FanPost

Supplement to 2014 Cleveland Indians MOD

I’m not able to participate in this year’s Community Mock Draft but haven’t put the time I would normally use for research and prep work to a more real life productive use and have all the information I normally would for the event. For the last three years I’ve acted as the Cleveland Indians mock Scouting Director and cookiedabookie who is taking over the team picks this year and doing a great job, has graciously let me act as somewhat of an assistant SD. It will be interesting to see how someone else approaches the organizational philosophy and picks for the team. Since I’m not making my own picks I figured I would post my draft board as a supplement to the existing Indians MOD’s.

Here are links to cookiedabookie’s Mock Organization Diaries for the 2014 Cleveland Indians Draft:

MOD #1

MOD #2

MOD #3

Drafting Philosophy

In general, I am always looking to take the best player available in Round 1 with very few exceptions. I believe this is true for most teams in the MLB as this is where the elite talent is in the draft and organizational planning can be adjusted around the first pick. In the past I’ve deviated from the popular belief of what type of player Cleveland would draft to take my highest rated player. In the later rounds of the mock draft I will adjust accordingly taking a mix of position players and pitchers, collegiate and prep, and high risk/high reward and conservative picks to match my first round pick.

While the Indians have had a reputation for leaning towards collegiate players, that has changed under new scouting director Brad Grant. Grant has used first round picks on high school players in both 2011 and 2013 and took high school players in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds of the 2012 draft. Overall the team is about 60-40 when it comes to taking collegiate vs a prep player in the first four rounds of the draft (ones covered by the Community Mock) which is a little more collegiate heavy than average but not on the extreme end. Still some tendencies are prevalent as the Indians tend to take more collegiate pitchers than high schoolers (about 70-30 split) whereas the positional players are around 50-50. Hitters and pitchers get taken at roughly equal rates. Cookiedabookie did an extremely detailed analysis of team draft tendencies from 2009-2013 which can be found here.

For this year specifically, the depth of arms in the top several rounds would probably lead me to move up any bats with significant upside or polish ahead of arms that they are close to. However, I believe that you can never have too much pitching, and the rash of injuries is proving it out this year, so loading up on arms with mid-rotation or higher upside is always a goal. Since power is becoming scarcer as well, I’ve propped up guys who project as having plus power potential especially if their hit tool is at least average projection as well. With the 8th highest bonus pool and four picks in the top 65 I would be willing to take on a little more risk than in the past several years and grab a HS guy who falls, a high risk/high reward player, or an injured player early with one of the top 3 picks. For example if this was the 2012 Draft and I had the picks I do this year, Lucas Giolito would have definitely been my pick at 21. It’s tough to project exactly who fits into that category until the draft is happening but the extra picks affords a lot of flexibility.

As far as what the industry is saying about the Cleveland draft this year, Baseball America has noted that Cleveland would like to nab an arm and a bat, most likely quick moving collegiate with their first two picks. Some of the names specifically connected to the Indians are noted below.

Alex Blandino 3B/2B College
Alex Verdugo LHP HS
Brandon Finnegan LHP College
Braxton Davidson 1B/OF HS
Chase Vallot C HS
Derek Fisher OF College
Erick Feede RHP College
Grant Holmes RHP HS
Kyle Schwarber C/1B College
Luis Ortiz RHP HS
Max Pentecost C College
Michael Chavis 3B HS
Michael Kopech RHP HS
Monte Harrison OF HS
Tyler Beede RHP College

My Draft Board

I usually break the players up into tiers first before organizing the tiers into specific order. While it doesn’t matter so much with the first pick, this helps later on when I’m not just taking the highest guy on my board and can adjust accordingly. The order I am listing them in is the order in which I would rank them within the tier.

1st Tier

Here are the pipe dream guys that I think are the consensus top four and don’t have any chance of falling to pick #21. One may fall out of the top 5 and maybe even two but it would have to take a lot of head scratchers for Cleveland to have a shot at one of them.

