Draft Reviews: Cleveland Indians

2008 Draft Slot: 29th overall
Top Pick: Lonnie Chisenhall, IF, North Carolina community college
Best Pick: Chisenhall
Keep an Eye On: Trey Haley, RHP, Texas high school (2nd round)
Notes: The Tribe did a nice job scouting Lonnie Chisenhall, for whom some clubs had serious makeup concerns. By all reports, though, he’s been a model citizen for the Indians organization and has hit better than expected early on in his pro career. The club went over-slot with a number of players (Bryce Stowell, T.J. House) and could end up with one of the better drafts when we look back in five years at the 2008 selections.

2007 Draft Slot: 13th overall
Top Pick: Beau Mills, 1B, Lewis-Clark State college
Best Pick: Mills, from a weak pool of picks
Worst Pick: T.J. McFarland, LHP, Illinois high school
Notes: The club drafted slugger in 1B Beau Mills and then did not pick again until the fourth round, which certainly hurt in terms of depth. No one else has really stepped up their game since then. Prep pick T.J. McFarland has a history of elbow problems and he hasn’t looked very good since signing.

2006 Draft Slot: 39th overall (supplemental first round)
Top Pick: David Huff, LHP, UCLA
Best Pick: Wes Hodges, 3B, Georgia Tech (second round – 69th overall)
Worst Pick: Steven Wright, RHP, University of Hawaii (second round – 56th overall)
Notes: Perhaps worried that the club lacked a first-round pick, the organization went with an “advanced” college arm that had a lower overall ceiling but would move quickly. Clubs are now realizing that category of draft pick is pretty much a myth. It’s now 2009 and David Huff hasn’t pitched in the Majors yet. His ceiling is that of a third or fourth starter. Steven Wright is looking like a future middle reliever in the Majors, but the club made up for that second-round pick with another in the same round: third baseman Wes Hodges. The right-handed hitter won’t be a star but he should at least be a league-average third baseman.

* * *

2009 Draft Slot: 15th overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): Definitely college players
MLB Club Need: Pitching, Pitching, more Pitching, and Third base
Organizational Need: Center field, Right field, LHP Pitching, RHP Pitching
Organizational Strength: 1B/LF, Third base
Notes: The club has not really made a splash with its first overall pick in quite some time… although Chisenhall could change that. The club is picking in the middle of the first round, so a lot is up in the air… but you have to figure the club is leaning to a college pitcher, unless a good (college) bat finds its way to them.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


6 Responses to “Draft Reviews: Cleveland Indians”

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  1. Don J says:

    I hope they can grab Marc Krauss, OF/Ohio University…the kid is killing the MAC this year just as he killed the Cape last year…has 20 HRs in 40 games…he is an ohio born kid and loves the Tribe…

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  2. Skoodog says:

    We’ve either had poor scouting or bad luck through the past few years – seems the main tactic the front office has any sort of success with is to grab farm talent through trades of our studs (Colon for Sizemore/Lee/Phillips, CC for LaPorta). They seem to have little in the way of developing young pitchers (the oft injured Adam Miller, Sowers, Lee, Westbrook, etc.) and also make poor analysis on infield talent (letting Philips walk away for nothing, the failed Barfield and Marte experiments).

    I’m leaning more towards the poor scouting aspect.

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    • Kyle Boddy says:

      They gave Brandon Phillips every chance to succeed, and when he ran out of options, roster flexibility dictated that they release him. That he went on to become a 30/30 guy is not exactly their fault. Some people just need a change of scenery.

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      • Greg says:

        The one mistake they made with Phillips was burning through his options without getting any production out of him. In 2002 the called him up for just 31 at bats when he was only 21 and not ready for MLB. In 2004 and 2005 he had 22 at bats and 9 at bats respectively. “Poof” went his options and all the Indians got was half a year of sub-replacement level production in 2003 when he still an unready 22 year old with atrocious plate discipline. If they saw him as part of their future, they should have let him develop in AAA until he could contribute.

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    • joser says:

      But they no longer have Bill Bavasi’s pocket to pick (Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo) and the pool of dumb GMs seems to be getting smaller in general, so the trade route may not be as productive for them as it was in the past — and they’re a little short on “studs” to deal at the moment also.

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  3. HomoNazi says:

    I want to rape college boyz

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