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The Tribe holds the 15th pick in the 1st round and some mockers are already mocking. Tough thing to mock, but what the hell.


Jason A. Churchill writes about the makeup of this draft class:


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Three 2009 draft truisms


Each draft class leaves its subtle, unique stamp on the game of baseball. Some years the draft is known for its strengths or weaknesses, while other classes are famous for producing particular stars who went on to leave legendary marks on the league. The 2009 draft will be known for its own characteristics, too.


1. It's heavy at the top … the very top

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg is perhaps the easiest choice as the No. 1 talent in the history of the draft, and no other player in this class rivals the upside, high probability and the quick return Strasburg will give the Washington Nationals.


In recent drafts, the club with the top pick has usually discussed at least a couple of names. Last June, Tampa Bay considered Florida State catcher Buster Posey before deciding on Griffin (Ga.) High School shortstop Tim Beckham.


In 2006, Kansas City mulled over a number of names, including Andrew Miller and Tim Lincecum, before calling the name of former Tennessee star Luke Hochevar with the No. 1 overall selection.


In 2007, the Rays were pretty much set on Vanderbilt southpaw David Price. But in 2005, Arizona considered Nebraska 3B Alex Gordon for a time before ending up with OF Justin Upton.


This spring, the internal discussions the Nationals are having are undoubtedly about how much Strasburg is worth, rather than whether or not he's the best player in the draft.


2. The value is in the pitching

Last year's draft produced a heap of college bats that clubs attacked like a great white shark stuck in a fish tank with a sea lion and a can of Cool Whip. The opposite is true this time around with pitching, both at the college and prep levels, likely dominating the top 20 picks.


After Strasburg, most clubs drafting in the top 20 agree that right-handers Kyle Gibson of Missouri, James Paxton of Kentucky, Alex White of North Carolina, Mike Leake of Arizona State, and the two independent league holdovers -- Tanner Scheppers, formerly of Fresno State, and Aaron Crow, formerly of Missouri -- are all top-20 talents.


Most also agree that the upside of the top prep arms in the class is as enticing as any group's in recent memory. Right-handers Shelby Miller of Brownwood (Texas) High School, Jacob Turner of Westminster Christian Academy (St. Louis, Mo.) and East Paulding (Dallas, Ga.) High School's Zack Wheeler join left-handers Matt Purke of Klein (Texas) High School and Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo, Calif.) High's Tyler Matzek as possibilities in the top 10. And none of the above is expected to make it past Cleveland at No. 15.


The rest of the first round, and even the sandwich round, could still boast some very interesting college starting pitching with No. 2 or No. 3 potential, such as Lipscomb LHP Rex Brothers, Kennesaw State RHP Kyle Heckathorn, LHP Mike Minor of Vanderbilt and Indiana RHP Eric Arnett.


The prep pitching doesn't end there, either, with Norco (Calif.) RHP Matt Hobgood, LHP Chad James of Yukon (Okla.) High School and southpaw Tyler Skaggs of Santa Monica (Calif.) High School all warranting first-round consideration.


3. There isn't much difference between a first- and a third-rounder

Before the amateur season began, I had a conversation with a National League club's scouting coordinator about the ensuing season and the talent it may produce for the 2009 draft. One thing he said stuck out to me, and it's something that rings true as the season closes.


"There's not much difference between the 25th pick and the 75th pick," he said. "There's more of a chance this year that the third-rounders are as good as the first-rounders than in previous drafts."


This is especially intriguing for teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose first choice is at No. 36, the seventh pick in Round 2, and the New York Mets, who don't pick until No. 72 overall.


Injured players, or talents that began the year as potential first-round picks but had down seasons, tend to be enticing for big-market clubs looking for upside in rounds after the first.


Left-hander Ian Krol of Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Ill.), who did not play this season due to a violation of school rules, and Luke Bailey of Troup County (LaGrange, Ga.) High School, who had Tommy John surgery just weeks ago, could be high-upside targets for clubs after the first round.


While Keith Law's mock has us snagging 6'0" RHP Mike Leake from ASU at 15. He writes: I think they'll do cartwheels in Cleveland if this happens.


Leake's scouting report from ESPN:


Summary: Leake is a typical command right-hander, featuring a four-pitch mix (watch scouting video) without a single knockout pitch but with good life on his two-seamer and a solid-average curve. He'll pitch at 88-92 mph, with a hard, late tailing action that makes it more effective than a typical fastball with fringe-average to average velocity. His curve has a short, two-plane break and appears to pop out of his hand, with a break that accelerates as it comes toward the hitter. He throws a hard changeup around 82 mph with a slight tailing action and showed a slider around 79-80 mph with decent tilt. He commands all four pitches and throws strikes, and works very quickly. He's a good athlete who plays some outfield for ASU and fields his position well as a pitcher. Leake's delivery is compact with just a little head movement at the end as he releases the ball. His arm is quick and its path behind his body isn't long, partly due to the fact he separates his hands early as he moves them down from their peak point in his windup. His performance has put him solidly into the middle of the first round, and he should be relatively quick to the majors as a more or less finished product right now.









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Over at MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo threw his darts against the wall and he has the Tribe passing on Leake (who he has going at 16) and instead taking another LHP, Rex Brothers from Lipscomb University. Like Leake, he's not a big guy at 6'1".


