April 17, 2014

Tribe prospect Clint Frazier: “I want to be like Mike Trout”

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Clint Frazier is 19 years of age. He has freckles and an awkward, kid-like smile. He has an incredible head of red hair. His teammates greeted his arrival by sporting Ronald McDonald wigs. He’s an agile outfielder who can also hit for power. He possesses incredible bat speed, and has used being pitched around to his advantage. Oh, and he wants to be the next Mike Trout.

In a recent interview with FanGraphs’ David Laurila, Frazier discusses a variety of items, including how close he was to being a member of the Red Sox, how he spent a good portion of high school trying to impress scouts, and the portions of his game he has worked on since being selected fifth-overall by the Tribe in 2013.

In high school, I’d have had a much higher batting average if I’d learned to hit the ball everywhere. In pro ball, I worked the first five months on trying to hit the ball up the middle and to the opposite field. The majority of my base hits this year have been opposite field. That’s something I worked hard on. I didn’t want to be thought of as a dead-pull hitter. I wanted to change opinions and maximize my ability by using the whole field. I’m more of a threat if I hit the ball all over the place.

I asked my coaches what type of hitter they thought I’d develop into, and they said someone who can hit .300, steal 30 or 40 bags, and also hit 30 homers. I want to be like Mike Trout. I want to be a guy that hurts you in every part of the game. I don’t want to be a guy that’s known for striking out a lot and hitting a lot of home runs with a low average. I want to be one of the best hitters to step into the box, and [good] in the outfield and on the bases.

Frazier was named Gatorade National Player of the Year after hitting .438 in his final season at Loganville [Ga.] High School. After signing with the Indians, he went on to hit .297/.362/.506, in 196 plate appearances, in the Arizona Summer League.

He’s gained roughly 10 pounds of muscle since being acquired, going from 183 to 195 pounds, and has managed to marry his new muscle with his already plus-plus bat speed, increasing the weight of his bat from 31 ounces to 32.5 ounces. Upon being drafted, our own Jacob wanted to clear the air, stating that comparing Frazier to Trout—arguably the game’s best all-around player—would be presumptuous and borderline unfair to a kid who had yet taken a swing at the major league level. Hearing Frazier consider Trout to be a goal rather than a peer, however, is something that’s tough to not get excited about.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

While We’re Waiting… Andrew Bynum’s new home in Cleveland

While We’re Waiting is the daily morning link roundup that WFNY has been serving up for breakfast for the last several years. We hope you enjoy the following recent collection of yummy and nutritious Cleveland sports-related articles. Anything else to add? Email us at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Is another change of scenery enough for the All-Star center to turn his career around? “Andrew Bynum smiled and spoke confidently. That’s probably more than Bynum did last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, and for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s a pretty good start.” [Sam Amico/FOX Sports Ohio] [Read more...]

MLB News: Indians receive third pick in competitive balance draft lottery

The Cleveland Indians received the third overall pick in Round A of today’s MLB Draft competitive balance lottery. Installed last year as a part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the new system awards tradeable early draft picks to franchises that are lower down on the baseball revenue and market size totem pole.

Cleveland’s new pick will likely be somewhere in the mid-to-late 30s immediately following the first round, depending upon other compensation items leading up to the 2014 MLB Draft next summer.

This past year, the team was awarded a Round B slot — directly after the second round — but forfeited the pick with their late winter signing of Michael Bourn. After taking Clint Frazier at No. 5 overall, the team’s next pick was No. 79 overall (Dace Kime), since they also forfeited their original second-rounder with the signing of Nick Swisher. (Top-10 overall picks are protected from possible loss with free agent signings.)

The competitive balance lottery has been ridiculed widely for assisting actually successful teams, as clubs such as the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles — all 90+ win teams in 2012 — also received new picks today. The selections differ from any draft picks in the past in that they can be traded, giving all of these franchises an extra asset to use in the next few weeks of trade discussions.

MLB.com’s draft expert Jonathan Mayo had a great article earlier today examining the process of the competitive balance lottery and the results from the 2013 draft last month. Most notably, Kansas City used the first slot, the No. 34 overall pick, to give a huge over-slot bonus to LHP Sean Manaea, labeled as the best college lefty available.

[Related: The Indians and the 2013 Trade Deadline: Decisions Abound]

Indians Sign Top Pick Clint Frazier

The fifth pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, third baseman Clint Frazier, has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Indians, according to his own Twitter feed.

Frazier is an 18-year-old high school prospect out of Loganville High School in Georgia. The 6-foot-1, 190 pounder hit .485 with 17 homers and 45 RBI this past season. Frazier had recently converted from the hot corner to center field, and it’s possible that he could stay there.

Per Jim Callis of Baseball America, Frazier will get a $3.5 million signing bonus from the Indians. That is approximately $787,000 below the expected slot line. It was reported that Frazier had committed to the University of Georgia prior to the draft.

