Yes, today really is day one of the 2019 MLB draft.
While the MLB draft doesn’t receive the fanfare and hoopla of the NFL or NBA drafts, it’s still important. The Indians in particular rely on successful drafts to keep top talent in Cleveland at a discount.
With rounds one and two of the draft set kick off tonight at 7:00 p.m., who do the experts think the Indians will take?
The Tribe has just two picks today. Will they take a shot on a top prep school prospect, or will they look for an established college player that can be fast-tracked to the big leagues?
I’ve rounded up as many decent and recent mock drafts as I could find, so let’s see what they think:
24. Indians: Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State
If things play out like this, the Indians could be looking at a choice between college hitters like Wilson and Michael Busch. Prep pitching like Malone or Daniel Espino might also be options.
Keith Law (ESPN insider subscription required)
24. Cleveland Indians: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS
I have heard this rumor for a month now, although that probably makes it seem more like a lock than it actually is. I’ve also heard the Indians with prep shortstop Kyren Paris, who might go in the comp round if he doesn’t go here or with Tampa
Pick: SS Will Wilson, NC State
Should Michael Busch still be on the board, the Indians would likely grab him. Since that is not the case in our mock draft, we have Cleveland going with Wilson, a do-it-all college infielder who seems to be Plan B for lots of teams in the back-half of the first round. Texas A&M’s Braden Shewmake and Clemson’s Logan Davidson are possible alternatives, though it’s not out of the question that the Indians go for a high school kid with a big arm here. Daniel Espino (Georgia) and J.J. Goss (Texas) could be in that mix.
24. Cleveland Indians – Maurice Hampton, CF, Memphis University HS (TN)
South Florida prep SS Yordys Valdes is a target for their second pick, while Michael Busch, NorCal prep SS Kyren Paris, and Will Wilson also fit.
24/7 Sports (Jeff Ellis)
24 Cleveland Indians Brooks Lee, SS, San Luis Obispo (CA)
Sleeper Kyren Paris, SS, Freedom HS (CA)
There are points where it feels like I have spent too much time analyzing the Indians. I can see a wide net of possible choices for them here. The three types are young for the class players, pitchers with advanced secondaries, and California or cold weather up the middle talent. Brooks Lee reminds me of a plus version of recent high pick, Tyler Freeman. He is a California kid who is the polished son of a coach and has an advanced approach at the plate. He is not young for the class, nor is he older. I have a list of a dozen names that make a high degree of sense to the Indians here and in the second round. Brooks Lee is a safe choice and the type of hitter they have had more success with recently in Freeman and Jones, who were players who could control the zone and show an advanced approach. Another California shortstop one has to mention is Kyren Paris, who is one of the youngest players in this class. The prep middle infield depth feels too good for the Indians to pass on.