Mayo writes:


In a perfect world for the Indians, one of those high school arms would make it down here. In this projection, alas, it is not a perfect world, so the Indians will look for a power arm, one that might be able to start, but at the very least could get to the big leagues quickly in the pen. Brothers, with a plus fastball and slider, fits that mold quite well.




The gang at MVN have their own mock and the Indians rep chose Leake:




For a general overview of the draft, Rich Lederer at the always wonderful baseballanalysts.com interviewed MLB's version of Mel Kiper (meant as a compliment) - Jim Callis from Baseball America:


Q&A with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Strasburg, Boras, and Everything Else You Wanted to Know About the 2009 Draft

By Rich Lederer


When it comes to the First-Year Player Draft, nobody is as wired to what's going on as Jim Callis, the Executive Editor of Baseball America. He talks to general managers, scouting directors, cross checkers, area scouts, college coaches, and agents, gathering valuable information for Baseball America's website and biweekly magazine. With his ear to the ground, Jim's final mock drafts are routinely the most accurate published. Two months before I met up with Jim on a trip to Chicago in the summer of 2005, he predicted the first 18 selections of the draft in the exact order that they were taken.


Born and raised in Virginia, Callis graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism. He began his career with Baseball America in December 1988, left for STATS, Inc. in September 1997, and returned to BA in May 2000. In total, Jim has been covering baseball for more than two decades, including 18 years with Baseball America.


Callis, 41, lives in the Chicago area with his wife and four children. In his spare time, he coaches his oldest son's 7th/8th grade baseball team. Like all of us, Jim is a baseball fan and his favorite team is . . . the Boston Red Sox! You can catch up with Jim about the draft, the Red Sox, baseball in general, and even pop culture in his online chats at ESPN Sports Nation.


Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy our discussion about the MLB First-Year Player Draft that begins Tuesday, June 9.


Rich: Hi, Jim. Thanks for taking the time to preview the 2009 First-Year Player Draft with us. How is this draft shaping up in terms of overall talent vs. those of the past?


Jim: It's not a good draft for position players, and it comes right after a draft that was loaded with hitters, so there's kind of a negative vibe about it. But there's talent in any draft. This one has plenty of pitching, college and high school, lefty and righty, whatever flavor you like, starting with arguably the best draft prospect ever in Stephen Strasburg. The college position players fall off a cliff quickly after North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley, but Ackley is a very good one. The high school position players are fine, with a lot of catchers and center fielders. It's kind of reminiscent of 2006, which was thought not to be deep in comparison to a hitter-rich 2005 crop, yet had Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum, Joba Chamberlain and a host of other very talented players. So that's a long way of saying that there's talent in this draft, there's just not much consensus. I actually wrote a column on this, so I'll plug it here, though you need a BA.com subscription to read it.


Rich: The Washington Nationals are the first team to own two of the top ten picks in the same draft. The No. 1 overall choice is the reward for having the worst record in baseball in 2008 while the No. 10 selection is compensation for not signing Aaron Crow with the ninth pick last year. Aside from issues involving health, is there any chance at all that Washington would take someone other than Strasburg with the first pick?


Jim: No chance. Strasburg will be the No. 1 overall pick, barring injury. The track record of pitchers taken No. 1 overall is less than scintillating, but he's still far and away the best talent this year, and that's who you have to take with the top pick. He'll cost a lot of money, but far less than he would if he were on the open market. He also should be able to crack Washington's big league rotation almost immediately, if not immediately. There's no excuse for not taking him No. 1.


Rich: Is the $50 million price tag for Strasburg that has been floated out there simply a strategic ploy on the part of Scott Boras to reset the bar for No. 1s or do you think he will hold to something close to that figure at the risk of not getting Strasburg signed by August 15?


Jim: I'm sure Scott Boras believes in his heart that Strasburg deserves $50 million. I also believe that if all 30 teams could bid on Strasburg, he'd get that money. But the leverage to get that money doesn't exist because Strasburg's only options are to 1) sign with whoever picks him or 2) re-enter the 2010 draft. There's no avenue to free agency. If Scott doesn't get his asking price, he gives the team every chance to up its offer right up until the deadline. So don't look for Strasburg to sign before 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 15.


Rich: Nationals president Stan Kasten has been quoted as saying, "We know what No. 1s get and we intend to sign that player...No one's situation is going to change the industry." Doesn't that comment suggest the Nationals are going to draft Strasburg with the intention of offering him an eight-figure contract but much closer to the $8.5M-$10.5M that the top three signees (Mark Prior, Mark Teixeira, and David Price) received than the $52M awarded to Daisuke Matsuzaka, the comp Boras has reportedly used?


Jim: I think that's exactly right. To sign Strasburg, the Nationals need simply to figure out what's the lowest amount they can offer that will be too risky for him to turn down in the end. The draft record for guaranteed money is $10.5 million by Prior, and I'm guessing Washington will come in somewhere between $15 million to $20 million. Matsuzaka's price tag was artificially inflated by the $51.1 million posting fee Boston paid, and his situation isn't analagous to Strasburg's.


Rich: According to Jim Bowden, Crow asked for $4.4M and turned down $3.5M. Do you think he will get that type of money this year?


