Tribe stays aggressive on Draft's Day 2

Tribe stays aggressive on Draft's Day 2

Tribe stays aggressive on Draft's Day 2
CLEVELAND -- The Indians veered from recent Draft strategies and went for upside over experience with their No. 1 pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, taking high school shortstop Francisco Lindor at No. 8 overall on Monday night.

And when the Draft continued Tuesday, the Tribe continued that trend with its second-round selection of right-hander Dillon Howard, who was plucked out of Searcy High School in Arkansas. The Indians will attempt to woo Howard, a Scott Boras client, away from his verbal commitment to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

"We'll go through the process," amateur scouting director Brad Grant said. "We'll see what happens. He has a scholarship. But we have a great opportunity for him in Cleveland."

Draft Central

The 18-year-old Howard is listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. He went 9-1 with a 0.31 ERA in 12 starts this season, striking out 115 and walking just 25 in 58 innings pitched. He was recently named the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year and last summer was named the MVP at the Connie Mack World Series while playing for the Midland Redskins.

In his junior year at Searcy, Howard went 7-4 with a 2.96 ERA in 54 1/3 innings.

"He has a very good delivery and arm action," Grant said. "He has good life to his fastball, 90 to 95 mph with good sink and good tailing life. He has a very good feel to pitch."

The Tribe has been aggressive in going over the recommended signing bonus at certain slots to infuse talent into the system after recent Drafts. That might be the case again with Howard.

The Indians weren't sure Howard would still be available at No. 67 overall. While the first round of the Draft can often be forecast because of the sheer amount of attention placed on the most prominent amateurs available, this thing gets tricky on Day 2.

"The hardest pick," Grant said, "is the second-round pick."

And though it doesn't get the attention of No. 1, it's nonetheless an important pick. So the Indians took a big leap of faith that the unpolished Howard will not only sign but continue to grow under their tutelage.

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at noon ET Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

This is how the rest of Tuesday's selections went for the Tribe, as the Draft continued through Round 30.

Round 3, Jake Sisco, RHP, Merced College:
The 19-year-old Sisco, listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, went 11-1 with a 1.66 ERA in 15 games, including 14 starts, this season. He led state junior college pitchers in wins, innings (108 1/3) and strikeouts (124) and helped Merced claim the Central Valley Conference title as a freshman. He was the CVC pitcher of the year and was also a NorCal All-American and pitcher of the year. The Giants took Sisco in the 37th round of last year's Draft after he went 9-3 with a 1.00 ERA and 114 strikeouts for Grace Davis High School in California, but he opted not to sign.

"We like the size and the power behind it," Grant said.

Round 4, Mark Lowery, C, James Madison University:
The Colonial Athletic Association player of the year and Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball First Team All-American hit .359 with 22 doubles, eight triples, 24 homers and 91 RBIs in 61 games. He was one of 13 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award given annually to the top collegiate catcher, and he was one of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top collegiate player overall. The 6-foot, 200-pound Lowery is a left-handed hitter.

"He has a very good approach at the plate," Grant said, "a line-drive-oriented swing. And he has plus arm strength behind the plate."

Round 5, Will Roberts, RHP, Virginia:
Roberts is 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, but his repertoire is based more on command than power. He threw a perfect game earlier this year and graduated from school in just three years. Roberts, 20, went 11-1 with a 1.61 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, striking out 90 and walking just 12 in 95 innings. He went 18-1 in his three-year career at Virginia.

"We like his ability to throw strikes," Grant said. "He's at 92-93 [mph] but he's a very good strike-thrower."

Round 6, Bryson Myles, OF, Stephen F. Austin:
A standout linebacker on his high school football team, the 6-foot, 225-pound Myles has speed in his swing path and speed on the basepaths. Myles, 21, hit .411 with 11 doubles, eight homers, 36 RBIs and 53 stolen bases in 68 attempts this season.

Round 7, Eric Haase, C, Divine Child (Mich.) High School:
The second catcher taken by the Tribe in the first seven rounds, Haase, 18, has committed to attend Ohio State University, despite hailing from Michigan. He is an athletic talent with power, speed and defensive skills.

Round 8, Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Gilbert (Ariz.) High School:
Continuing their early trend of targeting prep talent with athletic upside, the Indians went with the lefty Tarpley. He has been clocked in the low 90s with the early makings of a plus breaking ball, but he missed a good portion of this season while recovering from a torn meniscus. Tarpley, 18, was his team's cleanup hitter, but his future is likely on the mound.

Round 9, Jordan Smith, 3B, St. Cloud State:
The 20-year-old Smith, who just wrapped up his sophomore season, has a plus arm that has allowed him to spend some time at third base while also racking up assists when he's in the outfield. He hit .382 with seven homers, 22 doubles and 57 RBIs in 54 games this season.

Round 10, Jeffrey Johnson, RHP, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo:
Working primarily as the Cal Poly closer, Johnson was 2-0 with five saves and a 1.63 ERA in 18 appearances this season. He struck out 40 and walked nine in 27 2/3 innings.

