Grant talks draft ahead of Thursday’s first round

Brad Grant with last year's No. 1 pick, Clint Frazier.

Indians Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant with last year’s No. 1 pick, Clint Frazier.

Two 2011 draft picks have struck out a combined 60 batters as part of the Indians MLB-leading 527 strikeouts this season. The duo has combined to go 3-3 in 34 appearances and 48.0 innings during the 2014 campaign.

The Arizona Diamondbacks selected right-hander Trevor Bauer with the third overall pick (1st round) in the 2011 draft. Teammate and fellow right-handed pitcher Cody Allen was chosen by the Indians with the 698th overall pick (23rd round) in the same draft.

On June 28, 2012, Bauer became the first member of his draft class to make it to the Major Leagues. Just 22 days later, Allen was promoted as the second player from the 2011 draft class to make his big-league debut.

This season, on May 16, Indians 2013 draft pick and southpaw Kyle Crockett made his Major League debut at Progressive Field, becoming the first member of the 2013 draft class to play at the Major League level. Crockett allowed just one run in 4.1 innings over the course of his first stint with the club.

Needless to say, draft picks have the potential to impact the organization’s Major League team quickly after being drafted.

“It kind of worked out for me — the opportunity, the need,” Allen said. “I was older. I was able to get pushed; relievers can be pushed more than, say, a shortstop. I think 85% of guys that are drafted have the physical ability to play in the big leagues.”

Today, the Indians will make two selections in the first round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft as well as one pick in the compensation round. With the 21st, 31st, and 38th picks, Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant said the Indians believe they have an advantage as far as the number of high-quality picks available.

“To have four picks on the first day (see chart above) is unique; it really gives us an advantage, especially in this year’s draft,” Grant said. “This is something we haven’t had over the past few years. Looking at this year’s draft class, there is a lot of depth.”

Grant said the scouting department has 800 total names on the draft board this year, and they have scouted nearly 150 prospects.

Cross-checkers, Grant said, have played a significant role in this year’s draft. A handful of cross-checkers scout on a national scale, while others are assigned a specific region of the country. The Indians have hired additional cross-checkers since the previous draft, ultimately expanding their staff and increasing their knowledge of the prospects.

“Our area scouts will see each player four to five times, and the cross-checkers will average another three to five times,” Grant said. “So the amount of information we are gathering is pretty significant.”

Grant said scouts begin following many college prospects during their high school careers, and they continue to gain more information as they progress through their college career. In order to draft a high school player, he said, it is critical that the player is mature and is open to developing his skills within the organization.

“There’s a lot more inherent risk in drafting a high school player because you have a lot less information on them,” Grant said. “In college, you have a lot more statistical information, more life lessons that they’ve been through, more maturity, so there’s a lot more information available for the college player.

“We’re going to try to maximize our value. We’re going to try to be creative in our thinking and in our ability to gain as much talent as we possibly can. The draft’s going to dictate which way we go, who we take, and what we do, but we’ve shown we have the ability to be creative.”

Fans are encouraged to tune in to MLB Network to watch the first round of the 2014 draft. All other rounds will be live on MLB.com. Fans should follow @MLBDraft for draft coverage on Twitter.

Cleveland Indians 2014 Draft Picks (Day One)

  • No. 21 – first round
  • No. 31 – free agent compensatory pick (Jimenez)
  • No. 38 – competitive balance
  • No. 61 – competitive balance

–TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden

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