© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

06/06/06 10:04 PM ET

Catchers, middle infielders Day 1 focus

Tribe makes run on prep stars after taking six collegians

CLEVELAND -- The Indians always make pitching a priority in the First-Year Player Draft, but scouting director John Mirabelli had two other organizational needs on his mind heading into the 2006 edition.

The Tribe has a shortage of catching and middle-infield prospects in its farm system, and Mirabelli made those two areas a focal point as this year's draft unfolded.

With the selections of Rice University second baseman Joshua Rodriguez at No. 57, Florida shortstop Adam Davis at No. 101 and Kansas State University second baseman Jared Goedert at No. 281, the middle infield needs were accounted for.

The catching needs were satisfied with the drafting of Lehigh's Matt McBride at No. 75, Bear River (Calif.) High School's Robert Alcombrack at No. 221 and Tennessee's Kelly Edmundson at No. 341.

"That was a definite target," Mirabelli said of the middle infield and catching spots. "In looking at this draft, it was clearly an area we could address."

The Indians selected five high school players on the first day, but not before taking college players with each of their first six picks. Mirabelli noted that several years ago, the Tribe might have taken more chances with early high school picks.

"You live and learn every draft year," he said. "It's a very inexact science. There are times you take chances and times you don't. There's not a formula that works best for us."

Though the Indians didn't have a first-round selection for the first time since 1999, they did have five of the first 75 picks.

In addition to their regular second-round selection at No. 69, they picked at No. 39 as compensation for the loss of Bob Howry, No. 56 as compensation for the loss of Kevin Millwood, No. 57 as compensation for the loss of Howry and No. 75 as compensation for the loss of Scott Elarton.

The Tribe began its draft by taking UCLA left-hander David Huff at No. 39. The rest of the picks on Day 1 went as follows:

Steven Wright, RHP, University of Hawaii, Pick No. 56
A bout with mononucleosis knocked Wright, 21, out of action for the NCAA regional. Before the illness, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior went 11-2 with a 2.30 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings. Wright, a Torrance, Calif., native was named the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year.

"He has a phenomenal strikeout-to-walk ratio," Mirabelli said. "Some of our scouts believe his stuff might play up in the bullpen, but we think his value is as a starter. He's better suited to be a rotation guy."

Upon signing, Wright is likely to be sent to short-season Mahoning Valley but could work his way to Class A Lake County by the end of the year.

Joshua Rodriguez, 2B, Rice University, pick No. 57
An elbow injury led to Rodriguez, 21, losing the starting shortstop job for the Owls, but second and third base are more natural positions for him. He hit .346 with nine homers and 58 RBIs during his junior year, making the All-Conference USA second team, despite battling a forearm injury.

"He could play at short or second," Mirabelli said.

Wesley Hodges, 3B, Georgia Tech, pick No. 69
Hodges, 21, was originally taken by the White Sox in the 13th round of the 2003 draft. In 2005, he batted .397 en route to being named a first-team, All-Atlantic Coast Conference player. This year, he hit .337 with 11 homers and 64 RBIs, making it to the All-ACC second team. Hodges was hindered by a stress fracture in his tibia, which helped him fall in the draft.

"We were fortunate that he fell to us," Mirabelli said of Hodges. "He was an undervalued player."

Matthew McBride, C, Lehigh University, pick No. 75
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound McBride has a quick release, a steady bat and an intimidating presence on the basepaths. He hit .417 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs during his junior year, while stealing 22 bases in 27 attempts. He led the Patriot League in all three Triple Crown categories and is a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award.

Adam Davis, SS, University of Florida, pick No. 101
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Davis might profile better as a second baseman, a position he played during his junior year before moving to short. He's coming off a down year offensively, as he hit .295 with six homers and 37 RBIs. He had an on-base percentage of .398 and stole nine bases in 14 attempts.

Judson Morris, LHP, South Mecklenburg (N.C.) High School, pick No. 131
Morris, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound 18-year-old has a fastball that has reached into the upper 80s, and he also has a deceptive slider.

Christopher Archer, RHP, Clayton (N.C.) High School, pick No. 161
Baseball America listed the 6-foot-2, 165-pound Archer's breaking ball as one of the best among high school pitchers this year.

Austin Creps, RHP, Texas A&M University, pick No. 191
Creps is coming off a junior season in which he went 3-4 with a 2.20 ERA in 11 starts. He struck out 51 batters, walking only 13.

Robert Alcombrack, C, Bear River (Calif.) High School, pick No. 221
Alcombrack's biggest claim to fame is that he won the Home Run Derby at the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic. Mirabelli said the Indians probably wouldn't have taken a non-premier high school position player if not for the organization's new Gulf Coast League team in Winter Haven, which will begin play later this month.

Michael Eisenberg, RHP, Marietta College, pick No. 251
The 6-foot-7, 195-pound junior went 13-2 with a 1.33 ERA in 21 appearances, including 16 starts this year. He notched 138 strikeouts against just 35 walks and was named the Division III Pitcher of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Jared Goedert, 2B, Kansas State University, pick No. 281
Goedert, a junior who also has experience at third base, hit .337 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs this season. He had an on-base percentage of .466 and a slugging percentage of .609.

Paolo Espino, RHP, The Pendleton (Fla.) School, pick No. 311
The 19-year-old Espino received invaluable experience in the World Baseball Classic, where he pitched for his native Panama.

"He's not real physical," Mirabelli said, "but he's got a lot of upside. He's mature beyond his years. And pitching in the [Classic] was a pretty good experience for him, in terms of growth."

Kelly Edmundson, C, University of Tennessee, pick No. 341
Edmundson, a senior who played his freshman year at the University of Memphis, spent the majority of his time as the Vols' DH. He hit .301 with nine homers and 39 RBIs, ranking second on the team with a .536 slugging percentage.

Daniel Frega, RHP, Illinois State University, pick No. 371
Frega, a junior, went 1-4 with a 5.60 ERA and one save in 24 games, including five starts, this season.

Brant Rustich, RHP, UCLA, pick No. 401
The Indians dipped into the UCLA pitching staff for the second time of the day with this pick. Rustich went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six appearances for the Bruins this season.

William Delage, LHP, Lamar University, pick No. 431
Delage went 9-4 with a 3.12 ERA this season. He struck out 102 batters and walked just 34.

Matthew Meyer, LHP, Boston College, pick No. 461
Meyer went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 27 appearances, including four starts.

Stephen Douglas, CF, East Tennessee State University, pick No. 491
Douglas, 21, batted .322 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 2006.

Kyle Harper, RHP, Orange Coast College, pick No. 521
Harper threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts this season.

Daryl King, LF, Benicia (Calif.) High School, pick No. 551
A very green player with tremendous raw power, according to Mirabelli's report.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.