The Cleveland Indians wrapped up their 2018 draft class after the 40th round concluded on Wednesday evening.
It’s been a marathon of draft coverage all week, starting on Monday night and continuing through Wednesday. Overall, the Cleveland Indians selected 42 players in the three day extravaganza, adding plenty of talent to the organization.
The Indians needed to add some blue chip talent and then some, to this minor league system, and their strategy was pretty evident as the draft progressed.
You can check out the Indians draft class in its entirety here.
- LHP: 7
- RHP: 16
- C: 4
- SS: 6
- 3B: 1
- OF: 8
The Indians selected 30 college players and 12 high school players. Six of those high school players were selected in the final seven rounds and figure to end up honoring their college commitments. Three of those high school prospects were selected with the Tribe’s first three picks and are expected to begin their professional careers.
Six of the collegiate players were seniors and will be automatic signs for very little money. It’s unfortunate for the players but it saves the Indians a bunch of money and gets them automatic signatures.
After going with high upside, developmental talent with the first three picks, the Indians went hard in the college ranks. Seven of the eight selections on Day 2 were college players. Then, to start Day 3, the Indians went with college athletes with 15 of their first 16 selections. The only exception in that group was outfielder Korey Holland, who has a commitment to the University of Texas, and will be a tough sign. Holland’s status will be one to watch.
The Crown Jewels
As the first pick, Noah Naylor is the crown jewel of this draft class for the Indians. He has a similar profile to current Tribe prospect Francisco Mejia. He has a power bat and is a good hitter, which he pairs with a strong throwing arm. Naylor’s receiving skills are lagging a bit, but his bat will be what gets him to the big leagues.
But Naylor might not be the best pick in the draft when it’s all said and done. Ethan Hankins has a very high ceiling with an 80-grade fastball. If he stays healthy and develops that four pitch arsenal he has, he could be a frontline starter.
I’m also a big fan of the Tribe’s 5th round pick, outfielder Steven Kwan from Oregon State. This guy just knows how to get on base. In three years in Corvallis, Kwan hit .324 with a .429 OBP. He drew 80 walks and struck out just 34 times. That’s not just one season, that’s over three years. And he was the starter, he wasn’t just a bench guy getting few at-bats. This is absurd production. Kwan is your stereotypical leadoff hitter if he can make it to the big leagues, and I think he can.