After selecting five-tool position player Clint Frazier on Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft, the Indians found themselves taking pitcher after pitcher during Day 2. Of the club's eight picks on Friday, seven of them wound up being hurlers, starting with Louisville right-hander Dace Kime.
The Indians nabbed Kime in the third round with pick No. 79. They followed up by taking a pair of left-handers in Kyle Crockett (fourth round, No. 111) from the University of Virginia and Florida high schooler Sean Brady (fifth round, No. 141). Cleveland then selected right-handed high schooler Casey Shane (sixth round, No. 171) and southpaw Kenny Matthews (seventh round, No. 201) out of Riverside City College in California. Next, the Indians took UC Riverside righty Trevor Frank (eighth round, No. 231) and Thomas Pannone (ninth round, No. 261), a lefty from the College of Southern Nevada. To close out the day, the Indians picked infielder Ross Kivett (10th round, No. 291), who attended local St. Edward High School in Lakewood before moving on to Kansas State.
As for Kime, his career at Louisville has been a good one, and that's obviously what led to his status in this year's Draft. The junior, who went to the same high school as Chad Billingsley and Jon Niese, went 5-1 with a 3.08 ERA through his first 24 appearances (seven starts) of the year, heading into the NCAA tournament. He also struck out 75 hitters in 61 1/3 innings and recorded one save.
Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting, described Kime's arsenal as having "a solid-average fastball up to 94 [mph], an average breaking ball, average changeup and a cutter, as well."
Kime, 21, spent much of his career at Louisville as a reliever but was moved into the rotation in late April. Scouts believe he has the potential to remain a starter as a professional, and Grant agrees. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s, and he mixes it with a curveball, cutter and changeup, as Grant pointed out.
"We see his upside as a starter," Grant said. "I think as we start to stretch him out, he's got a chance to be a pretty good rotation guy for us."
As a sophomore, Kime was 1-0 with a 4.87 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings out of the Louisville bullpen. He earned All-America, All-State and All-League honors in his career at Defiance (Ohio) High School, where he also lettered in football and basketball.
Kime uses his powerful 6-foot-5, 219-pound frame to get a good downhill angle and induces plenty of ground balls as a result.
The Pirates drafted Kime out of Defiance in the eighth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, but he chose to attend Louisville instead of signing.
Kime should feel right at home in Cleveland, which is only about 2 1/2 hours away from Defiance.
Grant noted that the deadline for signing Draft picks is 5 p.m. ET on July 12. He said that, while it might appear as though Cleveland specifically hunted for pitchers on Day 2, that wasn't quite the case.
"It wasn't by design," Grant said. "I think it probably ended up being the strength of the draft class and just something that fell that way. It wasn't something that was necessarily targeted. But, to walk out with that much pitching, we were pretty excited."
Day 3 of the Draft continues with Rounds 11-40 streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In the pipeline: For the second Draft in a row, the Indians focused on pitching in the early rounds, an area of the organization that could be considered lacking following the 2011 trade that sent highly touted prospects Alex White and Drew Pomeranz to Colorado as part of a four-player package in exchange for Ubaldo Jimenez.
The organization doesn't have many high-ceiling starting pitching prospects after Trevor Bauer, a righty at Triple-A Columbus who has a 2.76 ERA in three starts for Cleveland this season. Of the club's top 20 prospects, only six are pitchers. Aside from Bauer (No. 2), that list includes righty Mitch Brown (No. 5), Danny Salazar (No. 8), Dillon Howard (No. 10), Scott Barnes (No. 14) and Kieran Lovegrove (No. 16). Barnes and Salazar are also at Triple-A Columbus.
On Friday, Cleveland selected seven pitchers -- four southpaws and three right-handers. Three were college hurlers, two came from junior colleges and two were selected out of high schools.
"I think we balanced it up extremely well," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.