Player

Pos

School

Class/Commitment

Carlos Rodon

LHP

North Carolina State

JR

Brady Aiken

LHP/OF

Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego, CA

UCLA

Tyler Kolek

RHP

Shepherd HS, TX

TCU

Alex Jackson

C/RF

Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, CA

Oregon

Despite his so-so Spring Rodon is still my top guy. The combination of his floor, belief that he should move quickly, and my personal thought that he still has some considerable to be a high end #2 Starter gives him the edge for me over Aiken who seems to be becoming the consensus top rated player. Kolek’s velocity is very intriguing for someone who drools over triple digit heat coming from a starter but my slight concerns about how his body will hold up over time drop him to three for me. I’d keep Jackson here even if I knew he was only a RF and had no shot to stick behind the dish as I love the power potential. The positional risk is what keeps him as my #4 guy.

2nd Tier

Player

Pos

School

Class/Commitment

Aaron Nola

RHP

LSU

JR

Touki Toussaint

RHP

Coral Springs Christian Academy, FL

Vanderbilt

Tyler Beede

RHP

Vanderbilt

JR

Sean Newcomb

LHP

Hartford

JR

Jacob Gatewood

SS

Clovis HS, CA

USC

Michael Conforto

LF/1B

Oregon State

JR

Grant Holmes

RHP

Conway HS, SC

Florida

Nick Gordon

SS/P

Olympia HS, FL

Florida State

Max Pentecost

C

Kennesaw State

JR

Brandon Finnegan

LHP

TCU

JR

Brad Zimmer

RF

San Francisco

JR

Kyle Freeland

LHP

Evansville

JR

Derek Fisher

LF

Virginia

JR

Kodi Medeiros

LHP

Waiakea HS, HI

Pepperdine

I think there is a big drop off between the first tier and the second but still see these guys as legitimate first round talents. While I do have a set order that I would take these players in, they are all pretty close and would not consider it that big of a reach if the bottom guy of my list was at the top of someone else’s especially if it came with a signing strategy. This tier plus the 1st Tier have 19 total players on it meaning that there is no guarantee that one will fall to the Indians first pick at 21 but I’m certainly hoping so. Pitching headlines this group for me and Nola’s polish, mid-rotation upside, and belief he’ll move quickly makes him my top second tier guy. I was big on Trey Ball last year and considered him at #5 (took Colin Moran) and see similarities to him with Touki Toussaint as a projectable athletic prep pitcher with some major velocity. I would love if either Gatewood or Conforto’s fell for the reason of collecting power bats noted above. Other guys of note, I’m probably the high man on Tyler Beede but I’m willing to trust him to straighten out his stuff once he gets pro instruction (blind faith) and I’m low on Nick Gordon compared to the industry but I don’t know if I trust his bat as much as been reported. Gordon would still be a steal at #21 but I just think there are more guys ahead of him than you are seeing in Mock Drafts and Draft Boards.

2.5 Tier

Player

Pos

School

Class/Commitment

Jeff Hoffman

RHP

East Carolina

JR - INJURED (TJ)

I’m a little unsure of what to do with Hoffman as you are rarely able to get a talent like him this late in the draft but he comes with considerable risk given his limited track record of high level performance and injury. I settled in with putting him in his own tier here as I’d still be willing to take him should he fall but would rather grab one of the guys listed above if they are there. Even a high risk guy like Medeiros carries less concern with me. Health is a tricky thing and recent cases of guys having to undergo their 2nd Tommy John procedures back the argument that recovery is guarantee and it’s never good for guys to be going under the knife this young. Ultimately I think someone will take the risk higher up the draft and take the decision out of my hands.

