The Indians surprised many when they didn't select a pitcher in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft Monday night. The organization stuck to it's philosophy of taking the best available player.
On Tuesday, though, the Indians addressed their pitching needs. They took seven right-handed pitchers on Day 2 of the Draft, including high school prospects Mitch Brown and Kieran Lovegrove in the second and third rounds, respectively. The Indians' farm system took a hit when right-hander Austin Adams had major shoulder surgery in May.
"It wasn't something we specifically looked for," said Indians scouting director Brad Grant. "I think it was the strength of the Draft this year. There was a lot of high school right-handed pitching. We certainly wanted to add starting pitching to our organization, and at the same time, I think it was the strength of the Draft as well."
The Indians haven't often selected high school pitchers so early in the Draft since Grant took over as the team's scouting director in 2008. They took Trey Haley in the second round of '08 Draft, and he is currently pitching out of the bullpen for Class A Carolina. Cleveland used last year's second-round pick on Dillon Howard, who is pitching in extended spring camp in Arizona.
While it's a gamble to draft prep pitchers so high, Grant was sold on the players' potential.
"We felt like we were able to add some upside high school arms," Grant said. "We really are excited about the opportunity to draft some of those high upside right-handed starters that we took earlier."
Brown doesn't seem to be as much of a risk as Lovegrove. The Rochester, Minn., native was dominant on the mound this spring, posting a 6-1 record with a 0.65 ERA in seven starts for Rochester Century H.S. The 6-1, 195-pound Brown can throw his fastball up to 94 mph and has a solid cutter.
"He throws a lot of strikes," Grant said. "Very good delivery, really good arm action."
Lovegrove, a Mission Viejo, Calif., product, has been much more inconsistent throughout his career. He went 6-3 with a 1.58 ERA for Mission Viejo H.S. during his senior season, but needs to make some mechanical changes.
"He's got very good life to his fastball," Grant said. "It's a developing slider, but he has a chance for an average slider, a chance for an average changeup. He's a guy that we feel, as he adds strength, some velocity is going to come. He should be a durable starter that we can develop here over the next couple of years."
This is how the rest of Tuesday's selections went for the Tribe, as the Draft continued through Round 15.
Round 4, D'Vone McClure, CF, Jacksonville H.S. (Ark.): The athletic McClure, who has drawn comparisons to Detroit's Austin Jackson, hit .412 (35-for-85) with 12 doubles, 15 RBIs and 26 stolen bases during his senior season at Jacksonville. McClure has good bat speed, and scouts expect his power to come in the years to come.
McClure turned down a football scholarship and is committed to the University of Arkansas for baseball.
"He's got a really nice, natural approach to hit," Grant said. "It's a very smooth, easy, balanced swing. He's able to drive the ball to all fields, which you don't always see with a high school kid."
Round 5, Dylan Baker, RHP, Western Nevada College: The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Baker went 13-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 16 starts for Western this spring, and helped his team advance to the Junior College World Series. Baker, a Juneau, Alaska, native, was considered one of the top junior college players available in the Draft.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to get Dylan in the fifth round, for sure," Grant said. "Another guy with good life, a guy who's going to throw 96 [mph], another guy with two breaking balls, with both having a chance to be plus pitches for him down the road."
Round 6, Joe Wendle, 2B, West Chester University: Wendle was a Division II first-team All-America selection, and he helped lead his team to a Division II national title this season. The left-handed hitting Wendle posted a .399 average (79-for-198) with 19 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs and 59 RBIs in 56 games for West Chester University.
Round 7, Josh McAdams, OF, Calhoun H.S. (Ga.):: The 6-foot-4, 210-pound McAdams hit .447 with six home runs, nine doubles and three triples for Calhoun this season. He's committed to High Point University in North Carolina.
Round 8, Caleb Hamrick, RHP, Cedar Hill H.S. (Texas):: Hamrick, 18, went 7-4 with a 1.95 ERA in 71 innings of work for Cedar Hill in 2011. He's committed to play for Dallas Baptist University.
Round 9, Jacob Lee, RHP, Arkansas State: The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Lee went 9-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his senior season at Arkansas State. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year this season and is the school's career strikeout leader. Lee had 86 strikeouts in 2012.
Round 10, Josh Martin, RHP, Samford University: The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Martin was drafted in the 25th round in 2011 by the Pirates, but returned for his senior season at Samford. Martin was 12-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 17 starts this season, and went 6-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 2011. He is the Samford career leader in wins with 24.
Round 11, Logan Vick, OF, Baylor:: A first team All-Big 12 selection, Vick hit .344 with 25 doubles, two home runs and 39 RBIs for the Bears this season. The switch-hitter also stole 17 bases.
Round 12, Jeremy Lucas, C, Indiana State: Lucas played three years at Indiana State, and hit .350 with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 52 RBIs during his junior season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Lucas was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year this season.
Round 13, Tyler Booth, OF, Central Arizona College: The 6-0, 155-pound Booth adds another quick left-handed bat to the organization.
Round 14, Scott Peoples, RHP, Western Oklahoma State: Peoples was the seventh right-handed pitcher the Indians selected on Day 2. He's a tall, lanky right-hander at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds.
Round 15, Nelson Rodriguez, C, George Washington H.S. (N.Y.): Rodriguez, 17, was one of two catchers taken by the Indians on Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Rodriguez is built well for the position.