Tribe draft picks excited to ink deals, begin careers

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Four of the Tribe’s top five picks in this month’s draft have signed and appeared at Progressive Field on Tuesday, chatting with reporters along with Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant.

Grant said Bradley Zimmer, the No. 21 pick, will report to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, while three high school players – No. 31 Justus Sheffield, No. 61 Grant Hockin and No. 97 Bobby Bradley – will report to the Arizona league. (The 38th pick, Michael Papi from the University of Virginia, is still playing in the College World Series.)

Grant also said that MLB’s new draft slotting process, which now assigns specific value to each pick and limits the amount a team can spend on bonuses in each draft, has helped teams sign players earlier and get them on their way. Last year’s top pick, Clint Frazier, signed shortly after the draft and headed to Arizona as well.

Here’s what each player had to say during their visit to Cleveland:

Zimmer, OF, University of San Francisco (Bats/throws: L/R)

It’s a dream come true. Putting that hat on for the first time, it was a special moment for me and these other guys.

It’s been a few weeks (since I’ve faced live competition). I’m itching to get back out there and compete. (Zimmer’s college team, the University of San Francisco, did not advance to the College World Series.)

Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma (TN) High School (Bats/throws: L/L)

It’s a surreal feeling. We’ve been working for this since we started playing baseball. The real work starts now.

There was a lot of thought that went into attending Vanderbilt or signing my contract. But it’s always been my dream to play pro baseball.

Hockin, RHP, Damien (CA) High School (Bats/throws: R/R)

I like to watch Jered Weaver (who Hockin saw pitch in Cleveland on Monday); he competes. I like to watch baseball games and put myself in the pitcher’s position – what would I throw in certain situations?

Fun story: Hockin’s grandfather is the late Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew; Hocking said that he and his brothers would watch his home run derby with Mickey Mantle. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC9ku86y42o)

Bradley, 1B, Harrison Central (MS) High School (Bats/throws: L/R)

Bradley was late to his high school prom as he was taking BP with Indians scouts in his native Mississippi: “It’s been a surreal process. Hasn’t really set in.”

–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond

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