Roster & Rule 5 Draft Thoughts
The fact they protected Adam Miller, Reid Santos, Scott Lewis, Tony Sipp and Wyatt Toregas is not much of a surprise to me. I even nailed it with a prediction last week on our site message boards (my post is near the bottom dated Nov 15th at 1:05pm). Miller is a no brained, and while Sipp is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery they could not leave him unprotected because the acquiring team could essentially put him on the disabled list at will the next year or two while he recovers. Santos and Lewis are good left-handed pitching prospects with Lewis still considered a starter and Santos destined for a swing role or as a lefty in the bullpen. Some may say Toregas is a surprise, but not to me. He is an excellent defensive catcher with promise still as a hitter. The Indians need catching depth, as remember, when Victor got hurt in the “Snow Opener” last year, Mike Rose (??) was about to be summoned from Buffalo while Victor was heading to the disabled list.
The Rule 5 Draft is always tough to predict. Typically, versatile infielders that can play multiple positions, 4th outfielders, defensive catchers, lefty bullpen specialists, power arms, or guys with speed tend to get taken in the Rule 5 Draft. With that in mind, I posted the Indians Rule 5 eligibles awhile back, and here are the players I think could be selected:
Barton, Brian (OF): The Indians are very top heavy in the system in the outfield with the likes of Trevor Crowe, Brad Snyder, Ryan Goleski, Ben Francisco, and possibly even Jordan Brown battling Barton for time in the Buffalo outfield in 2008. Barton can run and play all three outfield positions, although his defense and plate discipline are still a work in progress. He looks like he could be selected, but the strikeouts to me may be a turnoff to teams. I think it is 50/50 he is not selected.
Constanza, Jose (OF): Constanza has yet to play a game at Double-A, but his speed and versatility could be attractive to a team looking for a Dave Roberts-like player off the bench. While he is not as far along in the system as Barton, his better bat control and plate discipline to go with plus speed may make him a more likely pick in the draft than Barton.
Gimenez, Chris (UT): This is the one player that I think we have the most chance of losing that will be a real loss. Gimenez can play any corner position in the infield and outfield, and can even play catcher. He has a potent bat with a lot of pop to go along with that versatility. Down the road, he could make an excellent super utility player, and he could get that shot next spring if he is selected.
Goleski, Ryan (OF): Goleski was the big loss last year after his outstanding 2006 campaign, but he struggled in spring with Oakland and ended up being returned. Goleski was never the same after that, and seemed to be ruined somewhat by being taken in the draft. He is eligible again, and while it does not look like he will be picked, if he is selected it may be best to part ways with the Indians.
Mulhern, Ryan (1B): It seems like Mulhern is a slam dunk to be selected. Some small market team with a void at first base likely will select Mulhern and make him their everyday first baseman in 2008 and live and die with him. Non-contending teams can do that. Mulhern is ready for a big league job, but with Ryan Garko, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez manning first base in Cleveland, and Michael Aubrey and Jordan Brown crowding him out in Buffalo, Mulhern’s days in the Indians organization are all but numbered.
Newsom, Randy (RHP): Newsom is a great young man, and it would please me very much to see him get selected and fulfill his dream of making it to the majors. Newsom is a gimmick pitcher as he is a submarine pitcher, which is the type of pitcher you often see taken in the Rule 5 Draft. The Indians could use him down the road, but like Mulhern, Newsom may be the second most likely to be selected.
Perdomo, Luis (RHP): Perdomo has yet to pitch above Single-A, but his mid to upper 90s power fastball could entice someone to take him. Still, he is very green, so it would be a big surprise to see someone take him.
Smith, Sean (RHP): Smith is another likely draft selection, and would fill in adequately as a fifth starter for a non-contending team. Smith is probably at best a fifth starter or swing-4A guy, so even if the Indians lose him there should be no worries, especially considering the pitching depth in the organization.
Whitney, Matthew (1B): Whit had an unbelievable season last year, but he still has not played a single game t Double-A, still has plate discipline issues, is not a versatile player, and still needs to prove last year was not a fluke and that he can stay healthy. With all this said, Whitney should go undrafted. It would come as a complete surprise to me if he were selected.