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Tribe signs 1st-rounder Tucker, 2 more picks

2nd-rounder Allen, 5th-rounder Hickman also reach deals
@MandyBell02
June 26, 2020

CLEVELAND -- The Indians had an eventful evening Friday, signing half of their 2020 MLB Draft picks, including first-rounder Carson Tucker. Tucker, who was the 23rd overall pick, signed for $2 million, according to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, which is less than his $2.93 million slot value for the pick.

CLEVELAND -- The Indians had an eventful evening Friday, signing half of their 2020 MLB Draft picks, including first-rounder Carson Tucker.

Tucker, who was the 23rd overall pick, signed for $2 million, according to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis, which is less than his $2.93 million slot value for the pick. The club also inked second-round pick Logan Allen and fifth-rounder Mason Hickman, both pitchers.

Tucker

The 18-year-old out of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix is an athletic shortstop who has plenty of arm strength and is an above-average runner and hitter. In four years in high school, Tucker slashed .390/.455/.574 with 68 RBIs, 20 doubles, nine triples and five home runs in 92 games, according to MaxPreps, and he batted .364 (4-for-11) with a double, two homers and five RBIs in three games before his 2020 senior season was canceled.

Tribe 'couldn't be happier' with SS Tucker

“We have a history with Carson with his brother from a few years ago,” Indians amateur scouting director Scott Barnsby said. “Ryan Perry, our scout in Arizona, did an outstanding job developing a relationship with him and really building that from the ground up. John Heuerman, one of our other scouts in Arizona, also has a great relationship with the family. Honestly, I think that played a big role. As we got to the moment, we felt really comfortable with Carson on the field as well as off the field, so that was really important for us.”

Tucker is the younger brother of Pirates’ shortstop, Cole Tucker, who was drafted No. 24 overall (one pick behind his younger brother) in 2014. On the night Tucker was drafted, his older brother dug up a tweet he posted just days before Tucker turned 11 years old in 2013, predicting that he would one day get selected in the first round of the Draft.

“Older brother, Cole was a first-round pick for the Pirates in 2014,” Barnsby said. “Then dad played professional baseball. His mom ran track and field and played volleyball in college. Carson certainly picked up some of the athleticism.”

Tribe eager to see how '20 Draft class pans out

With that fantasy now a reality, the Indians add another talented shortstop to their farm system. According to MLB Pipeline, five of their Top 30 prospects are shortstops and one is a second baseman.

“As far as the group of shortstops that we have, I think we’re excited about every one of those players and opportunity for these guys is important,” Barnsby said. “We feel like we have that available for every one of the ones that are in the system.”

Allen

The Indians officially have two left-handed pitchers named Logan Allen in their system. The newly signed Allen was taken No. 56 overall out of Florida International University. He was first drafted in 2017 out of high school in the 16th round by the Orioles, but he instead decided to attend FIU. Allen was a two-way player in college, but he’s expected to exclusively pitch as a professional.

The southpaw sits around 90 mph with his fastball but can hit 93 mph. His changeup is known to be his best pitch, effective against both righties and lefties. His pinpoint control was said to be among the best in this year’s Draft class, and he's shown the ability to keep hitters off-balance.

“He's a strike thrower,” said Florida International head coach Mervyl Melendez. “Logan can command both sides of the plate. His plus pitch is a changeup, as we all know, but his poise, his maturity, he's a great clubhouse guy. He does so many things well, but he is a true professional who played in college for the last three years. I think the transition into professional baseball is going to be very, very easy for him. And I expect Logan to be a quick riser to the big leagues.”

Hickman

Hickman was taken with the No. 154 overall pick out of Vanderbilt. He may not have been the biggest standout among the Commodores' loaded pitching staff, but he consistently put the team in a position to win, boasting a 19-2 record with a 3.13 ERA in three college seasons (29 starts, 189 2/3 innings). His best pitch is his curveball, and his fastball sits between 89-91 mph, but it misses bats due to his command.

As a sophomore in 2019, Hickman struck out nine or more batters in five of his final six starts and fanned 10 in Vanderbilt’s College World Series-clinching win last June. Before the COVID-19 pandemic ended his junior season, Hickman was 2-0 with a 0.48 ERA in three starts, posting a 26-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

“Above average feel for the mound,” Barnsby said. “This guy is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. He can really pitch with his fastball. Above-average feel for the curveball. It’s an effective slider. Feel for the changeup, and similar to Logan Allen, he absolutely pounds the strike zone.”

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.