What a night to start the draft!
First, the Indians don't even a first round pick...or even a supplemental first round pick. Their first pick is #64 and their second pick is #71, both of which will be announced on TV tonight...and the end of a long TV show.
Second, the Cavaliers are playing in another elimination game tonight. Either the city will have a loss hangover or a win hangover tomorrow and few people will worry about the baseball draft.
Third, the low draft status of the Indians' picks mean that the odds of getting more than one impact player out of this draft are minimal.
For those of you who don't remember what I posted after we signed Encarnacion, here are two scenarios I presented back then:
(1) you place all your eggs in one basket drafting a guy projected to go in the first roun who has fallen into the second round for whatever reason and draft college seniors who will sign for $1000 or medium-ranked high schoolers (think guys in BA's top 500 in the area of 250-400) who will sign for slot or below slot money. Think of drafting a guy like last year's Nolan Jones plus a bunch of college seniors like Michael Leftkewicz and HSers like Samad Taylor, both from last year's draft. Hey, this could work out great for the Indians if they take a gamble and it pays off. For people who want to look in the most positive light, the Indians picked up Albert Belle years ago when he dropped due to questions about his personality.
(2) You let your scouts do their work and draft guys appropriate to where they should be drafted but who the scouts think can turn out to be MUCH more than their current value. To me, Jason Kipnis is a guy who falls in that category. He would likely have been passable as a left fielder but, as a secondbaseman, would have been above average.
In either case, don't expect us to take any 'flyers' after round 10. There just won't be any money left over as most teams save most of the money on their first and second round picks. Any money we save on our first couple of picks will almost surely be spent before round 11. After that, it is $100,000 or less guys.
I can't begin to give you a draft projection for possibility (1) but I can imagine one for possibility (2). As a matter of fact, I will give you two lists as I think the Indians could go one of two ways: high schoolers who project long term and college guys like Bieber and Civale last year and Kyle Crockett in the past, who can get to the majors quickly.
#64 - Evan Skoug, C, TCU - I don't like this guy as a catcher but if he can play another position (like Kipnis was correctly projected to be able to do) then I love his LH bat. If he can stay at catcher then his value is even greater. I am hoping we can get him for a little under slot or, at worst, slot.
#71 - Drew Rasmussen - RHP - Oregon State - Now, I know he could very easily be gone at 71 but let's hope he isn't. If he is gone then Wil Crowe (who we have already drafted twice), Corbin Martin (RHP, TCU) or Blaine Knight (RHP, Arkansas), the latter I would hope to sign for under slot or slot. The first two might require a little over slot.
#102 - Here is where I would take my one flyer on a guy who will cost me $1 million. This could be a HS player or a college player who has dropped. It will be made tougher as teams will have all night to talk to players who have dropped due to bonus demands or injuries or other reasons. But, in this grouping of players who expected to go on day one but didn't, there has to be someone who thought they would get $1 million who would sign for that. Note that this would take about $500,000 above slot for this pick, meaning we would have to draft mostly college seniors through round 10 and no 'flyers' for the rest of the draft as we would have no money left over. Since the draft tends to be "What have you done for me lately" slanted, here is my guess for a guy who might be left at this point:
Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State. I think his actions at third base are such that he might not end up there and may. like Chisenhall, end up in RF. He has hit badly this post-season against better pitching than he sees during the year. I like him in this spot. After Burger, I wouldn't have another guess until I see how the first night of the draft goes.
#132 - I start looking for my college seniors here, finding the best ones I can. Keegan Thompson, RHP from Auburn, who I think we drafted out of HS
#162 - Jerad Oliva CF - Arizona
#192 - Brian Howard RHP - TCU - At 6'9" I like this guy a lot as someone who could come on.
#222 - Jake Latz LHP Kent State
252 - Kick Kennedy LHP Texas
282 - Ricky Tyler Thomas LHP - Long Beach State
312 - Keith Rogalla - RHP - Creighton
After the 10th round I see the Indians taking a lot of junior college guys and, unlike past years, NOT many, if any, HS guys. Maybe one or two if they think they will have any money left over. Historically, however, they have had very little success (Luke Wakamatsu is the one exception I can think of) drafting HS guys in the later rounds.
I will be back with the HS scenario later tonight but to whet peoples' appetites, here are a couple of guys I am thinking about at #64 and 71 if we drafted HS guys at their approximate value:
64 - James Marinan RHP - Fla HS
71 - Greg Jones - SS - NC HS
One more thing: Let's go Cavs! I had a dream that Kyle Korver will hit 7 3s tonight and the Cavs will win.