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Indians Draft Report

By Jim Ingraham
June 4, 2002

CLEVELAND--The Indians went strictly by their board in selecting Stanford righthander Jeremy Guthrie with their first pick, the 22nd overall, in the draft.

Guthrie, 23, was 11-1, 2.34 in 17 games for Stanford during the regular season.

"He's a successful, durable pitcher, with a proven track record," said Indians scouting director John Mirabelli.

One of the biggest challenges for the Indians will be getting Guthrie signed. Not only does he have another year of college eligibility remaining, but his agent is the rugged Scott Boras.

"We feel confident we can sign him," said Mirabelli. "Part of our evaluation is the player's signability, and Guthrie has told us in no uncertain terms that he's ready to go out now and start his professional career."

Although the Indians reaped a bonanza of pitchers in last year's draft, they didn't hesitate to take another one in the first round this year.

According to Mirabelli, that wasn't necessarily by design.

"We didn't really care if our first pick was a college pitcher or a high school position player," he said. "We were going to take whoever was the top-ranked player on our board when our turn came up."

As it turned out, the name at the top of the Indians' list when their turn arrived was Guthrie.

The Indians then quickly changed gears and took position players with four of their next five picks.

"We felt this draft was much stronger in position players than in pitchers, and that segued nicely for us from what we did last year," said Mirabelli, who in last year's draft selected pitchers with eight of the Indians' first nine picks.

At 23, Guthrie is older and more advanced than most college pitchers. He spent two years on a Morman mission, and then enrolled at Stanford, where in two years he has posted 24-5, 2.58 numbers.

"His age was a factor for us only in the sense that it makes you look at where he is in terms of his development," said Mirabelli. "In Jeremy's case, he is very far along in his development as a pitcher, so the developmental process for him at the professional level should be shorter for him than for most college pitchers."

Assuming the Indians sign Guthrie, he would likely begin his career at high Class A Kinston, or possibly even at Double-A Akron.

"He throws a fastball, curve, slider, and change, and all of them are good weapons for him," said Mirabelli. "But he's more of a power-oriented pitcher."

With their next two picks, both sandwich picks, the Indians selected high school infielders. With the 31st overall selection the Indians picked third baseman Matt Whitney from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High. Whitney hit .475-12-45 in 101 at-bats this season.

With their second sandwich pick (the 43rd overall), the Indians selected second baseman Micah Schilling, from Silliman Institute in Clinton, La. Schilling this year hit .489-16-43 in 94 at-bats.

"Both of these players are very high profile players who have appeared in all the major showcases," said Mirabelli. "They are headliner guys who are very advanced high school hitters. Both have expressed a strong desire to begin their professional careers."

Another intriguing pick by the Indians came in the third round when they selected Stanford power hitter Jason Cooper, who hit .351-13-52, mostly as a DH because of to a shoulder injury.

"In scouting Guthrie, it allowed us to scout Cooper as well," said Mirabelli. "He's a lefthanded power bat with a track record. We've followed him since high school, and he really jumped up his game this year."

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