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Indians Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: OF Ryan Church (14) was named MVP of the short-season New York-Penn League after hitting .288 with 10 homers and a league-high 63 RBIs. Fellow Mahoning Valley OF Nate Janowicz (15) also hammered NY-P pitching, batting .340-3-43.

Best Athlete: SS Rodney Choy Foo (26) was a running back recruited by Pacific-10 Conference schools until he failed to qualify academically. He packs a lot of athleticism into his 6-foot, 180-pound frame, though he’s very raw. OF Rashad Eldridge (5) is a switch-hitter with power who runs well when a knee he hurt in 1999 isn’t bothering him.

Best Hitter: 3B Corey Smith (1) batted .557 as a high school senior and should hit for both power and average. He hit .256-4-39 at Rookie-level Burlington this summer but showed flashes of his potential.

Best Raw Power: OF Mark Folsom (2). Smith and 1Bs Sean Swedlow (3) and Jeff Haase (13) all have above-average power potential.

Fastest Runner: Choy Foo has above-average speed but isn’t a blazer.

Best Defensive Player: Church (14) is a solid right fielder. 2B Joe Inglett (8), Church’s college teammate at Nevada, made a nice transition to the infield from center field.

Best Fastball: RHP Chad Cislak (19), who didn’t pitch much in 2000 at UCLA because of severe control problems, has a 92-94 mph fastball.

Most Intriguing Background: 3B Conor Jackson’s (31) father John plays an admiral on the CBS series "JAG." Jackson is succeeding Xavier Nady at third base for California.

Closest To The Majors: LHP Brian Tallet (2) and RHP Kyle Evans (6) may start their first full seasons at high Class A Kinston. Tallet started the College World Series championship game for Louisiana State in June. RHP Jason Davis, who signed as a 25th-round draft-and-follow out of Cleveland State (Tenn.) CC, where he also played basketball, is also on a fast track after showing a 93-mph fastball this summer.

Best Late-Round Pick: Church.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Scott Tolbert (9) threw 90-93 mph in high school when he wasn’t bothered by a sore arm. The Indians never were convinced he was healthy enough to make a run at him before he went to Georgia Southern.

Assessment: First-year scouting director John Mirabelli didn’t think the pitching ran deep in the draft, so he focused on power bats instead. Most of Cleveland’s early pitching picks were used on lefthanders with plus arms, such as Derek Thompson (1), Tallet and Victor Kleine (7).

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