Tribe hopes Day 2 risk brings reward
With few Day 1 picks, Indians roll dice on Draft's second day
CLEVELAND -- John Mirabelli knows that impact players on the big-league stage have historically come from the opening five rounds of the First-Year Player Draft.
So, with only three picks in that all-important span Thursday, the Indians scouting director had to smash the club's typical line of attack.
"It changed our strategy from the get-go," Mirabelli said. "Without those picks, we knew we weren't going to have much flexibility and we knew we had to be aggressive all throughout the Draft."
So risk was the theme of Friday's 45-round second day.
The Indians took several players with immense upside who could have fallen on the first day under different circumstances, but didn't because they could prove difficult to sign or are coming off an injury.
Certainty went "out the window," Mirabelli said.
Take Cole St. Clair, the Tribe's seventh-round selection, for instance.
The 6-foot-5 left-handed closer from Rice University was projected as a high-end pick before the year, but missed the first two months of the season with a shoulder injury. Only in his last few outings had he rediscovered the form that saw him strike out 12.2 batters per nine innings and pick up 22 saves in 2006.
"Obviously, we think he was a little bit of a distressed property," Mirabelli said. "But we're talking about a [6-foot-5] lefty. You look at what he did in 2006 and he obviously has some significant upside."
So do quite a few of the 13 high school players Cleveland selected.
Most notable in this group was Bo Greenwell, the son of former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell. The Tribe's sixth-round selection, Greenwell hit .510 with three homers, 31 RBIs and 22 steals at Riverdale High School in Florida.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
But while Greenwell has already signed with the University of Miami, Mirabelli pointed to a pair of teen pitchers that could prove steals if they indeed forego college and sign with the club.
Chris Jones, a left-hander from Vivian Gaither High in Florida taken in the 15th round, and Henry Sowers (no relation to Indians starter Jeremy Sowers), a right-hander from North Lenoir High in North Carolina picked up in the 22nd round, were both tabbed by Mirabelli as "good gets."
In all, over 50 rounds and 47 picks, the Indians took just 24 pitchers, a number down from past years. But the potential in this year's crop offered plenty of excitement for the Tribe's higher-ups.
"We knew we were going to be able to get impact players," Mirabelli said. "But we had to roll the risk/reward dice."
About the only place where the club knew there could not be much risk was with its first-round pick. Beau Mills, a third baseman out of Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, was widely regarded as a safe pick at No. 13 overall.
So now comes the fun part: contract negotiations.
"I'm as confident as I can be," Mirabelli said. "Beau wants to get started. ... But in these situations, I'm never 100 percent certain."
And after a Draft unlike any other Mirabelli had ever seen, how could he be?
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.