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Cleveland Indians 2008 draft review

Who were the hits and misses of the Tribe's 2008 draft? The first part of the LGT draft series features Lonnie Chisenhall, TJ House and Roberto Perez.

Roberto Perez — great value in the 33rd round, but what about the other 49 picks?
Roberto Perez — great value in the 33rd round, but what about the other 49 picks?
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2015 MLB draft fast approaching, it's time to start our annual review of drafts gone by. Over the coming weeks we shall be going year-by-year, starting with 2008, Brad Grant's first season as Director of Amateur Scouting. If you want to turn back time for immediate reactions to that draft, you can find the original LGT review here.

1 (29). Lonnie Chisenhall. SS/LHH. Age 19. $1.1MM bonus. 3.4 career fWAR (as of June 1).
Having won 96 games in 2007, the Tribe owned the lowly 29th pick in the 2008 draft, which they used on a JUCO shortstop who was expected to move to 2B or 3B, Lonnie Chisenhall.

Here is Brad Grant's take at the time:

"This was the best player available. Lonnie's been a guy that we've had targeted from the beginning. Picking at 29, it's really difficult to know who's going to be there. There were no surprises above him, [and] he was the best talent on the board at 29.

"The bat is a No.1 tool, his bat is ahead of his power right now. He's a very disciplined hitter; he's got a very patient approach. Right now, he's more of a line-drive, gap hitter, and as he continues to mature, he'll develop power." Source.

Seven(!) years on, in his fifth MLB season, the jury is still out on Lonnie. Will he establish himself as a solid, league average player (as he suggested with a 2.1 fWAR in 2014) or was last year something of a fluke? He certainly seems to have improved defensively this year, but his hitting has left a lot to be desired (68 WRC+).

2 (76). Trey Haley. RHP. Age 19. $1.25MM bonus.
Trey Haley received the largest bonus of anyone in the Indians' 2008 draft, but hasn't worked out. After struggling with his control at Lake County in 2010 (86 walks!), he was switched to a relieving role in 2011 and arrived at AA the following year. Three years later, he has made it as far as ... AA.

A succession of injuries have hampered his progress, but he is currently pitching better than at any time since 2012, the year in which he earned promotion to the 40-man roster, only to be DFA (and clear waivers) the following year. Even so, there are at least a handful of farm relievers ahead of him on the depth chart.

3 (107). Cord Phelps. 2B/SH. Age 19. $327K bonus. -1.4 career fWAR.
Like Chisenhall, Phelps broke through to the majors in 2011, but he didn't hit and was quickly overtaken by Jason Kipnis for the second base job. In all Phelps played 53 games for the Tribe before being DFA and claimed by the Orioles in November 2013. He appeared in three games for the Orioles last year and (after electing free agency) he is now in AAA with the Phillies.

4 (141). David Roberts. RHP. Age 21. $200K bonus.
Roberts only lasted with the Tribe through 2010, having never made it above A+ at Kinston.

5 (171). Zach Putnam. RHP. Age 21. $600K bonus. 0.8 career fWAR.
Having made his MLB debut with the Tribe in 2011, Putnam was traded to the Rockies for Kevin Slowey in January 2012. He was then claimed by the Cubs in November that year and finally signed with the White Sox as a MiLB free agent a year later. He was actually very effective last year (1.98 ERA/3.08 FIP/0.7 fWAR) but seems to have returned to being a replacement-level reliever so far in 2015.

6 (201). Jeremie Tice. 3B/ RHH. Age 21. $120K bonus.
After making it to A+ at Kinston in 2010, Tice's career stalled and he was released by the Tribe in March 2013, having managed just 16 games at the AA level before getting injured the previous year.

7 (231). Tim Fedroff. RF/RHH. Age 21. $725K bonus.
After a slow start to his career, Fedroff was actually a decent outfield prospect for a time. He had a great 2012 season at Columbus (.325/.393/.517), and was then added to the 40-man that November. However, he disappointed the following year and was DFA in September 2013 without ever having made it to the bigs (he did remain with the Indians at AA/AAA through last season). The Marlins signed him to a MiLB contract in January, but he was released after Spring Training.

8 (261). Eric Berger. LHP. Age 19. $125K bonus.
Berger was a fairly fast riser in the minors and actually started five games for Columbus in 2010. However, he was never particularly highly regarded as a prospect and he stalled in the high minors before being traded for AAA catcher Chris Wallace in April 2013. After spells with the Braves and Athletics he most recently pitched in the Mexican League (AAA).

9 (291). Clayton Cook. RHP. Age 17. $125K bonus.
Despite the fact that he has been with the Tribe since 2008, Cook is still only 24. After missing the 2013 season, the former starter returned to A+ as a reliever for 40.1 IP last year. However, he has still not progressed beyond that level, with the exception of two games for Akron at the start of this season.

10 (321). Donnie Webb. CF/SH. Age 22. $100K bonus.
Webb was an older signing who never really panned out. He did play some games at AAA in 2011, but he was never really much of a prospect and was last seen at AA with the Marlins in 2012.

11 (351). Matt Langwell. RHP. Age 19. -0.1 career fWAR.
Having made it to AAA in 2011, Langwell was called up by the Indians in June 2013, and went on to pitch 5.1 innings that month for a 5.06 ERA/4.36 FIP. He was subsequently traded to the Diamondbacks at the start of September as the PTBNL in the Jason Kubel trade and pitched another 8.2 innings for them before being released in March 2014.

14 (441). Carlos Moncrief. RHP.  $150K bonus. Age 19.
Yes, as you probably all know already, Moncrief was drafted as a pitcher prior to being converted to an outfielder in 2010. A fine season at Akron in 2013 propelled him to the 40-man roster, but he seems to have stalled at Columbus. The Tribe is blessed with several other lefty OF prospects (Ramsey, Naquin and Zimmer), so Moncrief faces stiff competition in his quest for the bigs

16 (501). TJ House. LHP. Age 18. $750K bonus. 0.9 career fWAR.
Prior to last year, House seemed to have plateaued at AAA, but he made the most of his MLB opportunity when it came along to become one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2014 season. Things haven't really gone his way so far this year, but he's now working his way back from a stint in the DL and will probably get another chance with the Indians before the season is out.

33 (1011). Roberto Perez. C/RHH. Age 19. $25K bonus. 1.4 career fWAR.
Like House, Perez wasn't highly regarded prior to last season, but after he was called up in July he quickly made the back-up catcher job his own in a breakout season. With Gomes out for six weeks this year, Perez became the starting catcher, a role in which he didn't seem all that comfortable. You can probably ignore his 2013 stats, as he played through Bell's Palsy that year.

Summary

25-man roster: 2 (Lonnie Chisenhall, Roberto Perez)

40-man roster: 2 (Carlos Moncrief, TJ House)

AA: 1 (Trey Haley)

A+: 1 (Clayton Cook)

Played MLB but no longer with Tribe: 3 (Cord Phelps, Zach Putnam, Matt Langwell)

Related articles

2009 Tribe draft

2010 Tribe draft

2011 Tribe draft

2012 Tribe draft

2013 Tribe draft

2014 Tribe draft