Indians Draft Report Card
Analyzing Cleveland's 2008 draft
Lonnie Chisenhall and Phelps could inject offense into the Tribe's infield. But the story of this draft was Cleveland's aggressiveness in signing Haley (whose $1.25 million bonus exceeded Chisenhall's $1.1 million), Putnam, Fedroff, House and Stowell.
BEST PURE HITTER:
SS Lonnie Chisenhall's (1) fluid swing and ability to make consistent line-drive contact made him one of the most attractive hitters in the 2008 draft. OF Tim Fedroff (7), who signed for $725,000, and 2B Cord Phelps (3) aren't far behind. >> BEST POWER HITTER:
1B Nate Recknagel (19) set a Michigan record with 23 homers in the spring but got just four pro at-bats after breaking the hamate bone in his left wrist during the NCAA playoffs. He might get a look at catcher in the future. 3B Jeremie Tice (6), who slammed 25 homers in his lone season at the College of Charleston, also has intriguing power. >> FASTEST RUNNER:
OF Donnie Webb (10) has plus speed. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:
SS/2B Kevin Fontanez (24) is a pure defender with tremendous actions and a strong arm.
RHP Carlos Moncrief (14) can hit 96 mph, while RHP Zach Putnam (5) can reach 95, and both should throw harder now that they're focusing on pitching after being two-way players in college. Putnam, who signed for $600,000, gets nasty sink on his two-seamer. RHPs Trey Haley (2), David Roberts (4) and Mike McGuire (43) all can touch 94 mph. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH:
LHP T.J. House (16) throws a power slurve in the mid-80s. He also has a low-90s fastball, and the combo earned him a $750,000 bonus. Moncrief's slider and Putnam's splitter are plus pitches at times.
ODDS AND ENDS
BEST PRO DEBUT:
LHP Eric Berger (8) reached low Class A while going 2-0, 2.11 with a 45-11 K-BB ratio in 38 innings. He's regaining his stuff after Tommy John surgery in 2007, currently working at 89-91 mph and flashing a 12-to-6 curveball. >> BEST ATHLETE:
Fedroff is more athletic than his 5-foot-11, 220-pound frame would indicate. He has the best combination of power and speed in Cleveland's draft, and he can play center field. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:
1B/3B Adam Abraham (13) played two seasons of major junior hockey before opting for baseball during the NHL lockout. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS:
Putnam projects better as a reliever and could reach Double-A in that role during his first full pro season. Phelps and Berger also will be on the fast track. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK:
The Indians spent heavily to sign House and polished RHP Bryce Stowell (22), who got $725,000 after an all-star summer in the Cape Cod League. Among the less-costly players, athletic OF Tim Palinscar (40) and McGuire stick out. Plagued by injuries and inconsistency at Delaware, McGuire struck out 47 in 40 innings in his first taste of pro ball. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY:
Cleveland made a run at projectable RHPs Otto Roberts (23) and Michael Goodnight (27). Roberts decided to attend Creighton, while Goodnight headed to Houston.