The 2014 MLB draft will take place from June 5 to June 7, with the first two rounds taking place on Thursday, rounds 3 through 10 on Friday, and rounds 11 through 40 on Saturday. The Indians will have four choices to make on the first day of action, putting them in a strong position to continue to bolster the talent level within the organization.
The Indians' first pick will be #21 overall. This will be the first time they don't have a pick in the top 15 since 2008, which is the price they pay for having made the playoffs last season (a tradeoff I will gladly take).
The Indians' second pick will be #31 overall. This is the compensation pick the team received when Ubaldo Jimenez left the team after being made a qualifying offer.
The Indians' third pick will be #38 overall. This is the pick the team won in MLB's "competitive balance" lottery, which was put into place two years ago as part of the CBA. The 10 teams with the lowest revenues and the 10 teams in the smallest markets (there's a lot of overlap between those two lists) each had a chance at one of six draft picks to fall between rounds 1 and 2. The Indians will be the first team to make its third selection of the draft.
The Indians' fourth pick will be #62 overall. This is the team's second-round pick. The Tribe will then have the 21st pick in round 3 to 40.
The Indians haven't had even three picks in the top 62 since 2006 (but they didn't have any picks until #39 that year, by which time they'll already have made three selections this time). The Indians haven't had four picks in the top 62 since 2003, when the departure of Jim Thome left them with a pair of extra early picks. The Tribe used those four picks on Michael Aubrey, Brad Snyder, Adam Miller, Javi Herrera, making it one of the most disastrous drafts in franchise history (those four combined to play 15 games for the Indians). We'll have to hope things go better with this year's early picks.
Generally speaking, I think teams ought to draft whomever they think is the best player available when it's their turn to pick. It's impossible to really know what your needs will be 4 or 5 years down the road, and what seems like an organizational strength right now could seem like a weakness by the time most of this year's draftees are ready to help (among the small portion who will ever be ready). That said, the Indians continue to be short on power pitchers who might be a part of the rotation, and lacking in impact power bats. A strong left-hander starter would make a great target, as would a hitter who profiles to fill an outfield spot or first base, and to hit 30+ home runs.
Over the next three weeks we'll look at some of the particular players the Indians might/should be interested in, review what other sources (such as Baseball America, ESPN, Minor League Ball, etc.) are expecting them to do. We'll look back at recent draft history as well.
For now, what are your hopes for the draft this year? What type(s) of players would you like to see the front office target?