Round 11, Luis DeJesus, RHP, Angelina College:
If Angelina College sounds familiar, that's because it's where Josh Tomlin pitched before advancing on to Texas Tech. The 19-year-old DeJesus tossed a no-hitter in his first collegiate start against Galveston. He had a 1.99 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 45 1/3 innings in Region XIV East Zone conference play, earning a spot on the all-conference list.

Round 12, Steven Sides, RHP, Samford University:
Listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Sides is a power reliever who received a medical redshirt last season after having Tommy John surgery. He returned this year to post a 1.78 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 13 walks in 25 1/3 innings over 22 appearances.

Round 13, Zachary MacPhee, 2B, Arizona State:
MacPhee, who is 5-foot-8, 172 pounds, was the PAC-10 player of the year in his sophomore season but had a pedestrian junior year. He hit .276 with a .355 slugging percentage and .418 on-base percentage and 26 stolen bases in 33 attempts in 58 games.

Round 14, Cody Anderson, RHP, Feather River College:
A year after the Rays took him in the 17th round, the 20-year-old Anderson goes to the Indians in the 14th. He was the third reliever taken by the Tribe in this Draft. He had a 2.15 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 18 walks in 46 innings over 17 appearances this season.

Round 15, Todd Hankins, 2B, Seminole State College:
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Hankins hit .388 with nine homers, 12 doubles and five triples in 46 games this season. He swiped 34 bags in 41 tries.

Round 16, Ryan Merritt, LHP, McLennan Community College:
Merritt, 19, just wrapped up his freshman season with the Highlanders after being named second-team all-state as a senior in high school in Celina, Texas.

Round 17, Kevin Brady, RHP, Clemson:
Had he not suffered a forearm injury early this season (his sophomore year), Brady likely would have gone much higher in the Draft. He has a mid-90s fastball and a strong curve. He was limited to just 10 appearances this year, with only three starts before the injury. After the injury, he pitched out of the bullpen. All told, he went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA, striking out 33 and walking one in 23 1/3 innings.

"He's going to throw in the Cape Cod League this summer," Grant said. "He still has some upside because of the injury. We'll see how he progresses."

Round 18, Shawn Armstrong, RHP, East Carolina University:
The 20-year-old Armstrong is listed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. He was 3-1 with a 4.63 ERA in 19 appearances, including six starts, for East Carolina this season. He struck out 50 and walked 22 in 44 2/3 innings.

Round 19, Shawn Morimando, LHP, Ocean Lakes (Va.) High School:
In addition to being the second consecutive pick of the Tribe named Shawn, Morimando has committed to attend Armstrong's college, East Carolina.

Round 20, Dillon Peters, LHP, Cathedral (Ind.) High School:
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Peters was recently named the 2010-11 Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year. He has signed with the University of Texas and took a 1.71 ERA and 118 strikeouts into last weekend's regional semifinals, where he tossed a two-hit shutout.

Round 21, Cody Elliott, OF, Ball State University:
Elliott also pitched for the Cardinals, but he was drafted as a position player. He was second-team All-Mid-American Conference this season, batting .325 with three homers, 12 doubles, five triples and 38 RBIs. He stole 14 bases in 19 attempts.

Round 22, Matthew Reckling, RHP, Rice University:
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Reckling went 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 17 appearances, including 16 starts, this season. Control appears to be an issue, as Reckling struck out 96 but walked 48 in 78 1/3 innings.

Round 23, Cody Allen, RHP, High Point University:
Draftniks might recognize Allen's name from last year, when the Indians took him in the 16th round. After opting not to sign, his stock fell in his junior season, in which he went 4-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 starts. He struck out 89 and walked 29 in 83 2/3 innings.

Round 24, Taylor Sparks, 3B, St. John Bosco (Calif.) High School:
Another high-upside prep position player, Sparks is committed to UC Irvine. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Sparks has power from the right-hand side.

Round 25, Kevin Kramer, 3B, Turlock (Calif.) High School:
The 17-year-old Kramer is committed to UCLA and is likely to opt to go to school. He hit .350 with 30 RBIs and 33 walks this season.

Round 26, Austin Diemer, CF, Rocklin (Calif.) High School:
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Diemer hit .415 with a .522 on-base percentage and .596 slugging percentage in his senior season.

Round 27, Evan Frazar, SS, Galveston College:
Frazar hit .331 with two homers, five doubles and two triples over 121 at-bats in his sophomore season. He swiped 22 bases.

Round 28, Tyler Nurdin, LHP, Temple College:
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Nurdin just completed his freshman season for the Leopards. He went 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 12 appearances, striking out 50 and walking 10 in 67 innings.

Round 29, Jared Ruxer, RHP, Lawrence Central (Ind.) High School:
Ruxer has committed to Louisville. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds.

Round 30, John Polonius, SS, Genesee Community College:
The West Virginia recruit hit .370 this season. He is a native of Curacao.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.