6/7/2013 9:41 P.M. ET
Indians pick deceptive lefty Crockett in Round 4
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
Kyle Crockett, a lanky left-hander picked by the Indians in the fourth round, has been a mainstay in Virginia's bullpen for three years. He moved into the closer's role this year, his junior season, and he executed his new responsibilities with confidence and poise.
A native of Poquoson, Va., Crockett increased his velocity during the spring, and his fastball now touches the low-90s. Hitters have routinely struggled to lay off of his sweeping slider. Crockett's best asset, however, is his excellent command. He didn't issue his first unintentional walk for the Cavaliers this season until May 12, a span of 39 innings.
"Unbelievable strike-thower," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting. "Got a solid-average fastball, solid-average slider and he's got a changeup, too, to attack righties."
Crockett's deceptive, low-three-quarters delivery makes him tough on left-handed batters, and could explain why he stood out from other Draft-eligible southpaws with similar skill sets. Crockett has a steady demeanor on the mound and could make a quick ascent through the Minor Leagues before bursting onto the big league scene.
On Day 2, Tribe grabs Louisville righty Kime
After selecting five-tool position player Clint Frazier on Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft, the Indians found themselves taking pitcher after pitcher during Day 2. Of the club's eight picks on Friday, seven of them wound up being hurlers, starting with Louisville right-hander Dace Kime.
The Indians nabbed Kime in the third round with pick No. 79. They followed up by taking a pair of left-handers in Kyle Crockett (fourth round, No. 111) from the University of Virginia and Florida high schooler Sean Brady (fifth round, No. 141). Cleveland then selected right-handed high schooler Casey Shane (sixth round, No. 171) and southpaw Kenny Matthews (seventh round, No. 201) out of Riverside City College in California. Next, the Indians took UC Riverside righty Trevor Frank (eighth round, No. 231) and Thomas Pannone (ninth round, No. 261), a lefty from the College of Southern Nevada. To close out the day, the Indians picked infielder Ross Kivett (10th round, No. 291), who attended local St. Edward High School in Lakewood before moving on to Kansas State.
As for Kime, his career at Louisville has been a good one, and that's obviously what led to his status in this year's Draft. The junior, who went to the same high school as Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese, went 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA through his first 24 appearances (seven starts) of the year, heading into the NCAA tournament. He also struck out 75 hitters in 61 1/3 innings and recorded one save.
Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting, described Kime's arsenal as having "a solid-average fastball up to 94 [mph], an average breaking ball, average changeup and a cutter, as well."
Kime, 21, spent much of his career at Louisville as a reliever but was moved into the rotation in late April. Scouts believe he has the potential to remain a starter as a professional, and Grant agrees. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s, and he mixes it with a curveball, cutter and changeup, as Grant pointed out.
"We see his upside as a starter," Grant said. "I think as we start to stretch him out, he's got a chance to be a pretty good rotation guy for us."
As a sophomore, Kime was 1-0 with a 4.87 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings out of the Louisville bullpen. He earned All-America, All-State and All-League honors in his career at Defiance (Ohio) High School, where he also lettered in football and basketball.
Kime uses his powerful 6-foot-5, 219-pound frame to get a good downhill angle and induces plenty of ground balls as a result.
The Pirates drafted Kime out of Defiance in the eighth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, but he chose to attend Louisville instead of signing.
Kime should feel right at home in Cleveland, which is only about 2 1/2 hours away from Defiance.
Grant noted that the deadline for signing Draft picks is 5 p.m. ET on July 12. He said that, while it might appear as though Cleveland specifically hunted for pitchers on Day 2, that wasn't quite the case.
"It wasn't by design," Grant said. "I think it probably ended up being the strength of the draft class and just something that fell that way. It wasn't something that was necessarily targeted. But, to walk out with that much pitching, we were pretty excited."
Day 3 of the Draft continues with Rounds 11-40 streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In the pipeline: For the second Draft in a row, the Indians focused on pitching in the early rounds, an area of the organization that could be considered lacking following the 2011 trade that sent highly touted prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz to Colorado as part of a four-player package in exchange for Ubaldo Jimenez.
The organization doesn't have many high-ceiling starting pitching prospects after Trevor Bauer, a righty at Triple-A Columbus who has a 2.76 ERA in three starts for Cleveland this season. Of the club's top 20 prospects, only six are pitchers. Aside from Bauer (No. 2), that list includes righty Mitch Brown (No. 5), Danny Salazar (No. 8), Dillon Howard (No. 10), Scott Barnes (No. 14) and Kieran Lovegrove (No. 16). Barnes and Salazar are also at Triple-A Columbus.
On Friday, Cleveland selected seven pitchers -- four southpaws and three right-handers. Three were college hurlers, two came from junior colleges and two were selected out of high schools.
"I think we balanced it up extremely well," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting.
