neither his cutter or change is good enough to be even an average offering. I think he’ll be a very good reliever, but at pick 78 I think there were better pitchers on the board.
On the other hand, I do believe Crockett can start, although he’ll need some mechanical adjustments. Crockett has very good control and command, and I think his slider is good enough to keep hitters off balance. I’m not a big fan of his delivery and he’ll need to develop a third pitch, but he can be a back-end guy because of how well he hits his spots.
Cleveland took two pitchers who couldn’t be more different with their fourth and fifth round picks, but I think both could be effective big league hurlers. Brady is sort of like Rob Kaminsky without the command, but he does have a good feel for pitching and will flash three above-average pitches.
I’m higher on Shane than the industry, and I think he was outstanding value for the Indians in the sixth round. He won’t be 18 until late August, and he has good feel for pitching and a sinking — albeit inconsistent — fastball. He will be a long-term project and he’ll need to watch his size (already 230 pounds), but I see a mid-rotation starter with the chance for more.
Trevor Frank signed for only $10,00 dollars, but don’t let that fool you; he’s an intriguing arm that late. He was the Riverside closer this year after starting the previous three, and will attack hitters with a 93-95 mile per hour fastball and an above-average slider.
Like the Twins, the Indians didn’t take a ton of signability risks in the later rounds, but there were some notable exceptions. Aaron Brown is a draft-eligible sophomore who is a ground-ball machine and a could be a solid mid-rotation arm from the left side, but apparently is headed back to Pepperdine. Adam Plutko was a very highly regarded 2011 prospect who has become purely a command guy at UCLA, but he is an intriguing guy in the 11th round. The best late pick, though, was Wil Crowe; a right-hander with great feel for pitching and a plus breaking ball. He’s headed to South Carolina.
Also, we need to bring up Siknarf Loopstock for two reasons. First, he’s an average catcher with some power from the right side. And secondly, well, that name is just tremendous.
It was interesting to me that the Indians went with Frazier over Braden Shipley and Colin Moran, if only because they’ve been so college heavy and so many reports had them so intrigued by Moran especially. I would have taken Shipley over Frazier, but I think there’s more upside in Frazier’s bat than Moran’s, so I think they did the right thing in that regard. If Crockett and Kime can start I think this could be a very good draft — and keep an eye on Shane — but there’s a ton of risks with this class as well. We’ll see how those risks play out in the next couple of years.