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2013 MLB Draft: The Indians shadow draft

2013 MLB Draft: The Indians shadow draft
July 10, 2013
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The 2013 Draft is long over now, and most players who are going to sign have done so. This is not to say there won't be more signings over the next 24 hours before Friday's deadline, just that the vast majority have signed. This year I thought it might be fun to cap off the draft coverage with an Indians shadow draft.

A shadow draft is exactly what you think it is: I get to put on my GM cap and make every single pick. The reason I waited so long was I needed to see what players signed for. In the past it was easy to assign the best player at every pick, but now thanks to the new draft rules finances have to be a large part of your thought process.

Every team contacts the players and their advisors - who after the player signs become their agents - trying to figure out what the cost is to sign these players. No team drafts any player without expecting them to sign. The risk of losing your slot is huge, and no team is willing to take that risk.

So now that I know costs to sign, I will head on trying to assemble the best draft that I can.

1st round: I make no changes with the fifth pick in the draft and take Clint Frazier. I was tempted to take Austin Meadows and save even more money, but in the end Frazier was the fourth rated player on my board and I would rather take the player I think has the brightest future. The selection of Frazier was not only the best player on the board, but also under slot which will save money for better selections later.

3rd round: The third round is where I shake things up. The top player on my board is Jon Denney, the catcher out of Oklahoma. He is a first round talent to me, but I am not drafting him for two reasons: the first one is he costs well over slot and the second issue is he grew up a Red Sox fan so I think he took less to sign with them than he would have been willing to for any other team. I think he fell because of his price tag which allowed him to pick where he wanted to go.

Instead I take Matt McPhearson, a high school outfielder from Maryland. If you read my coverage at all you know I was big on McPhearson. He is fast and has really good bat speed. I saw him having a Lofton type of ceiling. I know he didn't go to until the fourth round but if I was running the Indians on draft day I would have taken him in the third round and happily paid him 500K. He was one of my favorites in this draft, and a player who I thought could be a major steal. He is just a big time athlete who if he had been healthy would have gone much higher for a lot more money.

4th round: I wasn't sure about the Crockett pick on draft day, but I quickly warmed to it and will also select him at the same spot in round four. He is a guy who might work as a starter, but if you keep him in the pen he is a quick to the majors lefty who can get anyone out. I love his command as he only unintentionally walked a single player all year.  This is a guy who will be in the majors next year for sure - barring injury - and is a nice value for 460K when you look at what a lefty reliever would cost in a trade or free agency.

5th round: Sean Brady has received the highest bonus of any player taken from the fifth round on. I could be wrong but the pick does scare me. I worry about age. Brady was nineteen before the draft occurred. A player like Lindor was over a year younger than that when drafted. It is a big deal, and it was an extra part of Lindor's value when he was drafted. The age means less time for development, it also means a player can appear more dominating just because he is older. Brady is intriguing as I compared him to Cardinals first rounder Marco Gonzales, but the sticker shock scares me off.

Instead I decide to go with another former Indians draft pick in Bobby Wahl. He is another player who is viewed as quick to the majors and could work as a starter or in the pen. He had a very disappointing year, but this was a guy who was viewed as a potential top ten pick heading into the year. I like the pitch mix and experience, and really, worst case to me he is a future closer. He is only two years older than Brady and will get to the majors years before Brady. He costs only 500K to sign, and in round five I will gladly pay it. Brady might have more upside and projection, but I just can't justify the cost to sign him over a proven pitcher like Wahl.

6th round: Casey Shane was a pick that was lauded in every single review. He is a guy that people loved, and was viewed as the second best pitcher in Texas before the year began, a possible round one or two player. Then he showed up out of shape and overweight and had a bad year. He rounded into form and pitched well but the damage was done.

Baseball America compared him to Shelby Miller, and I am sure the first thing the Indians talked about was nutrition and wellness with him. I harped on age with Brady, but for Shane it is the opposite as he won't be eighteen until August. This is about as young an arm as you can draft with major upside and on top of all of that he signed for 150K, making this an easy pick for me to keep in this draft. Youth, upside, and a cheap sign is something you do every time.

