The Ultimate Indians Draft: Rounds 40-31
We continue on with The Ultimate Indians Draft, a series of articles here at the IBI where I pick the best draft picks in Indians history round by round.
For those that missed the first part covering rounds 51 to 41 and with the setup of this piece, the way I went about this piece was to try and figure out who were the greatest players selected by the Indians in their entire draft history. I settled on using the June selection since it is the only one still around, so this does leave out some players of note such as Chris Chambliss and Duane Kuiper.
When it came to judging the top player, I kept it simple. If a player was drafted and signed by the Indians, then he would rank higher than a great talent who never signed with the Indians. The best picks are the ones who helped the Indians. In many cases, especially with these late picks, the best player is often the one who got away.
So here we go, we continue with rounds 40 to 31.
40. Randy Keisler, LHP
Drafted in 1995, Navarro College
The Indians have selected 35 players in the 40th round and the only one to make the majors was Keisler. He was drafted four different times before becoming a 2nd round pick by the Yankees. He pitched in parts of six seasons appearing in 55 games for five different teams. His numbers were never great, but thanks to the fact he was a lefty he kept getting shots in the majors.
Honorable Mentions: Outfielder Jordan Casas (2010) lasted three years in the minors and made it to Double-A, right-handed pitcher Dan Guillory (1998) lasted five years in the minors and made it to Double-A, shortstop Robert Rein (1967) lasted three years in the minors making to Triple-A.
39. Danny Ardoin, C
Drafted in 1994, Texarkana College
The Indians have drafted 36 players in the 39th round and two made it to the majors. Ardoin was drafted three straight years before he signed with the Athletics. He played five years in the majors with five different teams. He managed to play in a total of a 165 games. His offensive numbers were terrible, but at his peak he was a solid backup catcher for the Rockies with good defense.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Marcus Gwyn (1996) made it to the majors for three games in 2007 and pitched in minors for nine years, infielder Danny White (1973) was drafted four times - twice by the Indians - and became a great quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, outfielder Jim Rapoport (2003) lasted six seasons in the minors and made it to Triple-A, catcher Jessie Mier (2005) lasted five years in the minors and made it to Double-A.
38. Tom McGraw, LHP
Drafted in 1986, High School
The Indians have drafted 36 players in the 38th round and only one player made it to the majors. Tom McGraw might sound like a country singer but the Indians drafted him out of high school in 1986. He went to Washington State and ended up being drafted by the Brewers four years later. He would bounce around the minors, where he spent parts of nine seasons before he made it to the majors in 1997. The Cardinals gave him a cup of coffee in 1997; he got to pitch in two games out of the pen.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Ross Atkins (1995) lasted four years in the minors before he became a part of the Indians front office, catcher Jeremy Jones (1996) lasted five years in the minors and made it to Double-A, outfielder Ray Johnson (1969) lasted four years in the minors and made it to Double-A, catcher James Bogard (1968) lasted four years in the minors and made it to Double-A.
37. Chip Glass, OF
Drafted in 1994, Oklahoma
The Indians have drafted 38 players in the 37th round and not a single one of them made it to the majors. Chip Glass had a strong year at Oklahoma which led to him being drafted after his senior year by the Indians. He posted good but not great numbers in the minors and ended up joining the Yankees minors in 1998. He made it to Triple-A and spent six years total in the minors. This combined with the fact he was the only player I actually remembered made him the top choice for this pick.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Teddy Warrecker (1994) lasted four years in the minors and made it to Double-A, right-handed pitcher Mike Soper (1989) lasted five years in the minors and made it to Triple-A and later became a scout for the Indians, left-handed pitcher Chad Bell (2008) lasted three years in the minors and made it to Triple-A.
36. Rick Langford, RHP
Drafted in 1972, Manatee Community College
The Indians have drafted 38 players in the 36th round and two made it the majors. This would be great if they had managed to sign either player. Langford was a painful miss for the Tribe because the next year he went undrafted and was signed by the Pirates. The Indians drafted him as an outfielder, but he was developed as a pitcher by the Pirates. He pitched in the majors for parts of eleven years and was at his peak a 4 WAR player. The majority of his career he was a solid back end starter for the Athletics. Langford is such an interesting player because the Indians drafted and didn’t sign him, and a year later no one drafts him and he goes on to be a successful major league pitcher.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Adam Warren (2008) made it to the majors with the Yankees, third baseman Jared Goedert (2003) has been in the minors for eight years and almost all of it in the upper levels, left-handed pitcher Danny Borrell (1997) spent nine seasons in the minors and made it to Double-A, right-handed pitcher Tony Dougherty (1994) spent seven years in the minors and made it to Triple-A, outfielder Lou List (1984) spent nine years in the minors and made it to Triple-A.
