CLEVELAND -- Without a first-round pick in the MLB Draft this year, the Indians had to cast a wider net in order to find their top selection. On Monday night, as names came off the board in baseball's annual amateur showcase, Cleveland found its man in prep outfielder Quentin Holmes.The
CLEVELAND -- Without a first-round pick in the MLB Draft this year, the Indians had to cast a wider net in order to find their top selection. On Monday night, as names came off the board in baseball's annual amateur showcase, Cleveland found its man in prep outfielder Quentin Holmes.
The Indians were thrilled that one of the Draft's fastest players was still there for the taking at pick No. 64 in the second round.
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"We couldn't be more excited to be able to take Quentin," said Brad Grant, the Indians' senior director of amateur scouting. "It was tough for us to predict who was going to be down there."
The Indians took Holmes out of Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School, which is located in East Elmhurst, Queens, N.Y. That makes the fleet-footed outfield prospect the highest player taken out of a New York City high school since 1996, when Jason Marquis was picked in the first round by the Braves.
The Indians took a long, hard look at Holmes, who was scouted heavily by Cleveland area scout Mike Kanen. With the uncertainty that comes with picks beyond the first round, the Indians were attracted to Holmes' athleticism. They pegged him as a 70-grade runner (80 being the highest level), with plus defense in center field. Offensively, Holmes' high-contact approach made him look like a future top-of-the-order hitter.
"The big attraction with Quentin is his speed," Grant said. "He was kind of a fixture on the showcases this past summer, and he actually set the [Perfect Game] nation 60-yard dash record with a 6.19 [seconds]. He's a fun player to watch. He's a great person on and off the field."
The 64th slot in this year's Draft comes with a value of $969,900. While Holmes is committed to Mississippi State University, Grant expressed confidence in the Indians' ability to sign the outfielder and get him into their system later this summer.
This year's Draft was a little different for the Indians, considering the club's top selection came in the second round for the first time since 1999. Cleveland forfeited its first-round pick this past winter due to signing free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year contract worth $60 million.
The Indians did not take losing their first-round slot lightly, but coming off a World Series appearance, Cleveland wanted to seize its chance to sign a premier player like Encarnacion to boost its lineup. Helping matters is the fact that the Tribe has an additional early-round pick: No. 71 overall in Competitive Balance Round B before the Draft's third round.
Cleveland picked prep shortstop Tyler Freeman with that selection.
The Draft continues Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
The Indians have had success in the second round in the past. Most notably, Albert Belle was picked by Cleveland in the second round of the 1987 Draft. In terms of career WAR, current Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis -- a two-time All-Star -- ranks second to Belle in franchise history among second-rounders. Kipnis was taken with the 64th overall pick in the 2008 Draft.
Holmes, who will turn 18 on July 7, played varsity baseball all four years in high school, hitting .420 with seven home runs, 18 extra-base hits and 33 runs scored as a senior. The outfielder also stole 22 bases in 23 attempts. He was a 2017 Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason All-American, a member of the under-18 U.S. National Team last summer and was the 2016-17 Gatorade Player of the Year for New York.
"We've spent a lot of time with these guys," Grant said of Holmes and Freeman. "We put our time down into this [second-round] range, and I think the relationships we built with both of these guys really shined through and we're definitely excited to be able to have them."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.