Indians lock up 2nd-round pick Hillman, six others
Left-hander selected 59th overall by Cleveland
CLEVELAND -- Not long before the Indians officially selected left-hander Juan Hillman in the second round of the Draft, the young pitcher received a call from the ballclub. Cleveland had a couple questions for Hillman.
"They asked, 'Are you ready to get started and are you ready to help this team get a World Series?'" Hillman said last week. "I was like, 'Yes sir. I'm all for it.'"
On Thursday, the Indians announced that they had officially signed Hillman, along with six other Draft picks from within the first 10 rounds. MLB.com confirmed that the 18-year-old Hillman, who had committed to University of Central Florida, signed for an $825,000 bonus.
Other signees on Thursday included second baseman Mark Mathias (third round), shortstop Tyler Krieger (fourth round), outfielder Ka'Ai Tom (fifth round), right-hander Jonas Wyatt (sixth round) and righty Nathan Lukes (seventh round). Financial details of their respective deals were not immediately disclosed.
Cleveland's top two Draft picks, lefty Brady Aiken (17th overall in the first round) and righty Triston McKenzie (42nd overall in the Competive Balance A round), remained unsigned. The signing deadline is 5 p.m. ET on July 17.
Former Major League pitcher Tom Gordon is the legal guardian of Hillman, who excelled at Olympia High School in the Orlando, Fla., area. During his senior year, Hillman went a perfect 10-0 with a 1.44 ERA, piling up 80 strikeouts against 12 walks in 62 innings. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Hillman said he prides himself on pounding the strike zone.
"I'm very aggressive. I love throwing strikes," Hillman said. "I model my game after Clayton Kershaw. He attacks the strike zone, goes after hitters and makes hitters hit his pitch instead of leaving it up, down the middle or around the plate. For them to hit it, he makes a hitter chase pitches and swing at his pitches in the dirt and stuff like that. I model my game after him."