Now that we’re within a week of the community mock it’s a good time to start analyzing the names rumored to be in the mix for the 5th overall pick. There seems to be a few
Just a note, I’m really only going to focus on players for the 5th overall pick as projecting the end of the first round is difficult let alone picks in the 3rd and 4th round. I will however use information on the type of player that the team is looking for to make my picks. Collegiate pitching, and prep and collegiate positional players, especially outfielders and corner infielders, seem to be the main targets.
The Mock Draft Selections
Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS, Georgia– Meadows was John’s selection in his most recent mock draft. While the pick would seem like a departure from their strategy in targeting collegiate players, the Indians have taken a proportionate number of prep to college players in the top rounds in the past couple of drafts and are picking higher than they usually are over the past decade. Personally I like Meadows more than his fellow Loganville, GA resident, Clint Frazier due to his more prototypical size and seemingly higher ceiling.
Colin Moran, 3B, University of North Carolina Junior – ESPN’s Keith Law had Cleveland taking Moran in his mock draft and has noted that should Moran fall to #5 he won’t make it past. Moran has a lot of the qualities that teams are looking for but his overall ceiling is questioned. The production he’s put together this year has been stellar and having bloodlines of being B.J. Surhoff’s nephew doesn’t hurt. Given some of the recent struggles the Indians have had developing corner Infielders, they may forgive the lower ceiling for some certainty with Moran and hope he moves quickly. Scout.com’s Kylie McDaniel has Moran at this pick as well. For what its worth, Moran definitely falls in the top 5 of my board.
Braden Shipley, RHP, University of Nevada Junior – In Baseball America’s first mock draft (In the most recent one Moran was the pick) they had the Indians. Shipley would fit the mold of a classic Indians pick as a fairly polished college pitcher with a little room for projection. His performance this year has moved him up most boards into the top half of the first round. He’s often mentioned in a second tier of collegiate pitchers in the draft with Sean Manaea of Indiana State and Ryne Stanek of Arkansas. He is my favored pitcher of that group.
Other names mentioned in mock draft commentary
Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS, GA
Sean Manaea, RHP, Indiana State University Junior
Ryne Stanek, RHP, University of Arkansas Junior
Trey Ball, LHP, New Castle HS, IN
The “If Only they Would Fall” Picks
Jonathan Gray, RHP, University of Oklahoma Junior – I know, not going to happen but the combination of size (6’4” 240 lbs) and stuff (high 90’s fastball reaching 100, plus slider, and 50 changeup) would be a great addition to any system.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford University Senior – Hey, he fell last year and who knows what could happen this time. Probably not going to happen but Appel is just slightly behind Gray in my mind but his more polished approach should get him to the majors more quickly.
Kris Bryant, 3B, University of San Diego Junior – The tool that the Cleveland system lacks the most is power and Bryant has a ton of it. While I think there are others who have a better hit tool, he should make enough contact to let the power play and has an All-Star ceiling.
The “My Guys” Group
D.J. Peterson, 3B/1B, University of New Mexico Junior – Peterson’s calling card is his power but playing his home games in Albuquerque and against lower level competition gives some people concerns. I’ve seen a wide range of opinion on him from potential top 5 talent to marginal first rounder. Overall the reports I’ve read lead me to believe his power will still play as above average in the majors and his contact ability has drawn some comparisons to Billy Butler. Its more than likely his position will be 1B in the long term but the bat should play there if it develops as expected. He hasn’t really been mentioned much for the Indians but he’s the type of player the Indians typically draft, have been rumored to be interested in, and have a need for. In my fake scouting director role I’m sending people out to look at him.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State University Junior– Renfroe has climbed up boards this spring and despite his body type shows good athleticism. He’s shown power against good competition, has improved plate discipline and at least average all around tools. If it comes together he could be a prototypical RF. Again as a college player he would fall within the trend of recent Indians picks.
Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS, TX – Stewart is not a classic Cleveland pick as they have shied away from prep arms in the first round. However they’ve taken prep pitchers high in the draft the last several years and the right talent would probably make them buck that trend. Stewart’s size and athleticism are appealing and he has the right mix of current stuff and projection to envision him as a top of the rotation arm. Two years ago in the community mock I took Archie Bradley based on the talent he had and while Stewart is quite that level of talent he is intriguing. Rumors are that he should have no issue signing if taken in the top-10 picks despite his football commitment to Texas A&M. And besides who would want to follow Johnny Football anyway?