Jim: I heard Crow wanted $4 million at the end. Those negotiations were botched by both sides, who should have met in the middle at the deadline. I do think he'll get similar money this year, though he doesn't have a ton of leverage. There's no way he can really go back into the 2010 draft at this point. He's pitching well in indy ball, and first-round pitchers who have gone that route have done very well in the draft. He could get one of those $5 million major league contracts. Most teams probably wouldn't give him that much, but there always seems to be one club that will. I think he could go as high as No. 3 to the Padres or No. 4 to the Pirates.


Rich: The other Independent League wild card in this year's draft is Tanner Scheppers. How would you compare and contrast Crow and Scheppers and where do you see the latter going?


Jim: Scheppers probably would have been a top-10 pick last year if he hadn't hurt his shoulder. He hadn't bounced back by the time of the signing deadline for the Pirates to give him big money as a second-round pick. Scheppers has more arm strength, while Crow has more polish and a better health history. Scheppers came out of the gates stronger this spring, but they're pretty even now. They both should factor in the top half of the first round, possibly in the first 5-10 picks.


Rich:[/b] Let's talk about what Washington is likely to do in terms of its compensation pick for not signing Crow last year. After you posted your Mock Draft, Version 1.0 two weeks ago, acting Washington general manager Mike Rizzo contacted Baseball America, and said, "We do not have to take a signability pick. We’re going to take the best guy. We’re going to have 10 names up there on the board, and we’ll take the one we like." It seems to me that the Nats have to be careful this time around because they won't get another compensation pick if they fail to sign this particular draft choice. Agree?


Jim: They do have to be careful, because teams don't get compensation for failing to sign a draft pick they got as compensation for failure to sign another. Reading between the lines of what Mike said, they very possibly could take a guy they like but the industry doesn't value as highly as the No. 10 pick, and in that case they could use their leverage to sign him to a below-slot deal. I don't think they'll use the price as their main focus of their pick, but I also don't think they're going to roll the dice on someone like Donavan Tate if he's still there.


Rich: There is an important distinction between ability vs. signability. Which teams are most likely to pay over slot to get the player they want?


Jim: Last year, the industry spent a record $188 million on the draft and 26 of the 30 teams exceeded MLB's bonus recommendations on at least one player. I think teams in general will be more thrifty this year. But the usual suspects, particularly the Yankees and Red Sox, I'm sure will be willing to spend if a talented player falls to them. The clubs generally don't announce this, though.


Rich: How many players that could go in the first couple of rounds are being advised by Boras this year?


Jim: Several. Scott has arguably the best prospect in draft history (Strasburg), the best hitter in this draft (North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley), the best high school position player (Cartersville, Ga., HS outfielder Donavan Tate), arguably the best high school pitcher (Westminster Christian Academy/St. Louis righthander Jacob Turner), the best middle infielder (Southern California shortstop Grant Green) and the best college lefthander (Oklahoma State's Andy Oliver). Other top-two-round Boras advisees include Gainesville (Fla.) HS outfielder LeVon Washington, Kentucky lefthander James Paxton, Tennessee outfielder Kentrail Davis and Rocky Mount (N.C.) HS outfielder Brian Goodwin.


Rich: Are there any teams that flat out won't deal with Boras? If so, which ones?


Jim: There are, though everyone at least kicks the tires on his guys and no one will admit to avoiding his players on the record.


Rich: Has MLB sent out guidelines for slot money this year?


Jim: We had early indications that the slot recommendations will be the same as last year, but Murray Chass has reported that Bud Selig wants to roll them back by 10 percent, just like MLB tried to do in 2007. We've since confirmed that. Suffice it to say that no one is happy. I've had agents tell me there's no reason for a first-rounder to sign before Aug. 15, and I had one front-office official describe it as "xxxxing bullshit." You may edit that quote as you like.


Rich: Those aren't my words, Jim, so I think I'll leave that quote as is. Forget slot recommendations for a minute. Given the economy and the state of baseball, do you expect signing bonuses will be negatively affected at any point in the draft?


Jim:I don't think bonuses will be slashed, but I do think there will be fewer teams who will aggressively sign players for well above the slot recommendations. The last time MLB tried to cut slots by 10 percent, bonuses went up anyway, so I don't think that will have as much of an effect as the economy will.


Rich: Which players stand to get "out of the box" type deals and why?


Jim: Strasburg, obviously, because of his immense talent. The top college pitchers usually get major league deals with a $3 million bonus and a $5 million total guarantee, so that's may be what Missouri's Kyle Gibson and North Carolina's Alex White are looking for. Then again, they haven't lit scouts up down the stretch, so they may be more apt to sign for slot. I bet Ackley will seek a big league contract as well. The three top talents who could fall the most in the first round because of asking price are Tate, who has the leverage of a football scholarship from North Carolina, Turner and Klein HS (Spring, Texas) lefthander Matthew Purke. The numbers we're hearing on those guys are $6 million for Tate, $7 million for Turner and $5 million for Purke. There also are starting to be rumblings that the other elite high school lefty, Tyler Matzek of Capistrano Valley HS (Mission Viejo, Calif.), may not be an easy sign either. There's no number on him yet but teams are thinking he may prove costly.


Rich: The price tag on Turner seems to be based on what Josh Beckett and Rick Porcello received. Is Turner in that same league?


Jim: He's very good, arguably the best high school pitcher in this draft, but I don't think he's in the same class as Beckett and Porcello. He's not far off, but he's not as highly regarded as they were in high school.


