Mike Papi has had a busy summer since he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in June. The outfielder was the Tribe’s competitive balance pick at #38 overall, and since the draft, he’s played in the College World Series championship with the University of Virgina, and signed with the Indians for a $1.25 million dollar bonus on July 3 as one of the final picks to sign with Cleveland.
— Michael Papi (@Hoos_urPapi) July 3, 2014
Papi was started in the New York-Penn League with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (along with intriguing catching prospect Francisco Mejia and 2014 top-pick Bradley Zimmer), but received an aggressive promotion after just two games, and is now in low-A with the Lake County Captains. Chris Mellen, one of the scouts on staff at Baseball Prospectus, was impressed with what he saw in Papi:
The left-handed hitter possesses a shorter stroke with a quick trigger driven by explosive hands. This leads to strong bat-to-ball ability. Given Papi’s bat speed and efficient path to the ball, I see the swing translating well against good velocity as his experience builds. The outfielder flashes loose hands that naturally adjust to keep the head of the bat inside the ball. While the swing is a little on the flat side, he should learn to muscle up on offerings to produce solid-average power down the road. Around 15 home runs or so does not seem out of the question. This is a bat-first player, though, which puts pressure on the bat developing to full potential. The skills in the outfield are limited, and left field is the best fit. Papi piqued my interest in the first look, and is definitely a player who can hit his way to a projection as a regular.
The full article can be found here with write ups on some other minor leaguers (BPro requires a subscription for most of its content but it’s worth the cost), and Papi only has about five professional games under his belt, but this is nonetheless encouraging to hear about the Tribe’s high draft pick.
And if you’re curious, Wahoo’s on First Staff Writer Matt Bretz made this handy chart of the Indians top-10 2014 draft picks, and how much they signed for (and what the original slot was):
|9||278||Alexis Pantoja||SS||HS (PR)||$144,600||$144,600||$0|