Cleveland proud of its performance in 2013 Draft
Indians hit their target with very first selection, position player Frazier
CLEVELAND -- Brad Grant was exhausted by the proceedings of the First-Year Player Draft, and relieved when the third day finally came to a close. But most of all, the Indians' director of amateur scouting was enthusiastic about the organization's fresh crop of prospects.
Beginning with the selection of Clint Frazier on Thursday, through each of the draftees nabbed on Saturday, Cleveland put together a Draft performance it's proud of.
"Overall, I was excited with how it turned out," Grant said after Day 3. "To get Clint Frazier ... He was, like I said before, one of the targeted guys. Then, to mix in the amount of pitching that we were able to mix in, it was a really good combination of starters and relievers. I was excited with how it turned out. From 11 to 40 today, we took some upside guys, some upside high school position players with some plus tools, and then mixed in some more pitching later on. So we're very pleased with how it turned out in the end."
With the fifth overall pick, Cleveland selected Frazier, a five-tool position player out of Loganville (Ga.) High School. Then, on Day 2, Cleveland spent seven of its next eight picks on pitchers, including Louisville righty Dace Kime and Virginia southpaw Kyle Crockett, both of whom are competing for a College World Series championship.
Kime has starter potential and a fastball that reaches 94 mph, in addition to a breaking ball, changeup and cutter. He attended Defiance (Ohio) High School, which is only about 2 1/2 hours from Cleveland.
"We see his upside as a starter," Grant said. "I think as we start to stretch him out, he's got a chance to be a pretty good rotation guy for us."
On Saturday, the Draft's final day, the Indians selected 17 pitchers -- 14 righties and three lefties -- along with seven infielders, three outfielders and three catchers. In all, Cleveland walked away with 17 right-handers, seven left-handers, eight infielders, four outfielders and three catchers. Up and down the board, they went with a good mix in terms of experience, taking 18 college players, nine junior-college players and 12 high schoolers.
Grant has said repeatedly that the club makes its selections based upon the strengths of what's available rather than any perceived weaknesses throughout the organization. With thorough research and preparation, his crew of scouts and other talent evaluators did a commendable job of ranking the prospects, at least in his eyes.
"We really don't draft toward organizational need," he said. "We were pleased with being able to add as much pitching as we did. It wasn't that we necessarily walked into it with the mind-set of, 'We're going to try to add pitching.' Like I talked about yesterday, you look at some of the other clubs, and their first nine picks were pitchers, as well. I think it just ended up being the strength of the Draft and something that we were able to add a lot of."
In the 11th round, the Indians selected right-hander Adam Plutko, who's been the staff ace at UCLA two years in a row. Prior to that, Plutko pitched in the same rotation as club prospect Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick from two years ago who will make his Major League debut with the Pirates on Tuesday.
Some of Cleveland's other notable picks from Day 3 include Sicnarf Loopstok, a catcher from Aruba who speaks five languages, and Silento Sayles, who stole a national-record 103 bases during his senior season at Port Gibson (Miss.) High School.
Sayles is a few inches shorter than center fielder Michael Bourn, but the two weigh about the same, and both know how to use their legs to affect a baseball game.
"Well, well above average runner," Grant said. "Probably an 8 runner on our 2-to-8 scale. A guy who can really run, but has a feel, too, with the bat. [He can] get on base and steal bases."
Another Day 3 draftee worth mentioning is Daniel Cogan, a 26th-round pick. The high school hurler is the son of Paul Cogan, the organization's West Coast crosschecker.
For Grant, the 2013 First-Year Player Draft didn't offer many surprises, particularly after Houston took Stanford righty Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick.
"It turned out kind of as we expected up top with the first four picks," he said. "Once [the Astros] made their pick, then we kind of knew what was going to happen with Chicago and with Colorado, and we knew Frazier was likely to get to us," he said. "In the end, Clint was the guy that we wanted. Clint was the guy we took."
As if the three-day Draft didn't carry enough stress for Grant and his crew, his team underwent 12-hour meetings on each of the 10 days that preceded it. But when it came time to make the picks, they were good to go.
"Once we got into the Draft itself," Grant said, "we were ready to make those decisions."
In the Pipeline
Between Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes and the rehabbing Lou Marson, the Indians seem to be pretty comfortable at catcher, but that didn't prevent them from selecting three backstops.
On Day 3, they picked Loopstok at No. 381, Shane Rowland at No. 591 and Juan Gonzalez at No. 801. Loopstok played at Western Oklahoma State College and Rowland caught at the University of Tampa, while Gonzalez was taken out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School.
Of Cleveland's top 20 prospects, only two are listed as catchers: No. 11 Alex Monsalve and No. 20 Chun Chen. Chen, who's batting .243 in 19 games with Triple-A Columbus, has appeared at first base and designated hitter his year. He last squatted behind the dish in 2012, when he caught eight games for Double-A Akron.
The Clippers have four catchers on their roster, and Chen isn't one of them. In addition to Marson, there's Matthew Colantonio, Omir Santos and Chris Wallace.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.