Well, here we are on the eve of the 2013 draft. The consensus choice is for the Indians to take Colin Moran, the thirdbaseman from North Carolina in the first round.
Pure hitter? Check
Some power? Check
Good defense? Maybe not.
But let's think back to 2007. The Indians had lost their 2nd and 3rd round picks for the ill-advised signing of David Dellucci and Roberto Hernandez. Shapiro said he wasn't worried about that but John Mirabelli was. In an interview with he after the draft he said that he felt he couldn't afford to miss with his first round pick so he took what he considered a sure thing, a hitter named Beau Mills. The fact that he had a shoulder problem at draft time and had left his D1 college to go to an NAIA school didn't matter. The fact that he had questionable mechanics at 3rd base didn't matter. He could hit and hit for power.
But Mills failed. He was a 1- or 2-tool guy and when those tools didn't play due to poor performance and injuries, we were screwed. Even more so because we went so safe (Jonathon Holt, a college reliever in the 5th round who they were sure would at least be a 6th/7th inning guy with little chance of failing) in the later rounds. TJ McFarland (4th round) is the only member of the class that we signed that will get to the majors and he did it with the Orioles and he was overdrafted in Round 4.
Colin Moran IS Beau Mills all over again. Not enough tools to make him worth this high of a draft pick.
We have to have a different approach this year. We need to go for broke in the first round. It is really the only round we have that ability, given the draft bonus slotting system. Plus, this draft is so thin that I think we just save money and sign Latin free agents. But that's another article.
So, in the first round I go for Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville GA HS. He is simply a baseball player and will be a solid if not spectacular player down the road.
In the 3rd and 4th rounds I would go for broke. I would draft the best available player who will sign for first round money.
We have $6.168 million to play with. If we can 3 guys who will sign for $5.5 million we still have $600,000 or so to sign the next 6 guys. That gives you 4 college seniors at close to $1000-10,000 and then two guys who sign for $300,000 each (think Cody Anderson types). I would make those two larger signings college pitchers meaning every pick from rounds 5-10 would be 4-year college players. I am looking for pitching depth at each of these draft slots meaning that I take 6 4-year college pitchers in rounds 5-10.
So there is my first 10 rounds. We should draft 3 high profile (probably HS) players and pay them top dollar. I would make that Frazier and two HS pitchers. Then I would draft 6 college pitchers. Who those guys after Frazier are depends on who is availabel and, in rounds 3-4, who dropped due to some combination of poor spring performance and large bonus demands sprinkled with a huge dose of signability...at a good sized bonus.
By the time I get done with the first 10 rounds I have one position player and 8 pitchers. Then I start adding depth at all positions with only college players. No flyers later on. Just solid organizational guys who sign for close to nothing. So my draft has maybe 3 high school players and 36 college players. No contingency picks, something most clubs do. If I do my work I can sign all the guys and just make my budget by going cheap in later rounds in the top 10. I top load this draft figuring that the guys down at the bottom have no chance of making the majors anyway and I roll the dice on the first three picks hoping I get one stud and one other regular out of that group of 3.
I then take that surplus from going cheap after round 4 and roll it over and go nuts in Latin America. I would like us to sign 3-4 of the top 10 Latin prospects come this July.
That is my strategy...and I'm sticking to it.