OK, the Indians are busily signing guys, more guys than I thought they would. With the July 15th deadline not that far off, let's look at the guys who haven't signed and find out what our chances are of signing them and, frankly, what guys we should sign.
First, let's look at the Indians farm system. Last year we drafted a number of HS pitchers. That followed getting Justus Sheffield and Justin Mayweather the year before that. So, in the low minors we are pretty well set with high end prospect pitchers. In the upper minors we are a little thinner and aside from Mike Clevinger, we are looking at mostly #4-5 starters and relievers...but the cup is far from empty in terms of AA/AAA pitching prospects. We are weak at catching prospects, strong at first base and a little thin in the outfield except for our high end guys, Zimmer and Frazier. Most of our other OF prospects are slap and run guys. Middle infield is solid. Third base, beyond Urshela, is questionable but if Urshela comes on we are set there and clearly at utility INF.
Our ML team is set at starting pitching and is a little weak in most of other positions. Assuming we can pull off an opportunisitc trade for a starting OFer and a quality LOOGY we might lose most of our quality OF prospects and perhaps a middle infielder and a pitcher. For me the target would be Ryan Braun and that would probably cost us at least Clevinger, Erik Gonzalez and Clint Frazier and we might have to throw in Chisenhall, too. Maybe we could get a LOOGY from them, too.
So, with that in mind, let's look at the guys who we haven't signed:
Nolan Jones - He gives us a potentially impactful third base prospect. I don't know if he will be in the same category but I look at him like Matt Whitney when we drafted him. We all know he is the key signing but he is not the only one we need to sign.
Shane Bieber - He, along with Civale, gives us more #4-5 guys and if the Indians have scouted well, maybe one of these guys turns into a closer with a bump in MPH when they go to the bullpen. We have a number of these guys at the upper levels of the minors but are missing these types from last year's draft so signing Bieber would be good. Signing him for under slot would be better as we look to sign flyers.
Andrew Calica - I don't see the reason for signing him. Greg Allen is looking great, Gabriel Mejia has some upside and Connor Marabell and Nathan Lukes also have some promise. If he will sign for $100,000 or maybe $125,000 then I say maybe. However, how many non-power OFers does an organization need if those guys hardly ever make an impact at the ML level now. Twenty-five years ago, maybe, but Michael Brantley is more the prototypical non-40 HR outfielder now and I don't see Calica (or Allen) putting up numbers like Brantley's. Maybe Almonte numbers but those are AAA numbers, really.
Zack Smith, Blake Sabol, Mike Amditis - I think the chances of signing all these HS catchers went out the window when we signed Ice and Tinsley. I think these three guys were contingency guys if we didn't sign Ice or Tinsley. Since we have signed those college catchers and with the presence of Daniel Salters, spending money on HS catchers is pretty much a waste and given the quality of these guys, I think they all will and, frankly, probably should go to college. I would love to sign all of them for $500,000 total but I really think that would be unneeded by us and unfair to them.
Ben Baird - I think that signing him makes the most sense. He is highly rated and Jones will probably end up at third base so having another MIF prospect a year behind Wakamatsu and two years behind Krieger and Mathias makes sense.
Wil Crowe - I LOVE this guy but I think signing him will be a waste of money. I think he will ask for too much and would rather get two HS guys instead of him.
Chris Farish and Kramer Robertson - Every year we draft some college players who decide to go back to college to play another year. These two guys (and maybe Crowe) are likely to be this year's versions.
Auston Shenton, Spencer Steer, Armani Smith - One of these guys would be nice but, again, I don't know if we have the money and I think maybe they were just contingencies if we didn't sign Jones. I originally thought they might be contingencies if we didn't sign Cantu and had budgeted $500,000 for him but since Cantu signed for slot, my guess is that these three guys were contingencies just for Jones not signing.
Nelson Alvarez, Mason Studstill, Andrew Baker - I love these HS pitcher types and some of them work out (See Shawn Morimando). Others end up being first or second round picks 3 years down the road leaving me to always ask myself 'What if we would have signed this guy?' So, if you can sign one or two and not break the bank, I say go for it. This is a classic example of the more depth you have the better chances you have of getting a guy to the majors. Frankly, though, if we signed all three the likelihood is that only one of them would make a major impact.
Alfonseca and Sinatro - I wonder if these two guys were just recognition signings. That is, they have no chance to sign but we are doing them a favor by drafting them so they have on their resume that they were drafted in the ML draft. Maybe like Wakamatsu we have a chance but, more often than not, these types of picks
DeVries and Burgos - I think both will/have signed.
So, that's it. If we get Jones, Bieber and Baird I will be very happy with this draft. If we get Crowe or one of the HS pitchers, as well, I am over the top happy.