Draft Day 2 In the Books, One Day to Go!
First, we are all looking for more info on the players who the Indians have drafted so far and will draft tomorrow (last 20 rounds start at 11:30 am). Check back on these players as, for the next few days and maybe weeks, their blog postings will be updated with information including, hopefully, interviews and, for those playing on summer league teams, what team and league they are playing on. The Indians have a penchant for drafting guys who they sign after following them the entire summer. Chris Jones, Josh Judy, Bryce Stowell and others fall into that category. Looking at their list so far, I think a lot of guys fall into that category.
Day 2 Analysis
Well, uh, well, uh. Oh, heck with it. The Indians drafted college seniors at 4,5, 8 and 9. While that is not unusual as teams do it all the time, the Indians do not have a history of doing this, usually waiting until later in the single digits to start drafting college seniors. College seniors usually sign for $1-2,000. For those 4 spots in the draft you would usually spend close to $500,000 or more, total, if you drafted college juniors or juco guys or even lower level HS seniors. In picks 4-10 they really only drafted 2 "name" players, Jordan Henry at 7 and Ben Carlson at 6. They were rated as the #131 and 198 prospects in the country by Baseball America. Henry is an all speed guy, probably a better version of Donnie Webb from the 2008 draft and Carlson, more of an all power guy who I liken to Jeremy Tice from the 2008 draft. The rest of the players they drafted were lower level prospects. Heck, the guy we got at 8 has a fastball in the mid-80s that looks like he is throwing a whiffle ball! In addition, on the surface it looks like many, many of these guys are summer draft-and-follows and none of them are likely to approach the talent that yielded $500,000 plus bonuses to guys like Tim Fedroff, TJ House and Bryce Stowell last year as later round picks. A lot of them seem to be of the Josh Judy, Dallas Cawiezell types, sort of late bloomers from smaller schools who won't cost much in bonus money...if they even look good enough this summer to sign.
So, what is all this about? This seems unusually cheap for the Indians in the draft. Are they on a very tight budget? Maybe, but usually not in Cleveland and, even if they are, why would they not take some flyers on expensive guys and just not sign them if they don't have the cash? I don't know. My only guess is that they are working on a total budget of about $7 million. TOTAL! Not cheap by any means. However, if you remember, our top pick, Alex White, is represented by Scott Boras. We may well eat up $5 million...or more, of our budget on this one guy. No one knew that before the draft, no one could have projected that he would drop to us or that our revenues would be shrinking like the Indians' win pct. and my guess is that this type of pick was really not budgeted for, even everything else being equal. So, what do you do to compensate? You skimp on the rest of the draft, taking cheap picks, even in your summer draft-and-follows. I think this draft is really starting to resemble the 2007 draft where we drafted a whole bunch of college relievers, many as summer D&F guys even though we had to have extra money as we didn't have a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
So, to a large extent what we have here is White, two guys who will sign for slot and then, except for Henry, a bunch of guys who will sign for slot, a lot less than slot or, in a couple of cases if guys have a good summer, a little more than the $150,000 or so that is the high end of slot for picks starting around round 7.
This could all change tomorrow but note that, last year, the Indians did most of their gambling BEFORE round 30.
So, not too promising so far and, to me, this puts INCREDIBLE pressure on the Gardner pick to be successful. Yeah, some of the other guys may come out of the woodwork but you really can't hope for that to make up for drafting cheap college seniors...and not very highly rated ones, either, early in the draft.
Hope it turns out for the Indians. However, on paper, it really isn't set up to...at least not so far.