clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

MLB Draft 2015: What are the Cleveland Indians going to do next week?

Are there breadcrumbs to follow?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians promoted Brad Grant to Director of Amateur Scouting at the end of 2007, which means next week's MLB Draft will be his eighth in that position. I thought I'd look back through the early rounds of the last seven drafts, to try and see if anything jumped out at me in terms of what types of players the team has taken. Chris Antonetti took over as GM in 2010, so we could also look to see if things have seem any different, strategically speaking, during those years as well.

To be clear, I'm not interested (at this particular time) in how well those drafts have turned out. There have been some hits and some misses, and a number of picks it is still far to early to say much about. Today I'm just looking at what types of players the team has taken, in terms of pitchers vs. position players, and in terms of high school picks vs. collegiate ones. Those two distinctions create four different categories of players.

This chart shows the number of players* in each different category for those taken by the end of the 10th round in each draft:

Year HS pitcher college pitcher HS hitter college hitter
2008 2 3 0 5
2009 0 6 0 4
2010 1 4 2 3
2011 2 3 2 3
2012 3 3 2 2
2013 2 5 1 1
2014 4 1 3 4

*Note that ten rounds will not alway equal ten players, due to compensation picks and/or the loss of picks due to signing free agents.

When I set out on a project like this, I always hope I'm going to unearth something really notable. Looking at those results though, I'm not really sure there's a lot to be said. Before Antonetti was GM, Grant's drafts seem to have put more stock in college players, but that might just be small-sample noise.

Last year was the first time during Grant's time as head of amateur scouting that the team drafted more position players than pitchers. It was also the first time the team drafted more high school than college players during the first ten rounds. Given that on 2013 both those things were reversed though, I wouldn't call the 2014 the start of a new trend.

Below is the same chart, but showing only players drafted by the end of round 3:

Year HS pitcher college pitcher HS hitter college hitter
2008 1 0 0 2
2009 0 2 0 1
2010 0 1 1 1
2011 1 1 1 0
2012 2 0 0 1
2013 0 1 1 0
2014 2 0 1 2

Again, no real trends that I see. The team has drafted one pitcher and one position player with their first two picks in every one of these seven drafts, so there's that, but high school vs. college seems to have bounced back and forth pretty randomly. There does not seem to be a strong front office philosophy that dictates certain types of players (among these basic categories) be valued above others. If you were to focus on the last three years, most of the top pitching has come from high school, and if that continued for another couple drafts, I could be convinced that there is in fact a plan to target younger arms, but 4 out of 5 pitchers over the course of three drafts seems like too little to conclude anything from.