Rich: Given Tate's talent and and how the Braves have leaned toward Georgia-based prospects in the past, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that he could be atop their board, if available at No. 7. However, management hasn't been known to pay over slot and, as such, do you think Atlanta will forgo Tate for another player who may not be as risky or costly?


Jim: The Braves don't usually draft Scott Boras clients. Their last prominent one was Joshua Fields, and that didn't work out too well. I would be very surprised if Atlanta took Tate.


Rich: Purke has signed a letter of intent to attend TCU and would be a draft eligible sophomore in 2011, which means he could have as much leverage in two years as he does this year. Although I have likened the tall, lanky lefthander with the three quarters delivery to Andrew Miller (not sure if that's as high of a compliment today as it may have been a few years ago), I see him as a gamble for most teams (other than perhaps the Texas Rangers or Houston Astros) at that price tag. Could he slide all the way to the Boston Red Sox at No. 28 or to the New York Yankees at No. 29, a la Porcello in 2007 and Gerrit Cole in 2008? Porcello turned out to be a great selection for the Tigers but Cole rejected the Yankees and opted to go to UCLA instead.


Jim: He could slide that far, sure. I think the Rangers could be tempted by him if Brownwood (Texas) HS righthander Shelby Miller is gone, and I'm not sure the Astros would go that far over slot if Purke holds true to his price tag. My guess is the Yankees would be more likely than the Red Sox to take Purke.


Rich: Let's circle back for a minute. Strasburg is off the board and it's now time for the Seattle Mariners to make their first pick (No. 2 overall). Is Ackley the consensus choice here?


Jim: I think he is. For a long time, the story was this draft was Strasburg and no consensus No. 2. Now I think most teams in the top 10 picks would pop Ackley if they had their choice (assuming Strasburg is gone, of course). I would do the same thing. I think he's a can't-miss bat, should have at least average power and will be able to move to center field. He's the clear No. 2 prospect in the draft for me.


Rich: Some might say that the draft doesn't really begin until the San Diego Padres make their selection at No. 3. Do you think management will take USC shortstop Grant Green a second time (14th round in 2006)?


Jim: I projected the Padres to take Green in my first projected first round two weeks ago, but now I'm hearing that while they like him more than any team in the top 10, he's not in the mix at No. 3. I've heard Tate there, but he doesn't seem to fit their type of guy as a less-polished high school athlete with a huge price tag. I've also heard Crow and Vanderbilt lefthander Mike Minor there, too. Crow would make more sense to me, but may cost more as well.


Rich: If Green slips past the Padres, where do you see him going?


Jim: He's a real wild card. I can't see Boras advertising him as a guy who signs for slot no matter where he falls, and he hasn't lived up to what scouts expected this spring. Maybe he falls all the way to the Yankees, who spent their first-round pick on another USC player under similar circumstances (Ian Kennedy) a few years ago.


Rich: Which players have been climbing the draft boards the most since you put out your Mock Draft a couple of weeks ago?


Jim: Minor is going to go very high after pitching very well in his last two starts, likely in the first 10-15 picks. We have him rated as more of an early sandwich pick, and I think that's where his talent fits, but he'll go higher than that. Of the projected first-rounders from two weeks ago, I think most guys' stock is holding firm for now. Signability may have guys rise or fall but talent-wise, I don't think anyone else is really leaping up. Guys like Lipscomb lefty Rex Brothers and Indiana righty Eric Arnett continue to pitch well, but we had them as mid-first-rounders to begin with.


Rich: Aside from signability issues, whose stock has been dropping the most — and why?


Jim: White hasn't pitched well recently. He entered the year as the No. 2 pitcher behind Strasburg for some clubs, but now I think he probably won't go in the first 10 picks. A lot of teams are backing off of Green. Even if he'd sign for slot, he might last until the middle of the first round. Baylor righthander Kendal Volz had a chance to go in the top 10 but his stock has been dropping steadlily and he might be more of a third-rounder now.


Rich: Are there any debates as to where two-way players are best suited?


Jim: The biggest debate would be over Plant HS (Tampa) shortstop/righthander Mychal Givens. He's very raw but very talented at both positions, and I think it's a 50-50 split on which way he should go.


Rich: The Arizona Diamondbacks have back-to-back picks at 16 and 17. Do you see them taking one hitter and one pitcher or doubling up? Either way, will money get in the way of how the club approaches these selections?


Jim: I don't think they'll do anything beyond take the two best players, even if they're both hitters or both pitchers. They pick again at 35, 41 and 45, so if they double up they could always shoot for balance later. Ideally, I think they'd take a high school bat and a college pitcher. That is a lot of picks to pay, and it remains to be seen if they'll take some money-savers early in the draft.


Rich: After not having a first-round pick in three of the last four drafts, the Angels own the 24th and 25th spots this June, as well as three sandwich selections (40, 42, and 48). How do you see owner Arte Moreno, GM Tony Reagins, scouting director Eddie Bane & Co. handling this year's haul?


Jim: The Angels aren't afraid to spend and their farm system is flagging a bit, so I'd expect them to pay full freight for all five picks. They love athletes and projectable pitchers, and they love to focus on players in Southern California.


Rich: With the 2nd, 27th, and 33rd picks, Seattle is also in a good position this year. How do you see the new regime approaching these choices?


