CLEVELAND -- There has never been much of a question about Logan Ice's ability to catch. What helped his stock rise as the 2016 MLB Draft approached was his improved performance as a hitter.
With an eye on Ice as a future big league-caliber catcher, the Indians selected the Oregon State product with the 72nd overall pick of the Draft on Thursday night. Brad Grant, Cleveland's director of amateur scouting, said Ice's progress in the batter's box helped push him up the team's Draft board.
The catching ability has been there," Grant said. "This year, [his hitting] really took off. The fact that he controls the strike zone extremely well, the fact that he does hit for some power from both sides of the plate, those were all things that we liked.
"With that defense, if you add in a little bit of offense, you've got a really good player at the big league level potentially. It's an exciting player to get where we got him."
Ice rounded out Cleveland's Day 1 picks, which were all position players.
Before taking Ice in Lottery Round B, the Indians began the Draft's first day by taking a pair of high school bats: outfielder Will Benson in the first round (No. 14 overall) and infielder Nolan Jones (No. 55) in the second round. The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Ice, 21, was ranked as the 108th-best Draft prospect by MLB.com, which rated him as having average receiving skills, but with the ability to effectively control the running game. His junior season accolades speak to that, as he was named the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Year and one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award (top NCAA catcher).
Grant said the Indians view Ice as being better than average behind the dish.
"What really stands out about Logan is his defensive ability," Grant said. "He's an advanced framer and an advanced defender behind the plate. He does some things defensively that are very, very good."
During his most recent season with Oregon State, the switch-hitting Ice posted a .310 (54-for-174) average with seven home runs and 39 RBIs in 54 games. He drew 37 walks and turned in a .432 on-base percentage to go along with a .563 slugging percentage. Defensively, Ice threw out 44-percent of would-be basestealers.
This marks the highest the Indians have selected a catcher in the Draft since 2003, when the club picked Javi Herrera with the 48th overall pick. Cleveland operates under a best-player-available approach, so the club did not go into the Draft with the specific goal of adding a catching prospect to the farm system. That said, Grant was pleased to check that box for this year's Draft.
"We didn't necessarily push a guy up, or Logan up, to do that," Grant said. "But, at the same time, yeah, to take a defensive-oriented catcher and to be able to add that to our system is something that, yeah, we were excited about having the opportunity to do that."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.