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Tribe expects to sign draftees
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06/06/2002 2:12 pm ET 
Tribe expects to sign draftees
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com

The Indians can't negotiate with first-round pick Jeremy Guthrie until Stanford's season is over. (Gonzalesphoto.com)
CLEVELAND -- Even in the best of circumstances, the truckload of young talent that Major League teams selected Tuesday and Wednesday in the First-Year Player Draft might not yield a bounty of big leaguers.

Still, the promise of potential can leave club officials giddy. It did the Indians.

"We are excited by the infusion of talent that this draft afforded us," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "John Mirabelli and his staff were prepared to capitalize on our bonus picks, and with the addition of the players we added, we will quickly realize the boost to our farm system's depth of talent."

The "quickly" part of it, however, might be a tad trickier. Because drafting young talent is just the first step in the process of restocking a farm system, Shapiro must now sign the 50 players they selected.

The expectations are that the Indians can and will sign all of their first day's picks. Twenty-two rounds were completed Tuesday.

"But we realize there could be some hurdles, there could be some roadblocks," said Mirabelli, the Tribe's scouting director and its draft architect. "Our intentions, with all the information we have today, is that all these guys are signable."

Mirabelli said the Indians crossed out about two dozen or so names of high school and college players who the organization believed were not "signable." He said they listened to scouts and to people and coaches who knew a player before deciding whether to select that player.

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

FULL COVERAGE:
Bullington goes first
Drafttracker
Complete Draft coverage

"That's a funny thing," he said. "We try everything short of pinning these kids down to an exact dollar figure, but even that you can't do because you really don't know where anybody's going to be selected."

The higher the selection, the more money a talent can fetch in the bargaining. The Indians try to ensure they don't waste high picks on players who want more than their draft slot calls for.

Last season, the Tribe lost pitcher Alan Horne, the No. 27 pick overall, when he decided not to sign and attend college instead. Of their top 20 picks last season, the Tribe signed 16 players, including pitchers Dan Denham (No. 17), J.D. Martin (No. 35) and Jake Dittler (No. 51).

Until a team actually drafts a player, it can't make a concrete dollar assessment, unless the team has the No. 1 pick overall, as the Pirates did this season. Pittsburgh took Ball State right-hander Bryan Bullington with its first pick.

Still, figuring out how the Indians must budget the estimated $8 million set aside for signing draft picks, which included seven selections among the first 100, is a priority. Team officials must assess how much a young player might be worth and what the odds are of that player blossoming into a Major Leaguer.

It's a high-risk game of craps, and the consequence, if handled badly, could doom the franchise to mediocrity years on down the road.

Mirabelli said he had gotten assurances that top pick Jeremy Guthrie, a right-handed pitcher from Stanford, will sign. Guthrie, who had been drafted twice before, can't talk contract until after his college season is over. He and the Cardinal are in the NCAA Tournament.

But the Indians can talk to 18-year-old infielder Matt Whitney (No. 31), 19-year-old second baseman Micah Schilling (No. 43), Florida third baseman Pat Osborn (No. 72) and others, and Mirabelli said his information is that all of the top selections are willing to sign. But most of them have options, even if it means players like Whitney and Schilling might follow Horne and pick college ball over the minor leagues.

That's the risk Mirabelli and the Indians take.

"We turn over every single stone we possibly can on a player's signabililty," he said.

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, a senior writer, covers the Indians for MLB.com. He can be reached at jbernardh@aol.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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