With rounds one and two of the 2020 MLB Draft set kick off tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET, who do the experts think the Indians will take?
The Tribe has three picks tonight with their regular pick at No. 23, a competitive balance pick at No. 36 for being in a small market and their second round pick at No. 56. Will they continue to draft proven college arms like Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Adam Plutko, or will they take a shot on a high schooler who put up slow-pitch softball numbers?
I’ve rounded up as many decent and recent mock drafts as I could find, some also include a mock of the Indians other first round pick at No. 36, so let’s see what they think.
Jim Callis: Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State - If the Brewers select Dingler, the Indians could pivot to Abel, Bitsko or Kelley after taking high school right-hander Daniel Espino at No. 24 last June. Also keep an eye on college righties such as Cecconi, McMahon and Auburn’s Tanner Burns.
Jonathan Mayo: Jared Kelley, RHP, Refugio (Texas) HS - There are some who consider Kelley to be the top prep arm in the class and he could easily go higher than here. The Indians could also look at fellow high school right-hander Nick Bitsko, Dingler if he’s around from the college bat side or one of the remaining college arms.
23. RHP Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East High School (Pennsylvania)
If the Indians have a first round type, it’s high school players who are younger than their peers and have seen their stock slip for non-performance reasons (Ethan Hankins, Brady Aiken, etc.). In Bitsko’s case, it was announced he is graduating a year early back in January, so he is essentially a high school junior. His talent suggests he could be a top 10 pick, but he’s slipping in our mock draft because his high school didn’t play any games prior to the shutdown, and teams didn’t really bear down on him last summer because they expected him to be a 2021 draft prospect. He’s been under-scouted, basically. The Indians have a competitive balance pick (No. 36) and thus a fairly large bonus pool, and can make the money work (i.e. pay Bitsko like a top 10 pick). Our R.J. Anderson ranked Bitsko as the No. 12 prospect in the draft class.April 15 mock pick: RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn
36. LHP Burl Carraway, Dallas Baptist
The Indians will have to skimp on bonuses somewhere to pay Bitsko in the first round and this is as a good place to do it as any. Carraway is the best pure reliever in the draft class and perhaps Cleveland could convince him to sign well-below-slot by promising to put him on the 50-man roster this season, though that would technically be illegal (MLB has rules against promising draftees additional compensation to skirt around the bonus pool). Our R.J. Anderson ranked Carraway as the No. 50 prospect in the draft class.
May 19 mock pick No. 23: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas)
June 1 mock pick No. 23: RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio High School (Texas)
23. Cleveland: Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit (Ore.) HS
I think they’re the most likely team in the first round to take a high school bat, with Abel or Tanner Witt (who gets a boost in their model because he’s still 17) the two leading candidates. Cleveland and the Rangers are the two teams I’ve heard linked to Blaze Jordan, one of the youngest players in the class, a first baseman right now who doesn’t bring his BP power into games
23. Jared Kelley RHP Refugio HS (Texas)
The Indiasns can go in a lot of directions here. Dingler would be an interesting name, but he’s off the board. They’re another team we believe could be interested in Wells and may have done a lot of work on him, and a name like Miami righthander Slade Cecconi wouldn’t be a surprise either. But Cleveland has consistently shown they are willing to snag up the upside prep arms that other teams are a bit more hesitant with, and Jared Kelley fits that to a tee. See: Espino, Daniel; and Hankins, Ethan.
36. Daniel Cabrera OF Louisiana State
After grabbing a high-upside prep pitcher with their first round pick, perhaps the Indians could jump on Cabrera. Some teams believe he’s a better fit in the early second, but his exceptional track record of hitting dates back to his underclass days in high school. That has to give him a benefit in this year’s uncertain environment. His teammate RHP Cole Henry could also go in the comp range, but we don’t have him tied specifically with the Indians and his price tag could be high.