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2016 Draft Report Card: Cleveland Indians

BEST PURE HITTER: 3B Nolan Jones (2) was considered one of the better pure hitters among high school draftees thanks to consistent contact and easy, line-drive stroke. OF Andrew Calica (11) was the 2015 Cape Cod League batting champion and hit .382 in his pro debut. He lacks any other plus tools, but Calica is a pure hitter.

BEST POWER HITTER: OF Will Benson (1) doesn’t always keep his hands and lower half in sync, but when he does he can hit mammoth home runs. His size, strength and hand speed allows him to drive the ball to the opposite field even when he doesn’t properly use his legs in his swing.

FASTEST RUNNER: The Indians drafted very few speedsters, but OF Hosea Nelson (9) is a plus runner. Benson is also a plus runner.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: C Logan Ice (2s) is a well-rounded catcher who blocks balls well, frames pitches and controls running games with an accurate, average arm.

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Ryder Ryan (30) was a first baseman at North Carolina who made one appearance as a pitcher before the draft. The Indians liked his arm and helped improve his control. He was 94-95 mph in the Arizona League and touched 97, giving the Indians reason to believe he can develop as a starter.

BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP Aaron Civale (3) throws a mid-80s slider that varies between having more depth as a slider and a shorter-breaking hard cutter. It grades as an above-average pitch.

BEST PRO DEBUT: Calica hit .382/.474/.556 with 15 steals between short-season Mahoning Valley and low Class A Lake County. The only thing that slowed down righthander Shane Bieber (4) was his innings limit. He was 0-0, 0.38 with 21 strikeouts and 2 walks in 24 innings at Mahoning Valley.

BEST ATHLETE: Benson has a rare combination of size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and speed (6.65 in the 60-yard dash). The Duke signee planned to try to walk on to the Duke basketball team if he had not signed to go pro out of high school.

MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: OF Conner Capel’s (5) father Mike reached the majors as a righthander with the Cubs and Astros. He was also teammates with Roger Clemens at Texas.

CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Bieber and Civale should climb the minor league ladder on an expedited schedule thanks to their advanced control.

BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Calica had already shown his ability to hit with wood bats in the Cape Cod League. Given the green light to try to get to his power on a more regular basis as a pro, he added some additional thump while still hitting for an extremely high average. His hitting ability could get him to the big leagues.

THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Once the Indians signed Jones for $2.25 million, they had no chance to sign RHP Wil Crowe (21). Crowe redshirted 2016 at South Carolina as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. The Indians made a run at signing C Zack Smith (15), a UNC Charlotte signee with some power potential.

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