As we get closer and closer to the MLB Draft tonight, rumors are circulating around a new group of names in play for the Cleveland Indians on the first night of the draft.
In the previous edition of Cleveland Indians draft rumors, the Indians were connected to a large group of prep outfielders with some interest in the top high school catchers and a vague desire to take one of the top prep pitchers if they fell to the 29th pick.
Apparently, there are several other players that the Indians are considering selecting with their four picks on the first day of the draft, many of whom have not been mentioned before with the Tribe.
This is not surprising considering the general uncertainty over who will be available when the 29th pick rolls around tonight.
Who are the Indians targeting?
According to Fangraphs latest mock draft, the Cleveland Indians have outfielders Alek Thomas (MLB Pipeline 41st overall prospect) and Steele Walker (30) as their two main targets. But in the very possible scenario that both of those players are gone, Greyson Jenista of Wichita State (58) has worked his way up the board as another potential outfielder.
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Some of the high school pitching targets have been named by Fangraphs now as well. Reportedly, Ethan Hankins (21), Lenny Torres, Jr. (47), Adam Kloffenstein (43), and Gunnar Hoglund (66) are all potential Indians selections on the first night of the draft. Hankins could be a first round selection while the other three make a lot of sense in the second round with the 67th overall pick.
Hankins and Torres were on our list of players to avoid in this year’s draft, along with Steele Walker. Hankins has been injured this spring, which is a red flag for high school pitchers. Torres is a reliever because he only throws two pitches. Drafting relievers early on is rare because of the smaller impact those players tend to have.
Walker is another lefty outfielder that doesn’t have any standout tools and won’t provide anything that the current crop of minor league outfielders can’t do.
Who else is connected to the Indians?
Two more high school bats have been connected to the Cleveland Indians by Fangraphs. They list shortstop Jonathan Ornelas (87) and outfielder Osiris Johnson (103) as two other players to keep an eye on to potentially cut a below slot deal.
Johnson has been gaining steam as a possible first round pick, putting him in play for the Cleveland Indians at 29 overall. The Minnesota Twins are rumored to be high on Johnson, and the Indians could try to swipe him out from underneath their division rivals.
Fangraphs believes the Indians will pick a college bat at some point. While the Tribe may go heavy on the offense early on this draft, there should be at least one pitcher selected tonight with the team’s first four picks.
The MLB Draft is always full of mystery and intrigue. A lot of the names people hear connected to teams may not be as big of a connection as they thought.