The Indians kicked off the second day of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft Tuesday by selecting three consecutive high school players, including two right-handed pitchers in the second and third rounds.
New drafting rules put in place this year allowed the Tribe to take more risks with the amount of young players they drafted in the early rounds.
“What we did today, we felt like we were able to add some high school and junior college arms and mix in some upside high school athletes, high school position players and balance it out with some college juniors and seniors later on,” said Brad Grant, the Indians director of amatuer scouting. “We feel like we’ve pulled a good mix in and we’re really excited about the opportunity to draft some of those high upside right-handed starters that we took earlier."
The Indians began Day Two just after noon by selecting Minnesota prep pitcher Mitchell Brown 79th overall in the second round. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander went 6-1 with a 0.65 ERA in seven starts this past spring for Rochester Century High near Minneapolis. In 43 innings he issued 12 walks and racked up 89 strikeouts.
“With his fastball velocity, he’ll pitch up to 94 and then use his secondary stuff at the same time,” Grant said. “He’s got a curveball and a slider, both of which can be plus at times. He’s got a good feel for his change up and he throws a lot of strikes."
In the third round (110th overall), the Tribe nabbed another right-hander in Kieran Lovegrove out of Mission Viejo High School in Ca. At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Lovegrove helped pitch his team to a Division II title by going 6-3 with a 1.58 ERA.
“He’s got a loose, athletic frame, another guy who can touch 95 mph and sit between 89-91,” Grant said. “He has very good life to his fastball and a developing slider, but has the chance to have an average slider and changeup."
The Tribe’s prep trend continued into the fourth round as they picked up high school OF D'Vone McClure out of Arkansas’ Jacksonville High. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder batted .412 with 12 doubles, 15 RBI and 28 runs scored to along with 26 steals his senior season.
Grant said that while he and his staff weren’t necessarily targeting right-handed pitchers on the second day of the draft, picking seven of them amongst the team’s 14 picks Tuesday turned out to be an unexpected bonus.
“It was more a combination of it being the strength of the draft this year and something we certainly wanted to add to our organization,” Grant said. “There were a lot of high school right-handed pitching and not a lot of left-handed pitching in the draft this year.”
In the fifth round, the Indians tabbed another young right-handed pitching prospect in Dylan Baker out of Western Nevada Community College.
“There’s a lot of now stuff with Dylan, a guy who throws 96 mph and sits at 93, a guy with good life who throws a slider that has a chance to be a plus pitch for him down the road,” Grant said.
With so many pitchers having come off the draft board during Day Two under the new rules, don’t be surprised to see a flurry of position players go when the third and final day gets under way today at noon with rounds 16 through 40.