Jim: When he was running drafts in Milwaukee, Jack Zduriencik took the best player available, not caring if it was college vs. high school, pitcher vs. hitter, or what the general consensus on a guy was. The system isn't loaded with arms, so they might lean a little more toward some college pitching after grabbing Ackley at No. 2.


Rich: OK, let's finish with a big surprise. It could be anything. Let 'er rip.


Jim: Hmmm . . . I guess something that has jumped out at me recently is how a lot of the expected best college pitching duos (Baylor's Volz and Shawn Tolleson, Oklahoma State's Oliver and Tyler Lyons, Stanford's Jeff Inman and Drew Storen and Kent State's Brad Stillings and Kyle Smith) have mostly fizzled, with the exception of Storen. Now the two best come from unlikely sources: Kennesaw State's Chad Jenkins and Kyle Heckathorn, and Indiana's Arnett and Matt Bashore. Jenkins and Heckathorn could both go in the first round, as should Arnett (who would be the Hoosiers' first first-rounder since 1966), and Bashore may sneak into the sandwich round.


Rich: Excellent. Thank you, Jim, for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to share your expertise on this year's draft with us.


Jim: No problem. Love your website, and always glad to help.





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Mayo's latest mock has Brothers jumping up to 11 and the Tribe taking Eric Arnett, RHP from Indiana University:


15. Cleveland Indians: Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana University

Without one of the better high school arms making it down here, it's looking like the college-pitcher angle will play well here. The Indians were at Arnett's regional start en force and they liked how the big right-hander competed. He's a good athlete with great makeup who will sign quickly, something that works in his favor.

Last week's projection: Brothers





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Great thread Bean, seems like every year I tell myself I'll follow college baseball more and read up on the high schoolers and be pumped for the draft, but it never happens. It's always good reading on the dozens of guys your team picks up though.


Just checked out Keith Law, who's on the same page on Arnett.


15. Cleveland Indians


Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana: Leake is their main target, and there's a dirty rumor around that they've considered taking ASU center fielder Jason Kipnis and converting him to second base.


Summary: Arnett, a former basketball player, emerged as a prospect this spring by showing improved velocity and a much better breaking ball than he had in the past. It can take him a while to get going, but he will sit 90-94 mph and hit 96 several times over an outing of 100-plus pitches. The pitch plays up because his long arms give him the ability to release the ball later than most pitchers can. His slider is sharp with a somewhat early break out of his hand at 81-83 mph, and his straight change in the low-80s has some promise, although he lacks feel for it and doesn't use it often. He also throws a curveball, but the slider is more advanced. He has a drop-and-drive delivery and a surprisingly short arm action for a guy his height. His front foot lands crooked, slightly toward the third-base dugout instead of straight at the plate, which can affect command. Arnett's main red flag, aside from the lack of a track record, is his very high workload, with six starts in which he exceeded 120 pitches. He's a good athlete with the raw stuff to be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, although inexperience probably makes his ceiling more that of a mid-rotation guy.



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seems like every year I tell myself I'll follow college baseball more and read up on the high schoolers and be pumped for the draft, but it never happens.


I'm the same way! I really got into college baseball when I first moved to Florida (fell head over heels for LaPorta and a few others) and then just forgot about it. Now I'm scrambling to catch some of these guys during the super regionals and conference tourneys, like that will mean anything.


Thanks for the link to Law, he and BA are the two bibles when it comes to this stuff, IMO.



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Law's final mock still has us taking Arnett. I like it. A big righthander (6-5, 225), somewhat polished in that he's at least had some college coaching, and the raw stuff with a fastball touching 96 to be a top 2 starter. We certainly don't need another crafty lefty in the minors.


mlb.com says Arnett too, but that we might gamble on Tanner Scheppers, (6-4, 200) who's said to be the second best starter behind Strasburg, but a shoulder injury last year makes him a risk.

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BTW, if you've got your full dork-on (hand high in the air!), Baseball Analysts will be live-blogging this bit of goodness for the third year in a row:




Here's their early template on the Tribe:


15. Cleveland Indians

AL Central | 24-34 | Fifth Place

General Manager: Mark Shapiro

Scouting Director: Brad Grant

2008 1st Round: Lonnie Chisenhall, IF, North Carolina CC

2007 1st Round: Beau Mills, 1B, Lewis-Clark State

2006 1st Round: David Huff, LHP, UCLA (supplemental 1st)


FanGraphs' Top 5 Prospects:

1. Carlos Santana, C, Double-A

2. Matt LaPorta, 1B, Triple-A

3. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, High-A

4. Beau Mills, 1B, Double-A

5. Nick Weglarz, OF, Double-A


Organizational Needs: Center field, Right field, Left-handed pitching, Right-handed pitching



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For the hell of it, Callis and Manuel had their back-and-forth mock yesterday and number 15 landed on Callis and he passed on Arnett and instead chose Tanner Scheppers, the former Fresno St. ace who played in the Independent Leagues this year. Regardless if we draft him or not, he's going to be someone to watch after getting a clean bill of health from Doc Yocum. He went 8-2, 2.39 with 109 ks and 34 walks in 2008:


15. INDIANS (Jim). The Indians want an experienced pitcher and there's a guy sitting right here who may have the second-best stuff in the draft after Strasburg. We're not privy to the medical reports on St. Paul Saints (American Association) righthander Tanner Scheppers, but if they're clean, this is the point where his value clearly begins to outweigh any nagging doubts about his shoulder. I couldn't take Scheppers at No. 9, but I can take him here.





