CLEVELAND -- After Jason Kipnis finished shooting some baskets outside the house of his Arizona State baseball coach, he went inside and took a quick power nap. Draft day can be stressful, so Kipnis did his best to relax ahead of what is one of the most important moments in
CLEVELAND -- After Jason Kipnis finished shooting some baskets outside the house of his Arizona State baseball coach, he went inside and took a quick power nap. Draft day can be stressful, so Kipnis did his best to relax ahead of what is one of the most important moments in a player's career.
As the first round wore on in 2009, Kipnis had an eye on his hometown Cubs, but they selected outfielder Brett Jackson with the 31st overall pick. So Kipnis continued to wait, and he began looking ahead to which teams might be a fit. The call finally came just ahead of the 63rd selection, which the Indians used on Kipnis in the MLB Draft's second round.
"You have your phone in your hand. You're waiting and watching," Kipnis said. "With the advisors and everything else, you start having a little bit of an idea of what teams are actually in play for you. So, you know when certain teams come up, you know you're not in play for them so you're not looking up, you're not worried.
"Then we got to the second round and you start hearing some rumors and Cleveland called. ... And I'm pretty, pretty happy with where it's gone from there."
• MLB Draft Central
This year's Draft begins at 6 p.m. ET on Monday night with broadcast coverage on both MLB.com and MLB Network, and the event will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday on MLB.com. On Day 1, the Indians will have the 64th overall pick (second round). That will be Cleveland's top pick, as the club forfeited its first-round slot in order to sign free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion in the offseason.
In the history of the MLB Draft, all-time greats such as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Cal Ripken, Mike Schmidt and Johnny Bench, among others, were picked in the second round. The player with the most career WAR (per Baseball Reference) to come via the 64th pick is Brian McCann, with Hunter Pence not too far behind.
• 2017 Draft order
Cleveland's top second-rounder in team history is Albert Belle, who posted 39.9 career WAR. Kipnis comes in second at 19.9 WAR, entering Sunday.
"I think I'll be happy with second-best," Kipnis said with a laugh.
The Indians have had plenty of success in recent years in the first round -- Francisco Lindor, Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall were each taken in the opening round -- but Cleveland has also found future Major Leaguers in the Draft's later stages, too. Beyond Kipnis, examples on the current active roster include Cody Allen (23rd round in 2011), Roberto Perez (33rd round in '08), Josh Tomlin (19th round in '06) and Kyle Crockett (fourth round in '13).
"You see how important it is to make sure you nail the Draft," Kipnis said. "That's the foundation for getting a good franchise or turning it around. There's a lot more that goes into it -- when you need players to develop and trades and that stuff -- but the Draft sets you up in the right way. It gives you pieces."
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.