Indians keep up pitching trend with Brady pick
Sean Brady, a left-hander out of Ida Baker H.S. (Fla.), is among the top Florida high school pitchers in this year's Draft class. He is polished for a high schooler and has the potential for three Major League-average pitches. The Indians selected him 141st overall, in the fifth round.
Brady's fastball sits in the upper-80s to low-90s, and he mixes it with a curveball and changeup, both of which have shown promise. He has a clean delivery and a good feel for his whole arsenal.
"Really good feel to pitch," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting. "He's got an 86-90-[mph] fastball, he has a really good feel for the curveball -- plus-curveball at times -- an average changeup and a really good strike-thrower. A polished, advanced high school guy with a really good delivery."
As a senior at Ida Baker, Brady compiled a 0.68 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. He finished the year with a 7-1 record.
Brady turns 19 on Sunday, meaning he will be eligible again in two years if he chooses to uphold his commitment and play for Florida. He committed to the Gators as a sophomore and signed his letter of intent during the early signing period in November.
Young righty Shane has potential for Tribe
One of the youngest players in this First-Year Player Draft class, Casey Shane won't turn 18 until August, but that didn't stop the Indians from selecting the right-hander in the sixth round.
Still, the hurler out of Centennial High School in Burleson, Texas, has shown an advanced feel for pitching. Shane's fastball sits in the low 90s with heavy sink. His 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame allows him to throw from a good downward plane.
Shane also throws a biting slider that's clocked typically in the low 80s and a good changeup in the mid-80s. He has a big frame, but still has room to grow. He has committed to play next year at Texas A&M.
"Another guy who throws 86-93 [mph]," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting. "Real good life to his fastball. Solid-average slider, solid-average changeup, and a guy that's progressing with his delivery. He's got a really good delivery, got a good size to him."
All three of Shane's pitches have a chance to be at least Major League-average offerings. He isn't afraid to come after hitters with any of his three pitches, but he relies heavily on his fastball.
College lefty Mathews goes to Reds at No. 201
Kenny Mathews began his college career at Cal State Fullerton before transferring to Riverside City College this year. Despite lacking premium velocity, he succeeded at both Fullerton and Riverside, and the Indians took the left-hander with the 201st overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
Mathews' fastball sits in the mid-80s and occasionally touches 89 mph. But his ability to command his fastball allows him to compete without better velocity. Mathews also throws a curveball and a changeup. He can locate his offspeed pitches as well as he does with his fastball and earns high marks for his pitchability.
Mathews is listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and has proven to be a workhorse, pitching in the rotation and bullpen this season.
In Frank, Indians select solid college closer
Trevor Frank was a starting pitcher in his first three years at UC Riverside before moving into the closer's role as a senior. He performed well in the bullpen and improved his Draft stock as a result.
Frank made 26 appearances during his senior season and finished with a 4-2 record. He had 10 saves and a 2.45 ERA, including 44 strikeouts and only nine walks.
Frank's fastball sits in the low 90s, occasionally touching 95 mph. He also throws a solid slider, giving him a good two-pitch mix. His uncle, Dennis, pitched in the Cardinals' organization.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Frank is undersized for a right-hander, limiting his upside. But his stuff, command and aggressive approach on the mound gives him a chance for a role in a Major League bullpen.
Outfielder-turned-pitcher Pannone picked by Tribe
When Thomas Pannone was drafted a year ago out of the Rhode Island high school ranks, it was as an outfielder. But while he played both ways at Southern Nevada this year, he was selected by the Indians as a pitcher.
Because he's relatively new to pitching, his secondary stuff has a ways to go, though he does have a curveball and a changeup. He'll get his fastball up to 92-93 mph with fairly decent fastball command.
Pannone has size, a fresh arm, some good athleticism and an aggressive approach on the mound working in his favor, all things that could intrigue a team to take him for his upside.
Indians take Kivett with final pick on Day 2
With their final selection of the Draft's second day, the Indians picked Ross Kivett, a position player who was born in Cleveland. After taking seven straight pitchers, the club went after Kivett in the 10th round with pick No. 291.
In 2010, Kivett graduated from nearby St. Edward High School in Lakewood, where he led his team to a state championship as a senior while batting .485 (47-for-97) with 10 doubles, two triples, 16 RBIs and 16 steals. Kivett also lettered in hockey.
From there, Kivett went on to become the regular second baseman and leadoff hitter at Kansas State. Last month, he was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after batting .359 with 46 runs scored and 30 RBIs during the regular season. Though he mainly plays second base, Kivett can play shortstop and third base and in the outfield, according to Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting.
"That brings a whole lot of versatility to him, especially with the speed and then his ability to hit," Grant said. "Really good bat, really good baseball player, very instinctual."
Kivett expressed his excitement about being taken by the Indians on Twitter. Shortly after his selection, Kivett (@RossKSU7) tweeted: "HOME FREAKIN' GROWN BABY!!!! #rolltribe"
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.