7th round: The Indians took Kenny Matthews in round seven, and I liked the pick but I am just too much a fan of Trey Michalczewski to let him get past me again. He was the second best prep bat in Oklahoma  to me after Denney. He has plus power, and looks like a potential star at third base down the road. He was a dual sport athlete and could have played college ball as a tight end. He has just a special combination of size and speed that you don't often find in baseball players. He projects for plus power and above average speed, especially for his position. He costs 500K to sign but thanks to earlier savings it would not be a problem.

8th round: This pick was a major debate as I like Trevor Frank, but I have a hard time drafting too many players who project as pen arms. So instead, I went Patrick Biondi, another senior sign. I am kind of shocked the Indians didn't draft Biondi as he fits so many things they love. First off he is an up the middle player who profiles to be a plus defender in center. He is undersized at 5'9" and he is a cold weather player. Biondi starred at Michigan and brings two legit plus tools in defense and speed.  Those skills alone make him seem like a likely 4th outfielder someday which for 10K is a bargain no matter what.

9th round: I am going to stick with Thomas Pannone in the ninth round. The reason is simple: he throws hard. It's hard to find a lefty with great velocity, and he is so raw his fastball could easily jump up higher. I think he is heading to the pen long term just because his other pitches are so raw. A year ago he was a high pick as an outfielder, so this was his first year concentrating on pitching. I like the upside gamble on Pannone this late.

10th round: This was of course the easiest pick to change as Kivett had a change of heart and returned to college. I would warn he should look at what happened to Biondi, who put up massive numbers and has two plus tools and still only got 10K this year. Seniors just get the short end of the stick.

I am going with a player I got to know a bit in Brad Goldberg from Ohio State. He is a big kid, who is older at 23, but really only pitched one full season in college.  This year his fastball took an unexpected jump to the mid 90's. His fastball also has a heavy sink to it. I think he could sit in the mid 90's going forward and with that sink projects as a potential plus pitch to me. I know after harping on age this might seem hypocritical but for the price, 10K, it is worth the risk on a live arm this late who still has upside.

So after all these picks I would still have $435,200 dollars left to spend from my bonus pool without any penalties. This would allow me to add Plutko in round 11 plus another player or two for slightly over slot if ownership was not afraid of the overspending penalties.

So there it is, my own shadow draft.  I am curios what people think. Which draft do you like better?

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at

User Comments

July 10, 2013 - 9:14 PM EDT
hmm, matt sees to be a common name here. we may have a thunderdome/highlander type situation on our hands. im the one who inconsistantly uses apostrophies and capitalization.
July 10, 2013 - 9:07 PM EDT
Great article, I did this myself 9 or 10 times once the signing bonuses started coming in even though i had to rely way too heavily on BA rankings. I always kept frazier, shane and frank, and wahl seemed like a perfect pick too for .500M. I really would have liked denney in the 3rd at .875M, daniel gibson in the 7th for .178M (half because he is a stud lefty, half to become the new boobie), either former 4th rounder brandon thomas for 75k or grant gordon for 5k in the 9th, and the obvious pick was jerad grundy out of UK for 5k in the 10th. in the 11th i'd have stuck with plutko or gone with another lefty to try to stick with the plan - jonah wesely for 210k and my sleeper was lachlan fontaine in the 12th, he seems like a nellie rodriguez power potential type pick who has a chance to stay at 3B.
July 10, 2013 - 2:59 PM EDT
Its a mix of age and a HUGE signing bonus I got 2 guys I value more than Brady for the same total money spent. He cost too much, add in age concern. It is a slight concern, bigger issue was the huge cost to sign
July 10, 2013 - 2:41 PM EDT
Brady is too old and it's a real concern? He's just three months older than Clint Frazier, whose the typical age of a HS senior. I don't buy that three months will be a detriment to his development.....
MT88 in WI
July 10, 2013 - 2:33 PM EDT
There are many tiimes I want to see the Tribe 'redrafting' a player like you pointed out with Wahl. That said I have to wonder if there times when the Tribe gets enough insight during the initial signing process that they determine "no how no way" are they going to make another run at the player.

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