Day three was an interesting one for Cleveland, as some of their picks from the draft’s middle rounds likely gave them some money to use on the third day of the draft. As a result, Cleveland was able to draft a few players with higher upside than you’d typically see so late in the draft.
Round 11, Pick 343: Jack DeGroat – RHP
DeGroat represented Cleveland’s 5th consecutive collegiate RHP pitcher taken in the draft. He missed his junior season with Tommy John surgery, but before his injury, he had legitimate velocity on his fastball, coupled with a quality curveball. His arm talent was demonstrated via a 13.7 K/9 during his sophomore season, but he also walked 5.5 per nine. Overall, his stuff makes him a decent upside play, but his injury plus his control issues make him a significant risk.
Round 12, Pick 373: Thomas Ponticelli – RHP
University of San Francisco
Cleveland took another college righty in Ponticelli, who seems to be a “buy low” prospect. He enjoyed an outstanding sophomore season, but saw drops to his strikeouts (8.4 K/9 to 7.4), control (1.29 BB/9 to 1.6) and ERA (2.45 to 3.68) as a junior. Still, it seems Ponticelli’s best attribute is his ability to avoid walks, which is a staple of Cleveland’s draft picks.
Round 13, Pick 403: Kyle Marman – RHP
The Indians’ draft is quickly becoming a broken record, having now drafted seven straight right-handed college arms. Marman, like Jack DeGroat, has dealt with elbow issues this year (although he elected to avoid Tommy John surgery), but showed plenty of promise before that.
He reportedly sits around 89-92 mph with his fastball, but also has a quality slider. Before his injury this year, he was putting up absurd numbers, with a 1.45 ERA to go along with 13. 3 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. He could be a potential bullpen option for Cleveland, having spent 2016 and 2017 in a relief role.
Round 14, Pick 433: Korey Holland – OF
Langham Creek HS (TX)
Generally regarded as one of the top 200 prospects in the draft, Holland was an upside play for Cleveland in the 14th round, and they’ll likely have to open their checkbook to keep him from enrolling at Texas, where he is committed.
By most accounts, Holland is an athletic outfielder with good plate discipline. He doesn’t have much power at the moment, but if he grows into it, he could be a steal for the Tribe.
Round 15, Pick 463: Bryan Lavastida – C
Hillsborough CC (FL)
In Lavastida, Cleveland is drafting a prospect with plenty of upside. Lavastida is young for his class, having not turned 20 yet, and is relatively new to catching. He’s regarded as a good athlete, and the Indians likely hope they can turn him into a Tony Wolters type of catcher.
Round 16, Pick 493: Ruben Cardenas – OF
Cal State Fullerton
Cardenas likely projects as a strong defensive corner outfielder who could play some spot-duty center field. He is young for his class (another Cleveland staple), not turning 21 for another 4 months. He’s an above-average runner with a plus arm, and made good contact in college, with a 15% strikeout rate for his career. He doesn’t offer much pop in his bat, and at this point, his ceiling resembles a utility OF in the major leagues.
Round 17, Pick 523: Liam Jenkins – RHP
A 6’8 righty, Jenkins represents another power arm gamble for Cleveland. Jenkins has shown quality stuff in his collegiate career, with a fastball that sits mid-90’s to go with a good slider. However, command has always been an issue, having walked 20 hitters in 15.1 innings this season at Louisville. No doubt, Cleveland’s coaches have a project on their hands with Jenkins, but it is a gamble that certainly could manifest into a quality relief pitcher.
Round 18, Pick 553: Shane McCarthy – RHP
McCarthy probably represents Cleveland’s first true “senior sign” pick. He is young for his class, and doesn’t walk hitters very often (1.9 BB/9), but he doesn’t generate many strikeouts either (6.3 K/9).
Round 19, Pick 583: Antonine Duplantis – CF
A talented outfielder who many considered to be a potential day two pick, Duplantis will be a tough sign for the Indians. He’s 84 hits away from LSU’s career record, and he’s record at least 86 hits in each of his three seasons in Baton Rouge. Duplantis is a contact hitter who could afford to walk more, and has limitted power. His athleticism should give him a chance to stick in center field in the pros.
Round 20, Pick 613: Jake Miednik – LHP
Miednik saw dramatic improvement from 2017 to 2018 with a 3.31 ERA and 91 K’s in 81.2 innings. His control also improved as he walked 15 fewer with a similar number of innings pitched.
Round 21, Pick 643: Eric Rodriguez – C
George Wallace CC
Rodriguez is a contact hitter, rarely walking or striking out, with limited power. He’s in his second year of junior college with George Wallace.
