Here are some impressions from the Indians' draft:
1. My initial impression remains. The Indians drafted for quality but with an eye on quantity in this draft. The intent, I guess, is to maximize the NUMBER of major leaguers they get out of the draft and hope 1-2 exceed expectations significantly and perform as if they were #1 picks. I think that is what Baseball America means when they refer to the Indians' draft as 'a portfolio approach'. The other approach, which they DID NOT employ is to draft 1-2 superstuds followed by plenty of low-priced, organizational fillers. Given their draft resources this year, I like the strategy.
2. Sometimes it is instructive to look at pre-season rankings to see what happened to guys during the year. This gives you an idea of whether guys might have some significant upside that got buried in a year that, for whatever reason, caused their draft stock to plummet or, at least, dip When you do that, assuming that college and HS draft classes were roughly equal in size and quality top to bottom, here is what you have:
2. Quentin Holmes - 22 pre-season (BA), 50 BA pre-draft, 33 MLB pre-draft
2. Tyler Freeman - 174 pre-season (BA), 97 BA pre-draft, 141 MLB pre-draft
4. Ernie Clement - 118 pre-season (BA), 92 BA pre-draft, 114 MLB pre-draft
6. Michael Rivera - 56 pre-season (BA), 175 BA pre-draft, 172 MLB pre-draft
9. James Karinchak - 132 pre-season (BA), 122 BA pre-draft, 163 MLB pre-draft
34. Cole Turney - 74 pre-season (BA), 128 BA pre-draft, 182 MLB pre-draft
I think Rivera fell during the season due to low batting average. Turney fell substantially. Clement and Karinchak held their positions. Freeman raised his stock a little during the season.
Trying to figure out what all this means is difficult but I will give it a try. Signing all of the above would help this draft immensely. Signing the first 5 is necessary for this draft to turn out to be really productive. I think Turney is almost unsignable as I think he probably expected to go way higher than he did and his drop in draft status will make him think that he can do better the next time around after 3 years at Arkansas. I think it takes mid second round money to even have a chance to sign Turney and I can't see how we can come up with that. If we have money left, we would probably turn our attention to Asa Lacey although the Texas A&M commitment would be hard to overcome. Rivera is likely to sign but, of the first 10 round guys, might be the most likely to go back to school as he plays a premium position and 6th round money should be easy to reproduce next year if he has a monster offensive season (the defense should remain solid). As silly as it may seem, having Francisco Mejia may also influence whether Rivera signs plus having Logan Ice in front of him on the development chart might also be persuasive in him going back to school.
So, in summary, I think Michael Rivera may be the most at-risk prospect not to sign in the first 10 Indians' picks. I think we can sign the rest of our first round picks if we can spread a little leftover bonus money around. I don't think we can sign Turney so I would focus my resources on signing those first 10 round picks. If one of Karinchak or Berardi does not sign we could focus on Lacey but I don't think we really will sign of anyone of obvious note after the first 10 rounds as, even if we have money left over, I can't imagine it is worth spending on anyone but Turney or Lacey. I mean, $50,000 or $100,000 over slot for a pick after round 10 might be doable, if we only do it once or twice and I can't see who we would even spend the money on. Of course, I thought the same thing about Morimando when we signed him and I was wrong about that.