Prep righty Wyatt taken by Tribe at No. 184
Indians continue to stock up on young pitchers
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' focus on prep pitching prospects in the early rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft carried into the event's second day on Tuesday.
In the sixth round, Cleveland used the 184th overall selection on right-hander Jonas Wyatt of Quartz Hill High School in California. The 17-year-old Wyatt headed into the Draft ranked 187th among MLB.com's Top 200 prospects, and is currently committed to San Diego State.
"Big upside with him," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting. "He's still only 17 years old, so he's not new to pitching, but he's kind of progressed fast. His fastball continued to progress during the course of the year to the point where it was up to 97 [mph] at the end. And he can spin a curveball and has a feel for a change, too."
On Monday night, the Indians used their first-round pick (No. 17 overall) on left-hander Brady Aiken of IMG Academy's post-graduate team. Cleveland then followed by selecting high school right-hander Triston McKenzie (No. 42 overall) and lefty Juan Hillman (No. 59) in the next two rounds. Wyatt became the fourth pitcher selected by the Tribe in this year's Draft.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
Wyatt, who will turn 18 years old on Sept. 16, stands at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and features a plus fastball, which typically sits around 90-94 mph. He can vary the speeds on his curveball and throws a split-change. In 12 starts this season for Quartz Hill, the young righty turned in a 2.24 ERA with 111 strikeouts and 28 walks in 59 1/3 innings.
Round 7: OF Nathan Lukes, Sacramento State
The Indians used the 214th overall selection on the 21-year-old Lukes, who is a junior at Sacramento State. In 60 games, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound right fielder hit .345/.422/.511 with seven home runs, 14 doubles and 38 RBIs for the Hornets. Lukes has a .336/.409/.449 slash line in 183 collegiate games.
"Another guy who is able to swing the bat," Grant said. "Another guy with a little bit of power and can play all three outfield spots."
Round 8: RHP Justin Garza, Cal State Fullerton
The Indians previously selected Garza in the 26th round of the 2012 Draft, but the 21-year-old pitcher did not sign. In 41 career games at Cal State Fullerton, the righty went 21-7 with a 2.63 ERA and 208 strikeouts in 253 innings. In 12 starts in '15, Garza posted a 3.05 ERA with 53 strikeouts against 14 walks over 65 innings. He has a small frame (5-foot-11, 170 pounds) and is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
"He's another interesting guy," Grant said. "He's a guy we took out of high school and then had three very successful years at Fullerton. He pitched really well at Team USA, but unfortunately, at the end of the season, had Tommy John surgery. But, he's a guy we hope to get into our system quickly, rehab and get out."
Round 9: RHP Devon Stewart, Canisius College
The Indians grabbed another pitcher in the ninth round with the selection of the 22-year-old Stewart, who was not in MLB.com's Top 200 Draft prospects. In 2015, the 6-foot-2, 184-pound righty turned in a 3.84 ERA with 75 strikeouts and 24 walks in 16 starts (98 1/3 innings). Stewart is a native of British Columbia, Canada.
Round 10: LHP Billy Strode, Florida State
Cleveland added a collegiate closer to the mix with its final pick on Day 2, grabbing the 22-year-old Strode with the 304th overall selection. This past season, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander posted a 1.80 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 14 saves in 30 appearances for the Seminoles. In his four college seasons (including one year with Indian River Community College), Strode turned in a 1.42 ERA with 199 strikeouts in 197 innings.