3rd Tier

Player

Pos

School

Class/Commitment

Luis Ortiz

RHP

Sanger HS, CA

Fresno State

Kyle Schwarber

C/1B/OF

Indiana

JR

Michael Chavis

3B

Sprayberry HS, GA

Clemson

Scott Blewett

RHP

Charles W. Baker HS, NY

St. John's

Monte Harrison

CF

Lee's Summit West HS, MO

Nebraska (football)

Sean Reid-Foley

RHP

Sandalwood HS, FL

Florida State

Forrest Wall

2B

Orangewood Christ. HS, FL

North Carolina

Luke Weaver

RHP

Florida State

JR

Cameron Varga

RHP

Cincinnati Hills Chr. HS, OH

North Carolina

Braxton Davidson

1B

T.C. Roberson HS, NC

North Carolina

Foster Griffin

LHP

First Academy HS, FL

Ole Miss

Michael Gettys

CF/P

Gainesville HS, GA

Georgia

Alex Blandino

3B/2B

Stanford

JR

A.J. Reed

LHP/1B

Kentucky

JR

Derek Hill

CF

Elk Grove HS, CA

Oregon

Nick Burdi

RHP

Louisville

JR

Spencer Adams

RHP

White County HS, GA

Georgia

Erick Fedde

RHP

UNLV

JR - INJURED (TJ)

Marcus Wilson

CF

Junipero Serra HS, CA

Arizona State

Alex Verdugo

OF/P

Sahuaro HS, AZ

Arizona State

Casey Gillaspie

1B

Wichita State

JR

Chase Vallot

C

St. Thomas More HS, LA

Mississippi St.

Ti’Quan Forbes

SS

Columbia HS (MS)

Ole Miss

This tier would be the ultimate consolation prize for the #21 pick but also a lock for the next two selections at #31 and #38. I’m a fan of Ortiz and think he’s a guy who could jump when he gets to pro ball, same thing with Blewett but not as big of a fan of the stuff. Schwarber checks off the power potential box I’m looking for so I overlook the likely move to 1B long term. Chavis has a quick bat from a smallish frame that some project to plus power and has at the very least has a nice line drive swing, while not the same ceiling it sounds similar to their top pick from last year. I mentioned in one of the Cleveland MOD comments that I think Burdi has an outside shot at starting and I love his stuff even if the bullpen is his long term home. If I were able to grab a guy with some certainty with pick #21 I might take a risk with him with one of the picks in the 30s. Blandino and Wall are both attractive for their pure hitting skills and if I were to nab a pitcher early may reach on one of these guys with either the comp or competitive balance pick. I’m not as high on Fedde’s overall ceiling as I was with Hoffman so he doesn’t get as much of a break with regards to his injury.

4th Tier

Michael Kopech

RHP

Mount Pleasant HS, TX

Arizona

Matt Imhof

LHP

Cal Poly

JR

Mac Marshall

LHP

Parkview HS, GA

LSU

Mike Papi

LF

Virginia

JR

Matt Chapman

3B

Cal State Fullerton

JR

Cody Reed

LHP

Ardmore HS, AL

Vanderbilt

Justus Sheffield

LHP

Tullahoma HS, TN

Vanderbilt

Keaton McKinney

RHP

Ankeny HS, IA

Arkansas

Milton Ramos

SS

American Heritage HS, FL

FAU

Jack Flaherty

3B

Harvard Westlake HS, CA

North Carolina

Grayson Greiner

C

South Carolina

JR

Matt Railey

CF/RF

North Florida Christ. HS, FL

Florida State

Nick Howard

RHP

Virginia

JR

Jacob Bukauskas

RHP

Ashburn, VA

North Carolina

Brian Anderson

CF/2B

Arkansas

JR

Mitch Keller

RHP

Xavier HS (IA)

North Carolina

Carson Sands

LHP

North Florida Christ. HS, FL

Florida State

Josh Morgan

SS

Orange Lutheran HS, CA

UCLA

Aramis Garcia

C

Florida International

JR

Bryce Montes De Oca

RHP

Lawrence HS, KS

Missouri

Jakson Reetz

C

Norris HS, NE

Nebraska

Dylan Cease

RHP

Milton HS, GA

Vanderbilt

Brett Graves

RHP

Missouri

JR

Gareth Morgan

LF

Vaughn Road HS, CN

N.C. State

Spencer Turnbull

RHP

Alabama

JR

At this point the order starts becoming less defined especially as other team’s draft boards start to diverge from my own. Chapman would be a target if I went pitching heavy early as I like his advanced hit tool, arm, and solid across the board skills. Imhof and fast fast risers this spring Cody Reed and Mitch Keller are three of my other favorites from this group. From what I’ve read, Bukauskas and Cease are probably going to college but if there is money left to be spent they could provide some decent upside over the others in this range.

