Cleveland Indians: Why the Tribe needs to nail the 2018 MLB Draft

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Cleveland Indians

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The MLB Draft begins on Monday and the Cleveland Indians have four selections on the first night of the three day event known as the June First Year Player Draft.

The Cleveland Indians know that the MLB Draft is their main source of infusing talent into their organization. As a small market, low revenue club, free agency is an endeavour with a limited amount of upside. So the talent they get needs to be homegrown.

They’ve done well in previous drafts, which played a big role in their recent playoff appearances. Those drafts saw Francisco Lindor, Cody Allen, Bradley Zimmer, Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, and others become members of the Cleveland Indians organization. It’s drafting like that that’ll bring championship windows to teams.

But, lately, the top of the Tribe’s draft classes haven’t been able to make the impact that’s been desired. Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield were traded for Andrew Miller. Bradley Zimmer is still a big work in progress. Brady Aiken is a shell of his former self. As prep players, Will Benson and Quentin Holmes are still a long ways away from the big leagues.

But the Indians will nail the MLB Draft this year for several reasons.

Reason #1: A larger bonus pool than normal

MLB teams are allowed a certain amount of money to sign their draft picks in the first 10 rounds. Each selection carries a specific slotted value with it to sign that player. Any player selected after the first 10 rounds can be signed for up to $125,000 without counting against the bonus pool.

With an extra selection at the end of the first round for the free agency loss of Carlos Santana, and a selection in the first Competitive Balance round, the Tribe have three of the first 41 selections. Only the Rays and the Royals have more picks in that span.

With selections at 29, 35, and 41 overall, plus their second round selection at 67 overall, the Tribe will have four picks on the first day of the draft, something they haven’t had since the 2014 Draft, when they had three of the first 38 picks.

Because of these extra picks, the Indians bonus pool will be $9,145,200, which is the 11th largest bonus pool this year. For a team with the second best record last season, that’s a ton of money.

This extra cash will allow the Tribe to sign some of the higher profile prep players that will have high asking prices, including picks in the later rounds.

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