Welcome to the Mock Organization Diary for the Cleveland Indians in the 2012 Minorleagueball.com Community Mock Draft. The Indians are in a different position from last year not picking until pick 15 and probably out of the running for the elite talents in the draft. Given the new restrictions on bonuses, will that alter the path GM Chris Antonetti has taken in recent years?
Cleveland only has their own picks in the first three rounds and will be picking in the middle of each round.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Round 2 - Pick 19 (#79 Overall)
Round 3 - Pick 15 (#110 Overall)
In the past couple of years the Indians could take an approach where they could maximize the values of their picks by going over slot to sign premium talent but given the new bonus rules they may need to change that strategy unless they are willing to risk paying a luxury tax or even losing a future pick. Given their total number of picks in the first ten rounds (10) and position of each pick the Indians will have $4,582,900 to spend on bonuses. This is nearly $2 million less than what was spent in the first 10 rounds in 2011.
The last three years the Indians have somewhat shaken their label as being conservative in the draft spending $2.25 million or more on all of their first round picks culminating in $5 million being paid out to their top three picks last year (Francisco Lindor $2.9MM, Dillon Howard $1.85MM, and Jake Sisco $0.35MM). This could have been a preemptive action given that it was the last draft without bonus restrictions or it could show strategy for the second year GM Antonetti. Given the spending limits now in place there is likely to be a sharp drop-off in total money spent in bonuses overall but how it is distributed between the picks could vary widely.
Regardless of how the bonus money will be paid out the Indians will have to be flexible with their draft strategy. The high end players of the draft board are unlikely to be there at pick 15 and unlike last year there isn't as deep of a talent pool to expect multiple options. Players who were rated highly going into the season but have questions surrounding them like Lucas Giolito, Deven Marrero, and Stephen Piscotty could fall here or prospects that have moved up as the season progressed such as Marcus Stroman and Courtney Hawkins could be worth a look. Cleveland's system has an interesting mix of lower ceiling but close to MLB ready pitching talent and high risk high reward youngsters at A ball and below and a variety of positions but especially up the middle(John's preseason list) so they could have the luxury of taking the best player available instead of trying to fill a gap for now or the future.