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As Bud strides to the podium, here's Schilling's thoughts on the day he was drafted:


The day I became a pro baseball player 06.09.09 at 11:51 am ET

By Curt Schilling


Draft Day, 1986 (AKA the last January Draft ever). So there I am, sitting in the hallway of the men’s dorm at Yavapai Junior College. Why you might ask? Because the draft has started, and I have heard I’m potentially getting drafted.


Patience is not a virtue to me. Hell, it’s not something I’m even remotely familiar with.


I sat by the phone all morning long, into the afternoon. I waited, waited, and waited some more. I had known all winter I was on ‘the list’, but I had no idea who’s list, and where.


My roommate (and eventual JC Player of the Year Brian Deak) was a sure-fire pick, and a high one at that. I skipped classes (a not all too uncommon occurrence for me back then considering I knew if I was drafted in the 400th round I was signing) on draft day, sat by the phone and waited.


Worst part is I can’t even remember the phone call. I know it came in the afternoon sometime, and it was the Red Sox. Red Sox??? Damn, I was hoping like hell my favorite team (the Pirates) had drafted me.


Ray Boone, the scout who recommended me, called me, I think. I am not sure I can remember or explain the feeling, but I know it was a good one. The Sox had taken me in the second round. This was the same

winter draft Jeff Shaw went first, and Moises Alou was drafted. We went on to have a storybook season, getting all the way to the JC World Series in Grand Junction Colorado. It was one of my favorite teams and years of all time.


Deak was JC Player of the year, hitting 40 HR and driving in like 200 runs. We had Brad Hebbets at first, Tim Stanley (funniest man ever and a future Montreal Expo) at second, Pat Swift at SS (was the guy on 2nd when Deak hit the walk off HR to win the regional tourney!) Paul Wegner, Albert Mendibles at third (gold glover), Danny Diaz, Kelly Clairmont, Bradi Brogni (still a close friend and one of the most talented players I ever

played with. Also the longest home run off me and has the biggest nose ever…) and one of my best friends ever, Ty Van Dyke. Ty was the guy who went to Iraq last year with me. In 23 years of pro ball I still talk to fewer teammates than I do from the JC team. It was that fun.


Paul Wilhemlsmen, tallest LHP ever (including RJ!) Gary Weems, Danny Rodriguez (who had the plaque) and some other incredibly talented guys. We were coached by “Coach Kemp” — great guy and someone who didn’t think I was as funny as I thought I was — and managed by one of my all time favorite people, Dave Dangler. A man who came along at a huge time in my life and inserted just enough discipline to keep me out of jail for that one year away from home. He basically told me that winter that I was “pitching for dollars” and it was no longer just a game. He was right. I’ll be forever thankful of his mentoring me at a time when I needed it.


So we had this great year, went to the World Series, and lost to Brevard in the semi-finals in a rip off… a sham! Then lost to eventual winners San Jacinto.


I’d love to tell you this long drawn out story about negotiations, but it didn’t happen. Baseball was all I knew, and all I wanted. I signed less than an hour after the game ended. I vaguely remember Mr. Boone

calling me and letting me know they were going to offer me 15K to sign, and I came back and said I wanted 25K, and he said “Good luck in college next year.


That was the extent of the negotiations.


I signed right then, right there. We bussed home to Prescott the next day. Deaker and I drove home

to Phoenix that night (and ran out of gas about an hour from home) in the “new” Jeep CJ7. I bought it from Ty, and it was a heap, but it looked cool!


The next day I was packed, and on a plane to the lovely city of Elmira, New York, and my career began about two weeks later in my first professional start of my career, against the St. Catherine’s Blue Jays.


Not really all that glamorous, but man it was to me.





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Just looked at Crow's profile....I never would've thought the Fort Worth Cats would have a top 5 prospect, I'm pretty upset I never went to see him play.



This mlb.com coverage is looking pretty good for me too, I must say 4 minutes per pick is glorious after all the years watching the NFL draft.

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Lederer on Turner:


Turner may be the top prep righthander in the draft. No one doubts his size, arm strength, or projectability. Represented by the Scott Boras Corporation, some teams may shy away from the alleged bonus demands that seek to match the record $7 million for a high school pitcher garnered by Josh Beckett in 1999 and Rick Porcello in 2007. I watched Turner on TV in the AFLAC Classic at Dodger Stadium last summer. He started the game, pitched two innings, allowed just one hit, one walk, and no runs while striking out five consecutive batters. Although his fastball was mostly 91-92 and touched 93 that day, it has reportedly topped out at 98 this spring. He also throws a curveball and changeup. Baseball America ranks his fastball as the second-best among all high schoolers. He has signed a letter of intent to North Carolina.





