06/04/2002 3:24 pm ET
Indians draft Guthrie in first round
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie decided not to sign with the Pirates after they had picked him in the third round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.
At the time, Guthrie had a question he wanted to put to rest: Was he a one-season wonder?
And he found the answer. It's no.
For Stanford, Guthrie proved that point this season, which is why the Indians used their No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft on the Cardinal right-hander.
"He's successful, durable and has a proven track record as a college pitcher," said John Mirabelli, assistant general manager and architect of the Tribe's 2002 draft. "That's what I like about Guthrie."
In the 23-year-old Guthrie, Mirabelli selected a power pitcher who had anchored the rotation of one of the dominant programs in college baseball.
In 17 starts this season, Guthrie went 11-1 with a 2.34 ERA. He gave up 117 hits, struck out 119 and walked 30 in 134 1/3 innings.
His work with the Cardinal earned Guthrie the 2002 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year award.
The selection of Guthrie continued the trend that Mirabelli has followed in his job of running the Indians draft. He was again looking to select the best player available, and Guthrie was that player.
Reports have described Guthrie as a pitcher who had command of four pitches -- a mid-90s fastball, a curve, a slider and an improving changeup.
He is also described as a mature athlete who had grasped the mental aspects of pitching under Stanford coach Mark Marquess, who had tutored star Major League pitchers like Mike Mussina and Jack McDowell.
"Jeremy is one of, if not the best, pitchers in college baseball," said Marquess, whose ballclub remains alive in the NCAA baseball tournament. "He'll be a tremendous professional pitcher because he has the ability to throw three or four pitches for strikes. I'm happy for him, because he's earned it and worked hard."
In discussing Guthrie, Mirabelli used more generic terms than Marquess did. Mirabelli said he'd been advised that whatever praise he might heap on Guthrie, a junior who has the option of returning to college, could be used against the Indians in contract talks.
"We obviously liked the fact that he's a winner," Mirabelli said. "He comes from a program with a proven track record of producing Major League pitchers."
He said Guthrie's maturity should speed his climb through the Tribe's farm system, where his career will probably begin in Class A Kinston.
Mirabelli also said 6-foot-1, 195-pound Guthrie, who agent is Scott Boras, had given the Indians some assurances that he was signable this time.
"Jeremy Guthrie has told us, in no uncertain terms, that it is his intention to go to professional baseball, and to go out now," Mirabelli said.
Justice B. Hill is a senior writer with MLB.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Well-proportioned, solid, compact body. Strong arms and legs. Built like Bret Saberhagen. Compact delivery with quick arm. Slider breaks fast and sharp. Fastball tails when crossing plate. Good arm action on change. 11-to-5 curve with snap. Good makeup, challenges hitters.