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Tribe signs Papi, club's 38th overall Draft pick

Tribe signs Papi, club's 38th overall Draft pick

CLEVELAND -- Mike Papi fell just short of winning the College World Series with Virginia this season. The outfielder can now shift his goals toward striving to reach Major League Baseball's Fall Classic as a member of the Indians.

On Thursday, Cleveland announced that it signed the 21-year-old Papi, who was selected by the club with the 38th overall pick in last month's MLB Draft. With his first professional contract in hand, Papi can begin his tenure with the Tribe at Class A (short-season) Mahoning Valley.

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The Indians were drawn to Papi's blend of power and patience in the batter's box.

"He does have that advanced feel to hit," Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting, said after drafting Papi. "He is extremely patient at the plate. He doesn't expand the strike zone. He has a natural ability to hit the ball and he has the ability to move around the field.

"He can play left, he can play right, he can play first. He brings you a lot of versatility in terms of defense to his game. And, there's power that can develop."

Also on Thursday, the Indians signed both right-hander Micah Miniard (eighth round) and catcher Juan Gomes (37th round). Miniard signed for a bonus of $350,000, which was more than the suggested slot value of $155,800. Gomes -- the younger brother of Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes -- signed a Minor League contract for 2015.

MLB.com's Jim Callis confirmed that Papi received a signing bonus worth $1.25 million, which is below the suggest slot value ($1,495,400) for the 38th pick this year. With Papi signed, Cleveland has reached deals with 29 of its 42 selections, including the team's first 15 picks (covering the first 13 rounds).

This past season with Virginia -- the national runner-up to Vanderbilt -- Papi hit .307 with 11 home runs, 11 doubles, 55 runs and 56 RBIs in 69 games. He posted a .451 on-base percentage and also finished with more walks (61) than strikeouts (46) for the Cavaliers.

International signings: The Indians have signed a pair of international prospects to professional contracts. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez confirmed that Cleveland inked Dominican right-hander Leonardo Rodriguez to a $300,000 deal. According to a tweet from the Dominican Prospect League, the Indians also signed shortstop Oscar Gonzalez to a $300,000 pact.

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

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