Round 22, Pick 673: Eli Lingos – LHP
Lingos is a high floor pick as a starting pitcher who walks few, but doesn’t have much velocity or swing and miss ability. As a senior, he’s likely to sign.
Round 23, Pick 703: Cody Farhat – CF
Since Billy Nearhat was already taken, the Indians went with Cody Farhat in round 23. He had a fantastic year in 2017, but fell off a bit this year. He could try to improve his draft stock with another season at Texas Tech or live with the 23rd pick and begin his professional career right now.
Round 24, Pick 733: Aaron Pinto – RHP
SUNY Stony Brook
Pinto was a dynamic reliever in New York for his senior year, striking out 50 to just 11 walks in 43 innings. He held opposition to a 1.03 ERA and .199 average against. He could be an interesting right handed reliever, likely to start in Mahoning Valley.
Round 25, Pick 763: Kellen Rholl – LHP
Already a full time reliever, Rholl struck out 40 in 29 innings in 2018, although his other numbers aren’t spectacular. He’s a senior, so he will likely sign and become a LOOGY in the near future.
Round 26, Pick 793: Gunnar Halter – RHP
Halter slugged .765 and reached base in more than half his plate appearances in Oklahoma last year, but is planning on going to Mississippi State after junior college and didn’t sign with the Blue Jays after being taken in the 22nd round last year, so he probably won’t sign this time either.
Round 27, Pick 823: Gionti Turner – SS
Watson Chapel High School
Turner signed a letter of intent with Three Rivers Community College, although it’s possible the short stop will forgo this commitment to sign with the Indians for the chance at a Major League career.
Round 28, Pick 853: Billy Wilson – OF
Wilson hasn’t had incredible numbers in Illinois, but has been a decent power threat with double digit doubles in three of four seasons. He’s stole 51 bases in 70 attempts, but doesn’t get on base enough to be a real threat, especially if you don’t consider his incredibly high HBP rate.
Round 29, Pick 883: Tim Herrin – LHP
Herrin has been used in a mixed role as a reliever and starter with Indiana, but doesn’t have stand out numbers. As a junior, he could finish out his education and hope for a higher pick in 2019.
The 30th pick has been a breaking point for the Indians in recent years as they have generally signed nearly all of their first 29 picks, but have only signed 6 total players signed from 30 on since 2014 including two from 2017. While one of those picks was Michael Cooper, who was a high school pick who looked solid in 2017, for the most part there is no reason for a high schooler to sign after round 30, so we won’t look into Spencer Schwellenbach or the Indians final five picks, which were all high schoolers. It is possible that the strategy here was that even if they can’t sign those players, they could form a relationship that would be of advantage in future drafts. If they do sign, we will cover them in depth during the Arizona League season.
Round 30, Pick 913: Connor Smith – SS
Just finished with his junior year, Smith has been a starter for three seasons for Western Michigan and been incredibly consistent. His batting line has been nearly identical to his .338/.387/.440 career line in each season while being a serviceable defender and an above average base stealer.
Round 31, Pick 943: Jonathan Engelmann – RF
Engelmann was taken by the Twins in the 28th round in 2015, but chose to head to college and it’s hard to picture the junior forgoing his final year for a lower pick. He is most known for his speed, stealing 21 bases this year after 11 in 2017, but also doubled his doubles and hit three times more home runs this year.
Round 32, Pick 973: Andrew Eyster – OF
Sante Fe Community College
Eyster was already taken in the 27th round by the Diamondbacks and didn’t sign, so it’s unlikely that he’ll sign now, one year into his college career.
Round 33, Pick 1,003: Daniel Schneemann – SS
Schneemann had a great offensive season with BYU as a sophomore, but really struggled in 2018, possibly a reason for his selection so late in the draft. The Indians must believe his 2017 is more indicative of his future than his most recent season and could be trying to find a player who was otherwise overlooked. He still showed good prowess on the basepaths and has stolen 16 bases in 17 attempts over the past three seasons.
Round 34, Pick 1,033: Spencer Schwellenbach – RHP
Saginaw Heritage High School
Round 35, Pick 1,063: Casey Legumina – RHP
As a sophomore, Legumina, could decide to remain at Gonzaga and hope for a higher draft slot in the future, something that is greatly possible. He struggled as a starting pitcher as a freshman, but was a dominant closer in his second season with a 2.77 ERA in 48.2 innings. His strike out rate rose dramatically while his walk rate dropped and he pitched nearly as many innings as he did as a starter.