The Indians had a busy day on Thursday, holding 4 of the first 61 picks in this year’s Rule 4 draft. With those picks, they took 2 college hitters and 2 high school pitchers. Here’s a quick look the Indians’ first four picks.
No. 1 (21st overall): OF Bradley Zimmer, University of San Francisco (6’5″, 205 lbs) TWITTER: @BZimmer5
Bradley’s older brother Kyle Zimmer was a first-round pick in 2012, going fourth overall to the Royals as a pitcher. Bradley, however, is known as perhaps the best pure hitter in this year’s draft. He doesn’t put too many balls over the fence, but his left-handed stroke is advanced and he’s said to have great pitch recognition. Although he bats left-handed, he throws with his right and is said to have a strong throwing arm that will profile well in right field if he can’t stick in center in the majors. He has plus speed that helped him steal 11 bases in 57 games in the Cape Cod league. Although he only hit 7 home runs in that span, his body is said to have enough strength to produce plus power if he can elevate some balls with his quick swing.
No. 2 (31st overall): LHP Justus Sheffield, Tullahoma High School (5’10”, 196 lbs) TWITTER: @Topsheff42
Sheffield was committed to Vanderbilt, but the Indians were able to sign him for slightly under slot at $1.6 million. He’s got good control for his age and is said to have at least three pitches that are likely to develop into solid major-league offerings. Although he lacks size, he has a powerful frame that lets him touch 94 on the radar gun as a high schooler.
No. 3 (38th overall): OF Mike Papi, University of Virginia (6’3″, 195 lbs) TWITTER: @Hoos_urPapi
Although Papi is said to profile as a first baseman in pro baseball due to his below average speed. However, he has excellent plate discipline and pitch recognition with a polished swing that produces line drives and could develop into some solid power. He’s certainly one of the better left-handed bats in a deep draft. Much like fellow Tribe draftee Bradley Zimmer, he bats left-handed but throws right.
No. 4 (61st overall): RHP Grant Hockin, Damien High School (6’3″, 195 lbs) TWITTER: @grant_hockin
Hockin is the grandson of major-league hall of famer Harmon Killebrew, so if ancestry has any bearing on talent he’ll be a good ballplayer. His lean frame supports his clean and simple delivery, mixing a 92 MPH fastball with a slider and a dirty changeup. In other drafts he might have gone earlier, but since the 2014 pool ran so deep the Tribe was able to get good value on him in the second round.