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Cleveland Indians MLB Draft History And Projections

As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.

Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.

It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.

Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Cleveland Indians:

Cleveland Indians MLB Draft History

General Manager: Mike Chernoff
Scouting Director: Scott Barnsby
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $9,145,200 (11th)

2018 MLB Draft Order:

1st Round: 29th, 35th (compensation for Carlos Santana)

Supplemental 1st Round: 41st

2nd Round: 67th

3rd Round: 103rd

4th-40: 29th in each round.

First Round Picks Since 2013:

2016: Will Benson (14th)

2015: Brady Aiken (17th)

2014: Bradley Zimmer (21st), Justus Sheffield (31st)

2013: Clint Frazier (5th)

Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):

SS Francisco Lindor (No. 8 overall, 2011) has become the Indians’ franchise shortstop and the player they’re going build around for the foreseeable future. Since debuting in 2015, Lindor has been one of the most electric shortstops in the game, playing gold glove-caliber defense and hitting well above league average. Lindor has been worth more than 16 WAR in that period and, at just 24 years old, he should be a reliable star in Cleveland for a long time.

Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):

The Indians have leaned towards high school players and hitters in the last five years in the top five rounds of the draft. Under the guide of scouting director Brad Grant, Cleveland has selected 53.6 percent high school players in that period, which is the fourth-highest percentage in the game behind just the Orioles (59.3), Padres (58.6) and Rangers (55.6). Aside from Bradley Zimmer (2014) and Mike Papi (2014), each of the Indians first or supplemental first round picks since 2013 have been high school players.

The team is also sixth in that same time frame and round range in regards to the number of position players selected, with 57 percent of their picks dedicated to hitters.

The 2018 draft for the Indians will be interesting on a number of levels, as scouting director Scott Barnsby will be calling the shots for the first time after being promoted from assistant scouting director. Barnsby has been with the Indians’ scouting department since 2002, so there’s likely not going to be a substantive shift in draft philosophy.

Cleveland also has more bonus pool money than any team with first round picks from 19-30, with a compensation pick at No. 35 and a supplemental first round pick at No. 41 that should give the team some flexibility and room to get creative if they choose.

Potential Draft Targets:


C Noah Naylor — The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Noah is more hit over power with exceptional barrel awareness and a track record against professional arms

OF Connor Scott — A plus runner with good feel for the barrel, Scott is developing power and has a plus arm with good chance to stick in center field—aka toolsy 

OF Steele Walker — A high-floor college outfielder who has some of the best feel to hit of any player in the 2018 class but no carrying tool

OF Jake McCarthy — Injury has limited McCarthy for much of his junior year, but when healthy he is a plus runner who should stick in center with a track record of hitting

OF Nick Schnell — Few prep players have hit more than Schnell since last fall, as a likely corner outfielder who’s a better runner underway with an above-average arm

IF Jordan Groshans — A powerful infielder with plus bat speed, Groshans has hit all spring and should continue developing more power that’s already plus

P Anthony Seigler — An ambidextrous, switch-hitting catcher who can pitch from both sides, Seigler’s pro future will be behind the plate, where he is solid all-around

IF Xavier Edwards — A small middle infielder, Edwards has feel for the barrel from both sides and top-of-the-scale speed to make up for a lack of power

OF Mike Siani — A talented defender in center field, Siani has speed, a strong arm and an intense playing style

OF Alek Thomas — An elite athlete who is a no-doubt center fielder, Thomas also has quick hands at the plate

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