Tribe scouting director Brad Grant excited about top-end talent taken with four picks on Day 1
The Indians added four new faces to the organization on the first night of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft. (Here’s a photographic look inside the Tribe Draft Room last night.)
The new guys are:
- 21st overall pick: Bradley Zimmer, OF, University of San Francisco
- 31st overall pick: Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma (TN) High School
- 38th overall pick: Mike Papi, OF, University of Virginia
- 61st overall pick: Grant Hockin, RHP, Damien (CA) High School
Indians Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant said on Thursday night that he wanted both Zimmer and Sheffield at No. 21, and how much more exciting it was for the Tribe’s Baseball Operations department and scouts to have four picks on the first night (and five in the top 100 overall).
Grant later talked further about the first three picks during the first night:
On Zimmer: We’re excited to get him. It’s a really good combination of athleticisim, speed, defense, power and hitting. He has a really good combination of tools and a track record of success.
We started to scout him back in high school, and scouted him for the last three years and this summer at San Francisco. We’ve spent a lot of time on him, have a lot of information on him.
What makes him special is the package of defnse, speed, hitting and power. He has a really athletic body, and he does a lot of things really well. To have that combination of tools in center field makes him very unique
On Sheffield: He’s a very athletic left-handed pitcher, with a good track record. He played for Team USA; his brother, Jordan, was a high-profile prospect last year who’s at Vandy now. We have an athletic left-handed pitcher with a good combo for pitches: a fastball up to 95, a power slider, a feel for a changeup and an advanced (ability to field).
On Papi: He’s a really good college hitter with a solid track record. He’s done it at UVA, over the summers too (in showcases). He has a good left-handed bat with the versatility to play the outfield and can move into the infield as well.
(More details on Hockin: Recently graduated from Damien High School in La Verne, CA where he logged 20 career victories in 63 games across 4 varsity seasons for the Spartans. The 6-4 190-pound right-hander went 9-3 with a 1.49 ERA (17 ER/80.0 IP) in 14 games/13 starts during his senior season, limiting opposing batters to a .199 (59-297) while notching 99 strikeouts against 17 walks. A part-time infielder, Hockin hit .379 (25-66) with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 15 RBI and 15 runs scored, while notching a 1.124 OPS (.488 OBP/.636 SLG) in 83 plate appearances this season. Hockin is the grandson of late Hall of Fame infielder Harmon Killebrew and is currently committed to UCLA.)
Zimmer, meanwhile, spoke to Cleveland reporters after being drafted and here’s what he had to say:
I was just waiting to hear my name called, whether it was first or 21st, and I couldn’t be any happier to be a part of the Indians organization.
Have you ever faced your brother (Kyle, a right-handed pitcher working his way up the Royals’ system)?
I have not faced him quite yet but hopefully in the near future I’ll be squaring off against him on the big stage. That’s exciting. That was one of the first things that came to mind; my parents were excited to watch us both play and play against each other. That day will come eventually and I think everyone is looking forward to it.
How much do you think last summer — played for Team USA, was MVP of Cape Cod League – helped your draft status?
I didn’t pay too much attention to publicity that was going on. I went out and did my thing every day. I knew if I stayed within myself and played my brand of baseball, the outcome would be what I always dreamed of.
Did you talk to your brother today at all?
It was obviously a very special moment for both of us; he was obviously very happy for me. We were joking around about squaring off in the near future. It was the same feeling going through my head a few years ago when he was drafted. It was a special moment for our family.
How much do you pride yourself on your offensive versatility?
The five tools that I’ve worked with the last three years of my career at USF are only going to improve and I’m going to get faster, stronger, hit the ball farther. All of that will come. I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing.
Do you feel more prepared for this after your brother went through it?
Seeing the process and seeing his development, it was special to see him go through that and it was something I could build off and expect to come my way come draft day.
What do you know about the Cleveland Indians?
I haven’t been very familiar with them, so I’m looking forward to diving in there and making an impact right away. I want to get to the big leagues and be an impact player for them and bring a World Series to Cleveland.