CLEVELAND -- After the Indians made their sixth and final selection of the 2020 MLB Draft on Thursday night MLB Network analyst and former Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd was straightforward in his description of the club’s draft: “Without a doubt, they won Night 2.”
The Indians felt the same way.
Cleveland took a high school shortstop, Carson Tucker, with their first pick on Wednesday and also selected Tanner Burns, a right-handed starter out of Auburn University. The club returned Thursday and drafted two more collegiate hurlers, another high school shortstop and an outfielder in the Draft, shortened to five rounds because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Indians ‘couldn’t be happier’ with SS Tucker
“Every time we get to this point in the year, it is an incredible feeling,” Indians amateur scouting director Scott Barnsby said. “… I can’t say enough about the work of not just all the scouts, but our player development staff. And with the unique situation, we had so many people involved this year. We felt like we were organized and prepared all the way through, and that’s what mattered. And we’re really excited about the guys we [drafted].”
Let’s take a look at each of the four prospects the Indians drafted Thursday night:
Round 2, No. 56th overall: Logan Allen, LHP, Florida International
The Indians have high hopes for lefty Logan Allen’s future in their starting rotation, so why not add another left-handed Logan Allen to the organization?
With the 56th overall pick, the Tribe selected 21-year-old southpaw Logan Allen from Florida International University.
“I’ve been getting his baseball cards since he played for Team USA,” said the elder Allen, who is on the Indians’ 40-man roster. “Just glad I’ve got a couple inches on him.”
Allen was first drafted in 2017 out of high school in the 16th round by the Orioles but decided to attend Florida International instead. Unlike the Allen who joined the Tribe at the Trade Deadline last year, the newly drafted Allen was a two-way player during college. He is expected to just stick to pitching as a professional.
“It was good for college, but at the next level, he’s a pitcher only,” MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo said on MLB Network. “I think what it does show is that he has some athleticism and that does help him on the mound.”
According to MLB Pipeline, the left-hander sits right around 90 mph with his fastball but can hit 93 mph at times. His changeup is known to be his best pitch that’s effective against both righties and lefties. His pinpoint control was said to be among the best in this year’s Draft class, and he has shown the ability to keep hitters off-balance.
• Draft Tracker: Live pick-by-pick coverage
“He's a strike thrower,” Florida International head coach Mervyl Melendez said. “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.”
Melendez’s son has played with Allen since the two were 5 years old, allowing Melendez to have a front-row seat in watching Allen grow and develop.
“One of the things that is that I've told many people is that he has been a really good player for a very long time,” Melendez said. “I saw him being a first- or second-rounder, because that's just never the goal when you're watch a player that is, you know, 6-10 years old develop. It's just he was always talented. He could always pitch. He could always throw strikes. He could always command the zone. So he had a really advanced approach, and you can see what he's done in his in his prep career and that I think he's going to carry that over to the professional ranks.”
Round 3, No. 95 overall: Petey Halpin, OF, Mira Costa High School (Calif.)
It's easy to root for an underdog, and while Pete Crow-Armstrong -- who was drafted in the first round by the Mets -- was the California outfielder who received a lot of attention heading into the Draft, MLB.com analyst Jonathan Mayo said Petey Halpin may not have received the hype he deserved.
“I think he’s really underrated,” Mayo said. “Everyone talks about Pete Crow-Armstrong, and he’s a great player and belonged in the first round, but there’s some scouts who don’t think that Halpin is really that far behind Crow-Armstrong in terms of ability.”
Halpin had a chance to play at Progressive Field last summer during the High School MLB All-Star Game in July. His scouting report rates his hit tool over power, but he has shown he has the ability to drive the ball and was launching balls out of Angel Stadium last fall. His best tools are his arm strength and speed.
• Draft Central
“Petey’s got the speed, the athleticism and certainly the instincts and plenty of arm strength to stay in center field,” Barnsby said. “Offensively, it’s just an advanced feel for the barrel. He continues to develop physically, so we feel there’s going to be some power there down the road. He’s an extreme competitor, plays with energy. He’s really just fearless on the field -- another guy that we’re really excited to add.”
Halpin is committed to the University of Texas and will carry his fun-loving personality to whichever team he decides to pursue.
“[Baseball is] the place where I have the most fun,” Halpin said. “I can hang out with my friends and not have any worries about anything else. I will be smiling the entire game. I like to play controlled, but at the same time, quick, moving around fast and causing havoc.”
Round 4, No. 124 overall: Milan Tolentino, SS, Santa Margarita Catholic High School (Calif.)
Before the Draft, Milan Tolentino was interviewed by the MLB Network crew and was asked which big leaguer he looked up to the most. His answer? None other than Indians starting shortstop Francisco Lindor.
“[I look up to him] because of the way he has fun, the way he knows the game,” Tolentino said. “I like his laid-backness, while staying serious. It's a good model."
Tolentino is the son of former big leaguer and current Angels Spanish radio broadcaster José Tolentino. He has a swing that has been compared to Johnny Damon’s and is a tough out with an opposite-field approach. He was the starting shortstop for Team USA last year and hit .286 with a .733 OPS and four RBIs in nine games.
“Really just an impressive all-around player,” Barnsby said. “He’s got instincts. He’s got well above-average feel for the game. It’s a left-handed bat. Really consistent approach at the plate. Not only is he able to recognize pitches, but he’s got a really impressive ability to put the bat on the ball. Uses the whole field. Starting to show some more power.”
The experts at MLB Pipeline expect Tolentino’s offensive numbers to define what kind of overall prospect he will become because they have very little doubt in his ability at shortstop. Regarded as one of the most natural defenders in this year’s draft class, Tolentino’s scouting report on MLB Pipeline lists his 60-grade fielding ability and 60-grade arm strength.
“Defensively, just really fundamentally sound,” Barnsby said. “Sure-handed defender. Just an outstanding internal clock. A lot of fun to watch him out on the field.”
Round 5, No. 154 overall: Mason Hickman, RHP, Vanderbilt
The 6-foot-6 right-hander may not have been the biggest standout among Vanderbilt’s loaded pitching staff, but Mason Hickman consistently put his 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 because of his command.
“Above average feel for the mound,” Barnsby said. “… 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.”
As a sophomore in 2019, Hickman struck out nine or more batters in five of his final six starts, and he fanned 10 in Vanderbilt’s College World Series-clinching win last June. Before the coronavirus pandemic ended his junior season, he was 2-0 with a 0.48 ERA in three starts, posting a 26 strikeouts and only three walks.
“Mason has turned into one of the most dependable and reliable starting pitchers that we have had in our program,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin wrote on Hickman’s player page. “He continues to develop and get better as his craft while taking on a leadership role on our pitching staff. He is a quality young man that excels in the classroom as well. Very competitive in everything that he does.”
Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.