College arms dominate Indians' Draft
Tribe selects 41 college players, 31 pitchers
CLEVELAND -- The Indians made arms and experience the hallmarks of their 2009 First-Year Player Draft class.The arms were by design, and the experience was a byproduct of the talent available.
Of the 50 players selected by the Tribe over the three-day Draft, which wrapped up with Rounds 31-50 on Thursday, 31 were pitchers and 41 came from the college ranks.Scouting director Brad Grant went into the Draft expecting to take advantage of the depth of arms available. He didn't necessarily expect to grab so many college players. "When we pulled back, it wasn't a mind-set we had," Grant said. "When we looked up at the board, we realized that we did go heavy on college. It wasn't intention. It's more that we thought that's what we felt the strength of the Draft was. We did take some high school position players and pitching later on [Wednesday] to balance it out." Seven of the nine high school players selected came on the final day. But the real meat of the Draft, as Grant was quick to admit, was in the first 15 rounds. "Through the 15th round, those are the majority of the guys we're going to try to sign right away," Grant said. "The majority of the other guys, we'll take a look at through the summer and make decisions." In the first 15 rounds, the Indians took 10 pitchers -- eight right-handers (North Carolina's Alex White, UC Santa Barbara's Joe Gardner, Faulkner University's Austin Adams, the University of Arizona's Cory Burns and Preston Guilmet, Monmouth University's Brett Brach, Puerto Rico's Joseph Colon and Washington State University's Jeremy Johnson) and two left-handers (Bellevue Community College's Kirk Wetmore and Palm Beach Community College's Mike Rayl). The other top 15 picks were Arizona State outfielder Jason Kipnis, San Jose State third baseman Kyle Bellows, Missouri State first baseman Ben Carlson, University of Mississippi outfielder Jordan Henry and Cal Poly shortstop Kyle Smith.
Indians -- Top five selections
|15||RHP||Alex White||UNC Chapel Hill|
|63||CF||Jason Kipnis||Arizona St U|
|94||RHP||Joseph Gardner||UC Santa Barbara|
|125||3B||Kyle Bellows||San Jose St U|
|155||RHP||Austin Adams||Faulkner U|
|Complete Indians Draft results >|
Grant said negotiations have already begun with some players. Top pick Alex White, however, will be a work in progress, as he is still pitching for the University of North Carolina in the College World Series. The same goes for the No. 2 pick, outfielder Jason Kipnis, whose Arizona team is also in the Series.Last year, Cleveland was aggressive in signing players with high bonus demands above the slot. The Indians' budget might not allow them to be quite as aggressive this year, but Grant said he'll take each signing on a case-by-case basis. "We did draft some guys whose bonus demands are high," Grant said. "We'll see what happens over the course of the negotiations." The Indians had 865 players on their Draft board this year, and Grant said about 75 players still remained on the board after the 50th round. If they Indians wish to do so, they can still try to sign any of the undrafted players they had interest in. All in all, with the potential depth in pitching and experience added to the system, Grant, who is in his second season at the Tribe's amateur scouting director, was pleased with the three-day Draft. "I'm very happy with the process," he said. "We took a lot of time to put our board together properly, and we went by our board and stuck to our board."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.