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Alex White:





Made the jump to a front-line starter as a sophomore • Earned second-team ABCA All-America honors and was selected a third-team All-America by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball • Also claimed first-team ABCA All-Atlantic Regional and first-team All-ACC honors • Became the second Tar Heel in the last three years to earn ACC Pitcher of the Year honors • Claimed the S.H. Basnight Award as Carolina's most valuable position pitcher • Doubled his win total and dropped his ERA by more than two runs from 2007 to 2008 • Pitched in 20 games, making 15 starts • Finished the season with a 13-3 record and a 2.83 ERA in a team-high 101 2/3 innings • Struck out 113 batters and walked just 42 for a 2.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio • Held the opposition to .215 average • Ranked among the ACC's top five in wins (first), opponent batting average (second), strikeouts (third), innings (third) and ERA (fourth) • Tied for second in UNC history with 13 wins and fifth with 113 strikeouts • Struck out at least six batters in 14 of 15 starts • Went 6-3 in ACC action with a 3.71 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings • Made six NCAA Tournament appearances, posting a 5-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in 29 1/3 innings • Tied an NCAA record with three wins in a single College World Series • Struck out 12 and posted a 3.38 ERA in 13 1/3 innings in Omaha • Opened an outstanding postseason run with first career complete game against UNC Wilmington May 31 • Held the Seahawks to one run on three hits and struck out eight to earn ninth win • Followed with victories against No. 9 Coastal Carolina and No. 2 LSU, lasting seven innings and allowing three runs in each start • Pitched in relief in three straight CWS games, beating LSU again June 19 and No. 8 Fresno State June 21 • Worked two scoreless innings against the Tigers and followed with five strikeouts in 2 2/3 hitless frames versus the Bulldogs to earn victory No. 13 • Matched a career best with 11 strikeouts on two occasions • Fanned 11 and allowed just three hits and one earned run against Virginia in the ACC Tournament May 21 • Struck out 11 in just 5 2/3 innings to earn a win against NC State March 28 • Bested No. 14 Georgia Tech with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings April 4 • Followed with 5 2/3 scoreless in a win at Clemson April 11 • Struck out six in 6 2/3 in a win over Boston College April 18 • Won at Virginia with eight Ks over six innings • Also posted victories over Florida Atlantic, Kent State and Virginia Tech.



Pitched in 19 games and made 18 starts as the Tar Heels' Saturday starter for much of the season • Earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com • Finished second on the team and sixth in the ACC with 83 strikeouts and 98 1/3 innings pitched • Posted a 6-7 record with a 4.94 ERA on the year • Struck out 29 batters looking to rank second in the ACC and was fifth with six pickoffs • In league play, went 3-4 with a 4.63 ERA over 10 starts and fanned 59 in 56 1/3 innings • Entered the NCAA Tournament with a 6-4 record and a 3.35 ERA but allowed 23 of his 54 earned runs over four postseason starts and suffered three losses • Finest start of the season came against No. 5 Virginia in the ACC Tournament when he held the Cavaliers to two hits and struck out five over seven shutout innings • Earned a spot on the ACC's All-Tournament Team for his efforts • Fanned a career-best 11 batters over 6 2/3 innings at NC State April 21 • Struck out 10 over seven innings in a win at Boston College in game two of a doubleheader April 7 • Beat No. 11 Miami with six strikeouts and no earned runs over a career-best 7 2/3 innings March 10 • Won at Maryland in game one of a doubleheader May 19 with seven strikeouts and just three runs allowed over seven innings • Pitched the ninth inning in a 5-1 win at East Carolina and struck out two in front of his hometown crowd May 9 • Won his first career start with six shutout innings against Seton Hall Feb. 17 and went 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his first six starts of the season • Also defeated Stony Brook and Miami over this stretch • Started four games in the NCAA Tournament, including a pair in the College World Series. Summer 2007: Pitched for the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod League • Named the league's No. 14 prospect by Baseball America • Went 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 25 2/3 innings over seven appearances • Made three starts and threw one complete game • Struck out 31 and walked just eight.



Played four years as a pitcher/shortstop at D.H. Conley High School for coach Jason Mills • Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft • Earned third-team high school All-America honors from Baseball America • First-team TPX All-America selection • 2006 North Carolina Player of the Year • Led Conley to the 2006 state 3A title and earned MVP honors in the state tournament • Also helped team to 2005 state 4A crown • Also played four years of basketball as a point guard • Active in FCA and SASI • Played with American Legion Post 39 in the summer.



Alex Bruce White is the son of Bruce and Catherine White • Born Aug. 29, 1988, in Greenville, N.C. • Has two older brothers • Majoring in sports administration at Carolina • Brother Travis played at North Carolina Wesleyan and played one year of pro ball • Lists favorite movie as "Bull Durham" and favorite book as "The Great Gatsby" • Favorite professional teams are the Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers • Modeled his game after Greg Maddux.





2007.... 4.94 6-7 19 18 0 0/1 0 98.1 100 63 54 48 83 25 2 5 434 .277 6 7 5 13 2

2008.... 2.83 13-3 20 15 1 0/0 0 101.2 78 43 32 42 113 15 0 6 420 .215 6 5 4 6 3

TOTAL... 3.87 19-10 39 33 1 0/1 0 200.0 178 106 86 90 196 40 2 11 854 .246 12 12 9 19 5


CAREER HIGHS: Innings: 9.0 vs. UNC Wilmington (5/31/08) Strikeouts: 11 at NC State (4/28/07), vs. NC State (3/28/07), vs. Virginia (5/21/08) Hits: 10 vs. Boston College (4/18/08) Walks: 6 vs. Miami (3/10/07), vs. Wake Forest (3/31/07) Runs: 8 at Duke (3/8/08, G1) Earned Runs: 7 vs. East Carolina (6/2/07)

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MLB.com had him going top ten:


7. Atlanta Braves: Alex White, RHP, University of North Carolina

The Braves are more than likely to go with the "best arm available." They'd love it if hometown hero Wheeler or California standout Matzek were around, but in this scenario both are off the board. It looks like Shelby Miller is off the list now and the Braves may go the college route. White has been pitching with a bit of a hamstring issue and assuming the Braves are assured he's fine otherwise, he could be their guy.