5th Tier

Player

Pos

School

Class/Commitment

Zech Lemond

RHP

Rice

JR

Sam Travis

3B

Indiana

JR

Daniel Gossett

RHP

Clemson

JR

Grant Hockin

RHP

Damien HS, CA

UCLA

Dylan Davis

RF

Oregon State

JR

Garrett Fulenchek

RHP

Howe HS, TX

Dallas Baptist

Jeren Kendall

CF

Holmen HS, WI

Vanderbilt

Cole Tucker

SS

Mountain Pointe HS, AZ

Arizona

Michael Cederoth

RHP

San Diego State

JR

Evan Skoug

C

Libertyville HS, IL

TCU

J.J. Schwarz

C

Palm Beach Gardens HS, FL

Florida

Trey Supak

RHP

La Grange HS (TX)

Houston

Chris Ellis

RHP

Ole Miss

JR

Jordan Luplow

OF

Fresno State

JR

Joey Gatto

RHP

St. Augustine HS, NJ

North Carolina

Trace Loehr

2B

Putnam HS, OR

Oregon State

Jake Godfrey

RHP

Providence Catholic HS, IL

Notre Dame

Jacob Lindgren

LHP

Mississippi State

JR

Taylor Sparks

3B

UC-Irvine

JR

Keith Weisenberg

RHP

Osceola HS, FL

Stanford

Bobby Bradley

3B

Harrison Central HS, MS

LSU

Chris Oliver

RHP

Arkansas

JR

Eric Skoglund

LHP

UCF

JR

Andrew Suarez

LHP

Miami

JR

David Peterson

LHP

Regis Jesuit HS, CO

Oregon

J.D. Davis

1B

Cal State Fullerton

JR

Ryan Castellani

RHP

Brophy Prep HS, AZ

Arizona State

Turner Larkins

RHP

Martin HS, TX

Texas A&M

Cobi Johnson

RHP

Mitchell HS, FL (Holiday, FL)

Florida State

Wyatt Strahan

RHP

USC

JR

Chad Sobotka

RHP

South Carolina-Upstate

JR

Jacob Nix

RHP

Los Alamitos HS, CA

UCLA

Austin DeCarr

RHP

Xaverian Brothers HS, MA

Clemson

Aaron Brown

LHP

Pepperdine

JR

Pat Connaughton

RHP

Notre Dame

JR

Greg Allen

CF

San Diego State

JR

Mark Zagunis

C

Virginia Tech

JR

Jordan Brink

RHP

Fresno State

JR

Jace Fry

LHP

Oregon State

JR

Connor Joe

SS

San Diego

JR

Jake Cosart

RHP

Seminole State

JR

Austin Slater

DH?

Stanford

JR

Tate Blackman

2B

Lake Brantley HS, FL

Ole Miss

Bryan Dobzanski

RHP

Delsea Regional HS, NJ

Louisville

Jake Stinnett

RHP

Maryland

SR

Dan Mengden

RHP

Texas A&M

JR

This tier completes 114 players in total and I would hope that I wouldn’t have to go deeper than this with any of my picks. Wyatt Strahan and Greg Allen are a couple of guys who have moved up the boards this Spring and are interesting for the 3rd and 4th rounds. Michael Cederoth slipped a lot from his standing coming into the year according to reports, but he could be a guy to take a chance on if some safe picks are in hand already. Jacob Lindgren is attractive here for possibly having a plus plus pitch in his slider. Jake Stinnett offers more upside than your typical senior and would fit well for a pick where you’re looking to save a little money. Dan Mengden deserves to be drafted based on his mustache alone.

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