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How did Justus Sheffield and the Indians' other new pitching prospects do in 2014?

The next stop in our 2014 in Review series is a look at how the season turned out for each of the Tribe's top pitchers from June's draft.

This is Sam Hengtes... He might be pretty good. * PHOTO
This is Sam Hengtes... He might be pretty good. * PHOTO
Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians selected five pitchers in the first ten round of June's draft. Here's brief review of how each player did in his first (brief) minor league stint:

Justus Sheffield (1st round, #31 overall)

An 18-year-old lefty, Sheffield went to Arizona and appeared in 8 games for the Tribe's rookie league team there. His outing were each brief (by design), and so he pitched only 20.2 innings. In that time he allowed 11 earned runs, giving him an ERA of 4.79, but he did better than that line looks. He didn't allow any home runs and he struck out 29 batters. On August 16th he pitched 4 shutout innings, striking out 10 while allowing only two men to reach base.

Grant Hockin (2nd round, #61 overall)

An 18-year-old righty, Hockin also went to Arizona, where he pitched 21 innings in 9 games. He had 19 strikeouts, 4 walks, and 1 home run allowed, with a 3.86 ERA and 3.56 FIP.

Sam Hentges (4th round, #128 overall)

An 18-year-old lefty, Hentges went to Arizona and pitched 13 innings in 8 games, with 10 strikeouts, 5 walks, only 4 hits allowed (no home runs), and 1 earned run, for a 0.69 ERA and 3.65 FIP.

Julian Merryweather (5th round, #158 overall)

A 23-year-old righty, Merryweather went to Mahoning Valley, the Tribe' more advance short-season team. (This was on account of him being a 4-year college player, not a pitcher coming straight out of high school.) He threw 46.2 inning for the Scrappers, with 35 strikeouts, 13 walks, 2 home rund allowed, a 3.66 ERA, and 3.53 FIP. Sheffield signed for $1.6 million, and the other three pitchers listed here all required above-slot money. Merryweather signed for just $20,000. The Indians signed him to save money from their slot pool for other picks, and while he was a 5th round pick, he's not really viewed as a 5th round talent.

Micah Miniard (8th round, #248 overall)

An 18-year-old righty, Miniard went to Arizona and pitched 12 innings in 6 games. He struck out only 8, while walking 5 and allowing 2 home runs, giving him an ERA of 5.25 and a FIP of 6.11.


Outlook for 2015:

I favor being more aggressive with pitching prospects (as compared to position players), and Sheffield might already deserve to be rated as the Tribe's best. Rather then sending him to Mahoning Valley next year, I'd prefer to see Sheffield go directly to Lake County, and be open to promoting him to Lynchburg (High-A) before the end of the season.

The other four guys could probably all start at Mahoning Valley, but hopefully a couple of them will play their way up to Lake County before the end of 2015.