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Tribe scouting director thrilled with '18 Draft

Barnsby: 'I don't think we could have been any more prepared'
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Scott Barnsby has had plenty of experience inside the Indians' Draft room, and the first-year director of amateur scouting is optimistic his picks from the 2018 MLB Draft will plant the seeds for the Tribe's long-term success.

• Draft Tricker: Every Indians pick

CLEVELAND -- Scott Barnsby has had plenty of experience inside the Indians' Draft room, and the first-year director of amateur scouting is optimistic his picks from the 2018 MLB Draft will plant the seeds for the Tribe's long-term success.

• Draft Tricker: Every Indians pick

Barnsby, who's been with Cleveland's amateur scouting department since 2002, took over the position from Brad Grant -- now the Indians' vice president of baseball operations -- in December, and he has been looking forward for the opportunity ever since.

"The last 364 days we were joking around, saying, 'All right, 2019 starts tomorrow,'" Barnsby said, after the Draft concluded. "But we need to take a step back, sign these guys and get them out and play them.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"In all seriousness, I don't think we could have been any more prepared. It's a good feeling leaving the Draft room. I don't think we left anything on the table in terms of effort and everything we did to get there."

Unlike last season, when the Indians went without a first-round pick, the Tribe was given four picks, including a compensatory pick for Carlos Santana's departure to the Phillies in free agency, and a Competitive Balance Round A pick on Day 1 of the Draft.

With their top pick, the Indians selected catcher Noah Naylor (No. 29 overall, No. 27 in MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list) from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. The Tribe also selected right-handed prep school arms Ethan Hankins (No. 35/21) from Forsyth Central (Ga.) and Lenny Torres (No. 41/47) from Beacon High School (N.Y.), along with University of Southern Mississippi right-hander Nick Sandlin (No. 67/164) in the second round to finish Day 1.

Tribe selects Naylor at No. 29 to open Draft

Barnsby raved about the potential of Towson infielder Richard Palacios, Cleveland's third-round selection (No. 103/134) to kick off Day 2, which included rounds 2-10. Unlike pitching talent, which he said the organization likes to take its time to develop, promising position players may be able to rise through the ranks a bit faster.

SS Palacios headlines Day 2 of Indians' Draft

"He's a guy that can really control the strike zone," Barnsby said of Palacios. "He's got quick hands, he can hit and he's athletic enough with defensive versatility. He can run, he can steal bases, and he's one of the guys that has a lot of upside".

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft SS Richard Palacios No. 103

Cleveland's top three selections hailed from high school, yet Barnsby heavily favored college players as the Draft got deeper, and in total took 30 collegiate players compared to 12 high schoolers. Of the 22 pitchers drafted, 15 are right-handed.

In all, seven of the Tribe's Draft choices ranked inside MLB Pipeline's Top 200 ranking, including sixth-round infielder Raynel Delgado (No. 193/124) from Cavalry Christian Academy (Fla.) and 14th-round pick Korey Holland (No. 433/141), an outfielder from Langham Creek High School (Texas).

"I think there's something to taking some of the college guys a little later in the Draft," Barnsby said. "Certainly maturity helps. But it's also an opportunity. These are good players who have worked hard throughout their careers to get to where they are. The doors open for them to get into professional baseball through an organization like ours that can develop them and give them every chance to get to the big leagues."

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft RHP Nick Sandlin No. 67

Establishing relationships -- one of the jobs of an area scout -- played a big role in this Draft and especially helps on Day 3 when ciphering through rounds 11-40. The Indians used their 31st-round pick to take Michigan outfielder Jonathan Englemann, who was strongly recommended by Aaron Etchison, a first-year area scout who coached at Michigan for the past five seasons.

"That couldn't have happened without Aaron knowing [Englemann] well and knowing what his capabilities were," Barnsby said. "It's exciting for a scout to evaluate a player over an extended period of time, see that player get out of the top 10 rounds and still be passionate enough about that player and have enough conviction in their ability to give them an opportunity to play."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians