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Draft Preview: Lottery a Tribe emphasis

Draft Preview: Lottery a Tribe emphasis

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CLEVELAND -- The Indians have done a good job identifying and acquiring talented prospects from other Major League clubs in recent years.

But with the First-Year Player Draft looming, the Indians recognize the need to bring in impact players from the amateur ranks. And they have a strong opportunity to do so with the 15th overall selection.

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire Draft on June 9-11. The MLB Network will broadcast the first round on the evening of June 9 from its Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., and those 32 selections also will be simulcast live on MLB.com.

Beginning with the 33rd pick, up-to-the-minute on-air coverage from the remaining rounds will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where host Vinny Micucci will be joined by MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo and Major League Scouting Bureau director Frank Marcos.

Once the first night is done, the Draft will continue with the rounds 4-30, via conference call from MLB Headquarters in New York, at noon ET on Wednesday, June 10. Rounds 31-50 will be on Thursday, June 11, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Here's a quick glance at what the Indians have in store as the First-Year Player Draft approaches:  

In about 50 words
After the pick at No. 15, the Indians will pick at No. 63 overall in the second round, and they'll have the 14th pick of every ensuing round from there. Recognizing an organizational need and a Draft depth, the Tribe figures to go heavy on pitching talent this year.

The scoop
"The focus is always on that first-round pick, and that's usually where your impact players come from. There's always pressure, every year, with every first-round pick we take. But picking in the top half, we certainly feel even more pressure to make sure we're successful with that selection." -- scouting director Brad Grant, on the Indians' spot at No. 15.

First-round buzz
Grant has reason to feel pressure with that 15th overall pick, because the Indians' history with first-round picks in the last 10 years is shaky at best. Not one first-round pick since CC Sabathia at No. 20 in 1998 has made a sustained, positive impact in the big leagues with the Indians. With that in mind, the Indians will try to take as safe a bet as possible. If they go with an arm -- and it appears they are apt to do so -- they might lean toward a college guy if all else is equal.

Shopping list
In addition to pitching, the Indians have a tendency to place an emphasis on middle-infield and catching depth. The middle infield is an area where the Tribe remains thin. As for catching, Grant said this year's class is weak on collegiate catchers but strong on high school catchers.

Trend watch
Grant believes this year's Draft is deep in pitching at both the high school and collegiate levels. So look for the Indians, who have placed a heavy emphasis on position players in recent years, to place a heavier emphasis on the arms this year. Last year, the Indians paid several players above the slot to ensure they wouldn't remain in school, and they might take a similar approach this year, even with what might be a smaller budget.

Recent top picks
Last year's top pick was shortstop Lonnie Chisenhall at No. 29. He has been converted to third base. He's swung a solid bat at Class A Kinston, but he's also made quite a few errors in the field. ... First baseman Beau Mills, taken with the 13th overall pick in 2007, advanced to Double-A Akron this season and hasn't had a truly impactful presence yet. ... Left-hander David Huff, a sandwich round selection out of UCLA in '06, made his Major League debut this season, going 0-1 with a 10.97 ERA in three starts in May.

Rising fast
Zach Putnam, a fifth-round pick out of Michigan in last year's Draft, has already reached the Double-A level. The right-hander was converted to relief work and had a 2.25 ERA in his first 12 innings of work. He's already a name to watch as a candidate to join the Major League 'pen this season.

Cinderella story
Left-hander Tony Sipp, the 1,337th overall selection in the 2004 Draft, made his Major League debut earlier this season in the Tribe's bullpen.

In The Show
At this point, Huff is the only member of the Tribe's last three Draft classes to reach the Major Leagues.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
{"content":["first-year_player_draft" ] }
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