Major League Baseball's First-year Player Amateur Draft will take place Monday and the Cleveland Indians have the fifth overall pick.
What will they do with it? Plenty of prognosticators are weighing in.
Baseball America narrowed the Indians selections down to Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox and Florida gulf coast lefty Chris Sale.
They give Cox the edge.
He is considered one, if not the, best third baseman in the draft. But his biggest issue is whether he will stay there. Scouts currently believe he may be better suited at second base, a position he dabbles with this season and appears more comfortable.
Cox is a prototypical Indians prospect: A left-handed bat with fringy range at best defensively. He’s not a terrible defensive player, but when as Indians general Manager Mark Shapiro ever worried about defense?
His bat is obviously what is coveted.
Baseball America calls him the best pure hitter and top draft eligible sophomore in the draft and he has flirted with hitting .450 this season.
Sale is a unique pick because of the scarcity of left-handed arms in this year’s draft. Much like catchers, left-handed pitchers are always highly thought of and highly coveted.
Sale, 6-foot-6 180-pounds, leads the nation with 114 strikeouts and has walked 12 batters in 83 innings, according to Baseball America. But he is doing it at little known Florida Gulf Coast.
He is considered the second best left-hander in the class behind Mississippi’s Drew Pomeranz, who will probably be gone by the time the Indians pick.
Pomeranz averages nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings throughout more than 300 career innings at Ole Miss.
MLB.com currently links the Indians to catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Not many people see this switch-hitting catcher from the University of Miami slipping out of the top 10, although he is the second best catcher in the draft. Ever heard of a player named Bryce Harper, the predicted first overall pick?
Catching is one of the most coveted, and hardest to fill, positions on the diamond. And the Indians future at the position is now with Lou Marson starting this season and Carlos Santana due in Cleveland any day now.
Outside of that, the Indians lack dynamic prospects at the position.
Grandal isn’t known as a defensive catcher, and doesn’t have the pop time to second base that scouts look for (Grandal has record it at 2.1 seconds, which is below average), according to Baseball America.
But he has hit above .400 this year for a major college program and does it from both sides of the plate. Offensively, his upside isn’t as great as former college standout catchers Buster Posey or Matt Wieters. His lack of bat speed concerns some scouts.
One name to keep track of is Stetson Allie.
The Lakewood St. Edward senior right-hander may have the most dynamic arm in the draft and has been known to hit triple digits on the radar gun this season. Although every scout I talked to says the same thing: ``It’s coming hard, but you don’t always know where it is going.’’
Nevertheless, Allie has too much skill and promise to overlook. When you throw that hard someone will figure out how to harness it. Scouts love his slider and his changeup too.
Because of his control issues some see him as a future closer.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to see the Indians snag Allie with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Prognosticators list Allie as the second-best high school arm available – behind Jameson Taillon – and Baseball America believes the Houston Astros may take Allie with the eighth overall pick. I’ve also seen credible mock drafts list him at No.17 and No.25.
With the lack of Indians enthusiasm currently sweeping Cleveland, would the Indians consider a qualified local prep product before other talents?
Drafting high schoolers early isn’t something Mark Shapiro has done a lot of. The last high school player the Indians took in the first round was Dan Denham in 2001.
The college first round picks haven't panned out either, so maybe Shapiro will be looking to try something different.