The Cleveland Indians will have four picks on the first day of the draft. Since picks can’t be traded in the MLB draft, this number won’t change. Here are some names for the team to consider at these selections based on MLB Pipeline’s rankings.
Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma
Ironically, the 29th ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline’s big board is a left handed hitting outfielder. Something the Cleveland Indians already have plenty of at the big league level right now. But that’s not the point. In baseball, teams don’t draft based on what they need at the big league level. It’s simply a BPA, or best player available approach for every team.
Walker is a pure hitter. He finished last summer with a .406 batting average in the Northwoods League and led Team USA in hitting as well. He could have average power but a weaker throwing arm could force him to move from his current position in center field to left field.
Mike Siani, OF, William Penn (PA) HS
Another left handed hitting outfielder is the 35th ranked prospect and could be a potential target for the Indians. The University of Virginia commit has a strong throwing arm and is a very “toolsy” outfielder. He could stick in center but his power at the plate is very raw and so is his hitting ability. He’ll take time to develop.
Siani could potentially be a two way player if he goes to college, so that’s exciting. But don’t get any thoughts about the Indians getting a homegrown Shohei Ohtani, MLB Pipeline doesn’t see that happening.
"Should Siani go on to the University of Virginia, he’d likely get the chance to play both ways, where his left arm delivers low-90s fastballs from the mound. At the pro level, he’s an outfielder only, and a team confident in his bat is liable to take him early enough to sign him."
Siani won’t get a chance to pitch in the pros, but he’s an exciting player nonetheless considering he’ll have the ability to do it at the University of Virginia, if he doesn’t sign.
Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
Last year, Knight was drafted in the 29th round by the Texas Rangers, but he chose to return to school for his Junior season. It appears to have been a wise decision as he could push his way into the first or second round this June.
Knight sits in the low-mid 90s with his fastball and has a plus slider to go with it. His changeup and curveball are average but a little more development could give him a solid four pitch mix. If he can put on some good weight, he’ll have a bright future ahead of him.
Austin Becker, RHP, Big Walnut (OH) HS
A lot of times, MLB teams like to take prospects from the area to give the draft more of a local feel. But Becker is not just a obligatory local pick, he’s got big talent. The 6’6″ righty is the 68th ranked prospect. He’s throwing it up there in the mid 90s right now with a great curveball and a pretty good changeup.
The big issue with drafting Becker is signability. He’s committed to Vanderbilt and they have a great reputation for developing pitchers. It’s tough to get those players to leave the opportunity to go to Vanderbilt. It normally takes a large signing bonus to get them.
Big Walnut high school is just southwest of Cleveland and is just outside of Columbus. I’m going to assume he grew up as an Indians fan. If his hometown team comes calling on draft night, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to turn down. I would not be surprised to see the Indians take him on June 4th.
The draft is over a month away still and we here at Believeland Ball will have plenty more coverage of the MLB Draft and the lead up to it in the coming weeks.