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Simple strategy: Pick the best
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06/05/2002 9:38 pm ET 
Simple strategy: Pick the best
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com

Pat Osborn had heard that the Indians were the team most likely to select him Tuesday in the June draft. He had heard that he would probably go around the No. 72 spot.

But hearing all of that and letting the reality take shape still led to anxious moments for Osborn, a 21-year-old third baseman at the University of Florida.

"I heard before the draft that the Indians wanted some college position players," Osborn said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "They really liked me, so I kinda figured it would be a good fit."

On paper, he does seem like a good fit, because the Indians did want to restock their farm system with position players, General Manager Mark Shapiro had said before the draft.

In plotting the 2002 draft, scouting director John Mirabelli did look at mature position players like Osborn, a sandwich pick, as prospects who might have Major League potential.

"That's a good thing for me, knowing they need position players," Osborn said. "Hopefully, I can fill that void for 'em. I look forward to the challenge."

2002 First-Year Player Draft
JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
Draft order | Rules | FAQ

FULL COVERAGE:
Bullington goes first
Drafttracker
Complete Draft coverage

He does know that he will find plenty of challenges along the way to wearing a big leaguer's uniform.

In his senior season, Osborn, who bats right-handed, put up some flashy numbers. He had a .414 average with 17 home runs and 76 RBIs for the Gators. But he was swinging an aluminum bat, not Major League lumber.

"I've swung wood bats ever since I was in high school, but never for a long period of time like I'll have to be doin' now," he said. "It'll be an adjustment."

The big adjustment, he said, will be in his swing mechanics and in his mental approach to hitting. But Osborn also knows he'll have to get stronger, adding a little muscle to his wiry, 6-foot-3, 210-pound body.

The thought of making adjustments doesn't worry Osborn at all, because he understood that part of baseball.

Besides, he had been making adjustments all of his life as he prepared for a career in the Majors. His selection in the June draft was his next step there.

"That's every ballplayers dream to get to the Majors," he said. "As far as a timetable, it's hard to gauge, you know. Some people make it quick; others take a couple more years.

"For me, hopefully it'll be as quick as it can."

The holes that the Indians have in their farm system might even quicken the pace for Osborn rise to the Majors. He will, however, have competition in his way at third base, perhaps even the Tribe's No. 31 pick -- 18-year-old Matt Whitney.

First, though, Osborn has a contract he and his advisers will need to hammer out. He doesn't see that as a problem.

"I've thought about that," he said. "We'll just wait and see. I'd like to do it without any trouble -- and just get it done. But I have no clue how long it'll take to get it done.

"But I'm the type person that I wanna get out there and play, so my goal is to get (a contract) as soon as I can."

INDIANS 2002 DRAFT PICKS
22 JEREMY S GUTHRIE RHP STANFORD U
33 MATTHEW J WHITNEY 1B PALM BEACH GARDENS HS
41 MICAH C SCHILLING 2B SILLIMAN INSTITUTE
63 BRIAN J SLOCUM RHP VILLANOVA U
72 PATRICK B OSBORN SS U FLORIDA
82 JASON M COOPER RF STANFORD U
94 DANIEL E CEVETTE LHP ELKLAND AREA HS
124 FERNANDO PACHECO 1B MONTGOMERY HS
154 LOUIS B FRANCISCO OF U CALIFORNIA
184 MICHAEL K HERNANDEZ LHP FRESNO ST U
214 BRIAN G WRIGHT OF NORTH CAROLINA ST U
244 BLAKE T ALLEN LHP UNION U
274 SHAUN M LARKIN 2B CALIFORNIA ST U
304 KEITH RAMSEY LHP U FLORIDA
334 WILLIAM PEAVEY 1B U SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
364 RANDALL C LONGWORTH LF JJ KELLY HS
394 REID G SANTOS LHP SADDLEBACK CC
424 MICHAEL D MITCHELL RHP ST CHARLES JC
454 NATHAN E PANTHER OF CF MUSCATINE CC
484 OMAR CASILLAS C ANA J CANDELAS
514 JEFFERY W OSTRANDER LHP PATRICK HENRY HS
544 JAHSEAM GEORGE LHP SAN JOSE ST U
574 CURT T MENDOZA OF REDLANDS HS
604 CHRIS WHITE LHP KENT ST U
634 EZEKIEL A PARRAZ SS CC SOUTHERN NEVADA
664 CLAYTON A MCCULLOUGH C EAST CAROLINA U
694 AARON TENNYSON LHP MILAN HS
724 DANIEL N DONALDSON LHP MEMORIAL HS
754 NICHOLAS J PESCO RHP COSUMNES RIVER COL
784 JOSE CARDONA LHP AMERICAN MILITARY ACADEMY
814 DEREK A DUNNE RHP SULLIVAN HS
844 TIM R SABO RHP DON BOSCO PREP
874 RUBEN FLORES RHP RIVERSIDE HS
904 DANIEL EISENTRAGER RHP SS CALIFORNIA ST U
934 JEFFREY B DAVIS RHP U KANSAS
964 ROBERT S DOUGLAS LHP U SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
994 JENSEN D LEWIS RHP ANDERSON HS
1024 CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS C MARCUS HS
1054 KEVIN D HAWKINS RHP EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL
1084 AARON J BRAITHWAITE OF INDIAN RIVER CC
1114 LUIS A DEJESUS SS NEW MEXICO CC
1144 JOHN E MORAN SS SOUTHAVEN HS
1174 BLAKE G TAYLOR RHP U SOUTH CAROLINA
1204 SHEA S MCFEELY SS FEDERAL WAY HS
1234 ANDREW J KNIGHT LHP MAIZE HS
1264 CHRISTOPHER A ROSARIO CF PINE RIDGE HS
1293 MATTHEW D PAZ RHP CALIFORNIA ST U
1321 RICHARD F WELLS 3B GLENDALE COL
1348 TRUAN J MEHL CF HUTCHINSON CC
1375 AARON C DAVIDSON 2B U FLORIDA
1401 JAMES M MAYER SS SOMERSET SR HS
1427 BRYCE Z KARTLER LHP ARIZONA ST U
1452 DANIEL S LINDNER RHP POTOMAC ST COL
1476 RICARDO CONCEPCION RF PETRA CORRETSER HS

Justice B. Hill covers the Indians for MLB.com. He can be reached at jbernardh@aol.com.



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