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from Law


Summary: White, one of the younger college pitchers in this class, sat 88-92 mph in a mid-May look against Boston College, although he more typically sits 91-93 and will run it up to 95, with good tailing life on the pitch. The biggest knock on White is that he throws a ton of off-speed pitches instead of pitching off his fastball, and that's going to be the first adjustment a player development department asks him to make. His slider can be plus at times; it's long and sharp and usually ends up out of the strike zone, so college hitters will chase it but pro hitters might not -- a problem that Andrew Miller, another UNC product, found when he got into pro ball. White also shows a splitter or split-change that has a chance to be plus. His delivery is funky and unclean, with a high elbow in back, a long path for his arm and more drift than drive toward the plate. He's an intelligent kid with some feel for pitching, and probably has a better-than-average chance to improve with instruction. He does have an outstanding track record, including a heroic showing in Omaha in 2008, but I see him as more of a mid-first-round talent than a top-of-draft guy.




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From Lederer:


Alex White, RHP, University of North Carolina


Height/Weight: 6-3, 200 | DOB: 8/29/1988


2009 Stats: 8-4 W-L | 4.13 ERA | 98.0 IP | 86 H | 109-41 K/BB


White's (relatively) pedestrian numbers in 2009 have him falling down some draft boards but with an excellent pitcher's frame, solid mechanics and a low-90s fastball with excellent sink, scouts still think this kid is a future front-of-the-rotation contributor. White touches 95. Fans will get a chance to see White compete in his third consecutive College World Series in the coming weeks. He's a junior, so that's three in three years for White. Not bad. (Posted by Patrick Sullivan)


Rich: Call me skeptical. A very good college pitcher. But I'm not sold on taking a pitcher who relies so heavily on a splitter for his success at this point in the draft. A high risk, high reward starter or perhaps a reliever if things don't quite work out as planned.





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Looks like the Tribe will use him as a back-end bullpen guy.


Big time fastball, good splitter and slider, and incredibly competitive. I would've liked a starter, but it's hard to argue against our bullpen needs.

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OF Jason Kipnis


UPDATE (10:02 PM EST): Jeff Ellis

For those who didn’t watch the draft, in the second round each pick was made by a dignitary from each team. The Indians dignitary was the great Jason Bere, I kid you you not. For this pick the Indians selected Jason Kipnis, who had been rumored as a possible first round pick for the tribe. Last year as a draft eligible sophomore he was a 4th rounder of the Padres, and made the wise decision to go back to school and go higher. He is a 6’0” OF, who rumor says the Indians might be moving to second base. He was ranked 60th by Keith Law and 61st by Baseball America, so was a solid value with pick number 63. Kipnis has good bat speed and generates some power. He led a very good ASU team in average, OBP, SLG, and stolen bases. He’s a patient hitter who has a bit of a line drive swing. He projects to be an average MLB player in every category except plate discipline and defense. His plate discipline is his only plus skill. The issue with his defense is he doesn’t have the range for centerfield, and might not hit enough for a corner OF. This has lead to the talk that he might end up at 2B where his bat would profile a lot better with the position. He played second base in high school, which is why teams think he could move back. One red flag is he was kicked off Kentucky after his freshman year, so there have been make up concerns. Reading reports of him reminded me a lot of the reports I read on Federoff this time last year.




RHP Joe Gardner


UPDATE (10:51 PM EST): Jeff Ellis

Joe Gardner is a big pitcher from UC Santa Barbara. He is 6’5”, and extremely raw. Last year as a draft eligible player coming out of Ohlone junior college, he went completely undrafted. He was rated 84th by Keith Law and 161st by BA so the opinions on him vary on if he was worth the 94 pick. His delivery is ¾ quarters delivery. Some scouts think he could be a middle of the rotation starter others think he’s a pen guy. He has a fastball, change, and slider. His fastball is typically 91-93, but has a nasty heavy sink to it. It projects as a plus pitch. His change up is in the 78-82, with a decent fade but projects out to be average. His slider I have seen reported as below average and also a plus pitch. I also got conflicting reports on the speed of his pitch. Gardner is not the most athletic and is very raw compared to the typical college pitcher. There is the hope he could add some MPH to his pitching once his mechanics get fixed. His main issue is that he some times slips from the ¾ slot into more of a sidearm this causes the ball to raise in the zone and get hit. When he stays in the ¾ he has the ability to really throw strikes. We all know how much the Indians love pitchers who induce ground balls and this guy seems to have the ability to do that. I for one like the pick and with good coaching this pick should help improve pitching depth.

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Just catching up on who else we drafted. MLB.com has a pretty cool draft tracker with videos and scouting reports of a lot of these guys - including this video of Preston Guilmet who was our 9th pick of this draft. Way funky delivery!




Here's a link to all of our picks so far:





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