35. Chris Cooper, LHP
Drafted in 2001, University of New Mexico
The Indians have drafted 40 players in the 35th round and no one has made it to the majors. Chris Cooper is the one who got the closest; he is the only pick who made it as high as Triple-A. He pitched in the minors for eight seasons with the Rangers and the Indians. He was dominant in 2003 and 2004 for the Indians and looked like a future LOOGY for the Indians. He then had two bad years in a row and ended up playing in the Italian Baseball League. He came back to pitch for Texas for two more years before returning to Italy to pitch again.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Mason Radeke (2011) made it up to Double-A and is still with the Indians and has spent three years with the team, left-handed pitcher Ryan Knippschild (2004) pitched four years in the minors with the Indians and Rangers and made it up to Double-A, catcher Nick Sued (1990) played five years in the minors and made it to Double-A.
34. Jack Brohamer, SS
Drafted by 1967, Hight School
The Indians have drafted 42 players in the 34th round and four of them have made it to the majors. Brohamer made it to the majors at age 22, and was a solid player for his team for the time period. He never posted an OPS over .700 and struggled to hit .250 for most of his career, yet, he still played nine years in the majors and posted mostly positive WAR values for his career. He finished his career back with the Indians in 1980 at the age of 30. Brohamer was the mostly valuable pick the Indians made and signed in the 30 range for the history of the franchise so far.
Honorable Mentions: Left-handed pitcher Jeff Mutis (1985) was drafted three years later as a first rounder and pitched in parts of four years in the majors pitching in 58 games, right-handed pitcher Josh Judy (2007) made it to the majors in 2011 with Indians and pitched in 12 games, right-handed pitcher Jamie Brown (1995) pitched in four games for the Red Sox in 2004, left-handed pitcher Jonathon Rouwenhorst lasted eight years in the minors - half of which he spent at Triple-A.
33. Jensen Lewis, RHP
Drafted in 2002, High School
The Indians have drafted 42 players in the 33rd round and only three have made it to the majors. None of those players actually signed with the Indians, but the one with the highest WAR of the group was Jensen Lewis. The Indians would draft him three years later 30 spots higher. There was just something about Lewis and the number three. He played for the Indians for four years pitching in 161 games and had an ERA of 3.68. The most successful stretch of his career was in the second half of 2008 when he served as the closer for the Indians. He spent last year in the Cubs minors and pitched in five games before being designated at the end of April which basically ended his career.
Honorable Mention: Shortstop Andy Sheets (1989) played seven years in the majors in 356 games and was a utility player for his career, catcher Dave Augustine (1968) was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1969 and ended up playing for the Pirates in 29 games over two years, catcher Roberto Perez (2008) played five seasons in the minors making it to Triple-A and should make it to the majors at some point as an emergency catcher, third baseman Tyler Kuhn (2007) has played six seasons in the minors making it up to Triple-A.
32. James Hurst, LHP
Drafted in 1989, Florida Southern University
The Indians have drafted 42 players in the 32nd round and four of them have made the majors. The only one who they managed to sign was James Hurst. He would last just one year with the Indians who then cut him; he found a home with Texas and would debut in the majors for them in 1994 pitching in eight games. He would end up going back to the minors and after the '95 season he called it quits. There might have been other players with more value, but Hurst was the only one the team signed. As a lefty he proved a valuable depth arm for Texas, and it sure seems the Indians made a mistake giving up on him so quickly.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Nicholas Christiani (2008) made it to the majors for the Reds this year pitching in three games and should get more chances, right-handed pitcher Steven Jackson (2003) made it to the majors with the Pirates and pitched in 51 games over parts of two years, outfielder Tommy Gregg (1984) played in 446 games over nine years in the majors, left-handed pitcher Matt Packer (2009) has spent five years in the minors for the Indians and has a chance as a lefty and should get a shot in the majors at some point.
31. Bill Wertz, RHP
Drafted in 1989, The Ohio State University
The Indians have drafted 43 players in the 31st round and five of them have made the majors. The Indians managed to sign two of those players but the only one who was drafted, signed and played for the Indians was Bill Wertz. He debuted with the Indians in '93 and would also pitch in '94 and in a total of 35 games over two years. He had been dominant working his way up the minors and even had a solid debut in '93. Once he returned to the minors he was never the same player as he struggled to put up decent numbers and spent his final year with the Akron in 1997 after bouncing through several organizations.
Honorable Mentions: Right-handed pitcher Larry White (1979) played for the Dodgers during the '83 and '84 seasons pitching in 11 games, infielder Jack Lind (1966) played for the Brewers during the 74-75 years playing in 26 games, left-handed pitcher Michael Roth (2011) made it to the majors a year after being drafted and pitched in 15 games for the Angels last year, first baseman Conor Jackson (2000) was rated as high as the 17th best prospect in baseball and played seven years in the majors in over 600 games for the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and Athletics.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org