06/08/05 10:23 PM ET
Tribe follows bats with arms
Day 2 brings Dennehy, Cleveland run on pitchers
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
"The Draft was very strong in position players," said Mirabelli, Indians scouting director. "And that's the way it unfolded for us in the first four rounds with those premium selections."
With his 52 picks in total, Mirabelli took 24 position players, 22 right-handed pitchers and six left-handers. Of his "premium" selections, he went solely for position players.
He kicked off the Draft Tuesday by using the No. 14 pick overall on Trevor Crowe, 22, a switch-hitting outfielder from the University of Arizona.
In its predraft report, Baseball America said this about Crowe: "[He] is an ideal leadoff man with a .500 on-base percentage, above-average speed and the kind of fiery personality that can light a fire under a team. He can be undisciplined at times at the plate and lacks raw power, but has juice in his bat and can hit almost anything thrown at him."
That evaluation echoed Mirabelli's. He called Crowe one of the most seasoned hitters in a deep pool of hitters, and Mirabelli had hinted that he would favor a college hitter over some of the high-profile high school hitters in the draft.
But Mirabelli didn't turn his back on high school talent altogether. While he might have had reservations about using his No. 1 pick on one, he did use his next pick on a high school player.
With pick No. 33 overall, Mirabelli took speedy John Drennan, a high school outfielder from San Diego. Drennan was a pick the Indians received as compensation for losing shortstop Omar Vizquel to the Giants in free agency.
"He had the attributes and the prerequisites we're looking for in a high school player," Mirabell said of Drennan. "There aren't a lot of 'em; they are few of them on the board.
"He's a center fielder; he's an athlete; he's been in all the premier showcases; he comes from one of the best programs in the whole country."
Baseball America ranked Drennan as the No. 32 best prospect in the Draft, but that was a ranking made before shortstop Stephen Drew and right-hander Jered Weaver, two unsigned picks from the 2004 Draft, signed a couple of days before this Draft.
"Drennan is extremely strong, and he can flat-out hit," Baseball America wrote in its predraft analysis. "He has excellent bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat. He leaves nothing in the tank."
Mirabelli said Drennan, who has signed to play at UCLA, has expressed an interest in foregoing college to begin his professional career. Crowe, who was drafted but didn't sign in 2002, has expressed a similar sentiment.
"I still have my eligibility and everything," Crowe said. "But if you look at the percentages, the majority of first-round picks sign.
"I can't see myself doing anything other than that. But, on the other hand, you just have to keep the option there." The selection of Crowe and Drennan reflected the trend Mirabelli had spoke about before the Draft.
"It's also a very unique draft in that it is very position-player oriented -- lopsided in position players, both high school and college," he said. "In 16 years, I can't really remember that, maybe one other time.
"It's usually, just because supply and demand, harder to find position players than pitchers. But the draft is always usually dominated by pitchers. This Draft is unique; it's clearly position players."
With his pick after Crowe and Drennan, Mirabelli selected Stephen Head, a power-hitting first baseball/pitcher for the University of Mississippi.
Head, the No. 62 pick overall, has drawn comparisons to Todd Helton and Brad Wilkerson, two Major League players who planted their baseball roots in the Southeastern Conference.
Of Head, Baseball America wrote: "[His] body isn't great, but some scouts expect him to firm up as he focuses on hitting as a pro. ... Most scouts expect him to become a better hitter after he gives up pitching. He's also a good fielder at first base with soft hands."
After Head, Mirabelli took the following players:
Round 3: First baseman Nicholas Weglanz, Lakeshore Catholic High School in Canada: Very young, only 17. A lot of upside. He's big and strong kid, but he'll play in the outfield. Has a lot of international experience.
Round 4: First baseman Jordan Brown, a teammate of Crowe's at Arizona: A very accomplished hitter. More "hit-ability" than Head; a very athletic player. Plan to move Brown to the outfield. Good fielder.
Round 5: Kevin Dixon, right-hander from Minnesota State-Mankato: Big strong, power arm. Has been a closer more in college, but can become a starter. Has three pitches.
Round 6: Roger Ness, right-hander from Ball State: Big, strong with arm strength. Didn't face great competition in Mid-American Conference. He needs to develop.
Round 7: James Deter, RHP, Calvin College (Mich.)
Round 8: Ryan Edell, LHP, College of Charleston
Round 9: Roman Pena, OF, Montgomery (Calif.) High School: Quick, compact swing. Sprays ball to all fields. An intense, aggressive player with strong, accurate arm.
Round 10: James Schutt, RHP, Central Missouri State: Aggressive, attacks hitters. One of three pitchers from school to go in draft. Rapidly developing changeup. His fastball settles in around 92 mph.
Round 11: Nicholas Petrucci, 3B, from College of Canyons (Calif.): Aggressive hitter with power. Big, strong and muscular. Plays hard, makes all plays with glove.
Round 12: Matt Fornasiere, SS, Univ. of Minnesota: Pro-style swing. Player with mature, filled-out frame. Comparisons to Major Leaguer Rich Aurilia. Smart hitter who makes contact.
Round 13: Barry Laird, 1B, from Lee (Texas) High School
Round 14: Michael Finocchi, RHP, Louisburg College (Pa.); Large, tall and sturdy frame. Throws fastball in low 90s. Shows a slider and changeup.
Round 15: Chase Phillips, RHP, Monterey (Tex.) High School: Very long, loose arms. Throws a fastball that tails into right-handers. Curveball his best breaking pitch.
Round 16: Aaron Shafer, RHP from Troy Buchanan (Mo.) High School: Throws fastball in high 80s with sink. Long arms and long legs. A good athlete whose body projects to Major Leagues.
Round 17: Eric Barrett, LHP, Marion (Ill.) High School
Round 18: Desmond Jennings, OF from Pinson Valley (Ala.) High School: Tall, athletic with streamlined build. Draws comparisons to former Major Leaguer Devon White.
Round 19: Timothy Dennehy, left-hander pitcher from River Forest (Ill.) High School: A well-developed, athletic frame with broad shoulders. Unafraid to pitch inside, and tries to work both sides of the plate. His fastball has moderate tail.
Dennehy was the first pick in Day 2 of the draft. The Indians went heavily into other pitchers after him.
Round 20: Scott Sumner, right-handed pitcher from Louisiana College
Round 21: Neil Wagner, right-handed pitcher from North Dakota State
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.