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Heavy On Hitters

June 8, 2005
By Jim Ingraham

CLEVELAND--The draft was advertised as being hitter-heavy, and thats the way the Indians drafted.

The Indians selected position players with each of the first four picks, and five of their first six picks were hitters.

This was a draft that was very strong in position players, and thats the way it unfolded for us in the first four rounds, scouting director John Mirabelli said.

Leading the way was Arizonas switch-hitting outfielder Trevor Crowe, whom the Indians selected with their first-round pick, the 14th selection overall.

Crowe, one of the top college hitters in the country, batted .403-9-54. His speed numbers jump out: 15 triples and 27 stolen bases.

He has the whole offensive package, Mirabelli said. Hes a switch-hitter who is a plus runner, can hit for extra bases, get on base, hit home runs and steal some bases. He does a little bit of everything and has a lot of different ways to impact the game.

Crowe, 22, is the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year and a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which is given annually by USA Baseball to the best player in college baseball.

The Athletics drafted Crowe in the 20th round in 2002 out of high school, but he chose to enroll at Arizona, where he is finishing his junior year.

I really wanted to go pro at that time, but we just couldnt work it out, Crowe said. That was disappointing, but after playing three years in college, I realize thats what was best for me.

Crowe, who played for Team USA last summer, has a reputation for playing the game with great intensity.

I pride myself in playing all nine innings, pitch by pitch, he said. A lot of premier players dont play hard or run things out all the time. I like to play hard all the time. Intensity, matched by efficiency.

A native of Portland, Ore., Crowe said he was an Braves fan growing up.

But I remember watching that 1995 World Series between the Indians and Braves, and how electric the fans were in Cleveland, he said. That really pumped me up to know Cleveland drafted me, and that theyve begun a youth movement.

Smoke Signals

Both Crowe and sandwich pick John Drennen, from San Diegos Rancho Bernardo High, played left field for their teams this season, but Mirabelli said the Indians will move both of them to center field. Assuming both sign, Crowe will begin his career with low Class A Lake County, while Drennen will start at Rookie-level Burlington.

Perhaps the most intriguing pick by the Indians in the first five rounds was first baseman Nick Weglarz, considered the top player in Canada, from Lakeshore Catholic High School, in Stevensville, Ontario. Hes very young, 17, but with a lot of upside, Mirabelli said. Hes a lefthanded hitter who played first base in high school, but were going to move him to right field. Hes not the traditional raw Canadian. Hes played in international competition, has a very advanced hitting approach, and great size and strength (6-foot-3, 220 pounds).

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