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2007 Draft: Five Questions

July 15, 2007
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(NOTE: Updated on July 21st)

Five questions per.  That was all I gave myself. 

In this follow-up article about the Indians’ 2007 draft I find out how Cleveland’s unsigned draft choices are doing in their summer leagues, what their strengths are, where they are in their negotiations with the Indians, what they think their chances are of signing with the Cleveland before August 15th and more…in just 5 questions each.  Well, some of them were multiple part questions! 

Before I get started I want to thank all the draftees who were kind enough to talk to me and all the people who helped me get in contact with them.    

All of the guys who haven’t yet signed (and the three who signed last Monday) from the Indians’ 2007 draft are HS seniors, junior college players or college sophomores or juniors at 4-year schools.  All of these kids have the option to play in college next year if they don’t sign.   The guys with the most leverage in negotiations are obviously the younger ones who have the most years left in college, starting with Chris Jones, our 15th round pick, who can re-enter the draft next year after spending a year at St. Petersburg Community College in Florida, his home state.    Some of these guys throw really hard, like Joey Mahalic, Josh Judy (both of whom signed this week) and Bryce Brentz, all of whom have been ‘bringing it’ at up to 94 mph this summer and Dallas Cawiezell (high of 95 mph), who has yet to give up an earned run and is striking ‘em out at almost 2 an inning in his wood bat summer college league.  Some, like Miles Morgan and Jason Hessler, two injured college pitchers who missed most or all of the year, are keenly aware that the Indians have a history of success at rehabbing injured pitchers.   

Until they announced the signings of Joey Mahalic, Josh Judy and Brian Juhl at the beginning of this week, the Indians had signed the fewest 2007 draft picks of any team in the major leagues.  As I indicated in my previous article (Safe!), I think this is by design. Most of the Indians’ unsigned draft choices appear to be summer draft-and-follows.  That is, the Indians will scout these guys on their summer teams and then make them bonus offers as we approach the August 15th deadline to sign players.  Most of these summer draft-and-follows who sign with the Indians probably won’t play professionally this summer and will have their first exposure to professional baseball in a mini-camp to be held shortly after the August 15th deadline and then, this fall, in the instructional league in Winter Haven, Florida

Not all of our draftees are considering turning pro at this point in their baseball careers.  I learned that some of them, like OF Bobby Coyle (U. Arizona scholarship), LHP Eric Jokisch (Northwestern) and RHP Stihl Sowers (East Carolina) are accepting college baseball scholarships instead of signing out of high school and a number of our later round, college draftees, including junior catchers Travis Howell, Doug Hogan and Doug Pickens, sophomore infielder Scott Savastano and junior closer Daniel Edwards have already decided not to sign and to return to college next year.  Kyle Leiendecker, a 6’2” 175’ LH HS pitcher from Indiana drafted in the 25th round had his decision made for him by fate.  Kyle’s mother indicated he has a stress fracture in his lower back that he noticed in his final HS game and that Kyle was advised by doctors not to throw all summer.  The Indians said that, given his injury, he wouldn’t be able to pass their physical and so they wouldn’t try to sign him.   He is going to recuperate over the summer and then pitch for Indiana University next year.  I am sure our loss will be IU’s gain.

Eighteen of our draft choices (including Walter Diaz, who told me his agent had worked out a deal and was signing soon) have already signed.   A couple of other pitchers (including our 4th round draft pick, T.J. McFarland, see his interview below) have said they have a deal worked out but have not signed yet.

For the rest of the Indians’ unsigned draft picks it appears that each of them is still open to signing with the Tribe if the bonus money is right.  For some, this may mean a sizeable bonus as a number of these guys are having pretty good summers and have great college scholarships waiting for them if they don’t sign.  Here are all the stats I have been able to dig up (through July 14, 2007) from the summer leagues some of these guys are playing in.

Position Players
Name, Position
Team/League
AB
R
H
RBI
2B
3B
HR
BB
SO
SB
BA
Matt Hague, OF/1BFalmouth/Cape Cod
91
15
28
14
3
2
2
16
19
2
.308
Ryan Royster, OFBrainerd/Northwoods
61
9
18
8
1
3
1
8
14
8
.295
Adam Zornes, CBourne/Cape Cod
36
6
11
8
1
0
1
4
12
0
.306
Tyler Kuhn, SSLuray/Valley
108
26
33
 11
 5
2
2
11
15
3
.306
Matt Willard, SSWisconsin/Northwoods
77
8
13
5
1
0
0
12
28
1
.169
Pitchers
Name, Position
Team/League
G
W
L
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
SO
ERA
Dallas Cawiezell, RHRPAlexandria/Northwoods
14
1
1
15
6
2
0
0
5
28
0.00
Shaeffer Hall, LHSPDuluth/Northwoods
3
1
0
23
16
4
4
1
1
19
1.56
Josh Judy, RHSPHaymarket/Valley
6
2
3
36.2
36
17
13
2
6
53
3.19
Tommy Luce, RHRPDuluth/Northwoods
6
0
1
4.1

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