Frazier was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year this year, and his bat speed made him the best high-school prospect in this draft. Baseball America had them at #4 on their Top 100 list on draft day.

Related: Indians Shoot For Stars With Potential Laden Clint Frazier

MLB Draft: Indians add another arm in right-hander Casey Shane

The Cleveland Indians have selected their fourth pitcher out of five players selected, using their sixth-round pick (171st overall) on Casey Shane, a right-handed arm out of Burleson, Texas.

Shane is listed at 6-feet-4-inches and is said to boast a solid sinking fastball-change-up combination. The 19-year-old already touches 93 with his fastball, one which scouts say provides “heavy sink and run.” He mixes in a 71-73 mph curveball, an upper-70s slider and a 80-82 mph change up. Per MaxPreps, Shane has held opponents to a .143 batting average, striking out 77 in just 39 1/3 innings pitched and not allowing a single home run. Some scouts are concerned about recent weight gain which has negatively impacted his velocity, but Shane was recently named to the Rawlings All-American First Team.

Baseball America ranks Shane as the 235th-best prospect, but one specific prospect outlook considers him one of the best kept secrets in the draft due to his lack of hype. Shane is a commit to Texas A&M, a school that has reportedly had recent success in getting their commits to follow through. Given slot, the Indians may be able to offer the right-hander more than he had anticipated.

[Related: Indians shoot for the stars with potential-laden Clint Frazier]

MLB Draft: Indians select left-hander Sean Brady in fifth round

In the fifth round (141st overall) of the 2013 MLB first-year player draft, the Cleveland Indians selected left-handed pitcher Sean Brady from Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral, FL.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 185-pound lefty went 7-1 with a 0.68 ERA . In51 2/3 innings, Brady recorded 104 strikeouts for the District 6A-13 runner-up Ida Baker Bulldogs. The 19-year old University of Florida commit was recently named the Fort Myers News-Press All-Area Baseball Player of the Year in addition to being named the Florida Athletic Coaches Association District 18 Most Valuable Player.

Baseball America ranked Brady as the  184st-best prospect in the 2013 draft and listed him (along with two others) as having the best command of all high school prospects. Far from a power arm, Brady’s fastball clocks in between the high-80s and low-90s. He was expected to be a third-round pick by many publications.

“He’s a good one,” Colorado Rockies’ Florida scouting supervisor John Cedarburg recently said of Brady. “He has three good pitches, a really nice curveball with power and shape and down action. His stuff sets him apart. There’s going to be some righties that will have more power, but not as polished a pitcher. He’s a really polished high school pitcher.”

[Related: Indians shoot for the stars with potential-laden Clint Frazier]

MLB Draft: Indians select left-handed closer Kyle Crockett in fourth round

The Cleveland Indians have selected left-handed pitcher Kyle Crockett with their fourth-round pick (No. 111 overall) in the 2013 first-year player draft.

Crockett, the closer for the Virginia Cavaliers, enters this weekend’s NCAA super regional with a 4-1 record, a 1.68 ERA and 12 saves on the season. Last weekend the 6-foot-2-inch, 170-pound southpaw was named Most Outstanding Player of the Charlottesville Regional after picking up a pair of two-inning saves, where he gave up no runs and struck out seven. On the season, Crockett has 68 strikeouts and just six walks in 53 2/3 innings pitched

Baseball America ranked Crockett as the 103rd-best prospect in this year’s draft.

At the recent ACC Tournament, Florida State head coach Mike Martin said of Crockett “he won’t be in the minors long”.

[Related: Indians shoot for the stars with potential-laden Clint Frazier]

MLB Draft: Indians select right-handed pitcher Dace Kime in third round

The Cleveland Indians have selected right-handed pitcher Dace Kime with their third-round selection (No. 79 overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft.

Kime, whose name rhymes with “race time”, is a 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pounder hails from Defiance, OH. Kime was drafted by the Pittsbugh Pirates in the eighth-round of 2010, but opted to go to college where he currently attends the University of Louisville. The big righty boasts a record of 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 25 games, including eight starts. He has struck out 79 batters and walked 20 in 66 innings pitched. During his entire tenure with Louisville, Kime has fanned 146 in 131 2/3 innings.

Kime spent most of his junior season in the Cardinals’ bullpen, but moved into the rotation to fill in for an injured teammate.  Baseball America ranked Kime as the No. 92 prospect in the draft, second of all prospects out of Kentucky. The assigned slot value for the No. 79 pick is reportedly $692,000. Given Kime’s national ranking, the Indians may try to sign him for less.

The eighth-ranked Louisville Cardinals play this coming weekend in the NCAA Super Regional against Vanderbilt.

[Related: Indians shoot for the stars with potential-laden Clint Frazier]

Indians shoot for the stars with potential-laden Clint Frazier

clint frazierLet’s get this out of the way: Georgia high school outfielder Clint Frazier is not the next Mike Trout.

Of course, Trout was the No. 25 selection in 2009, a high-schooler out of New Jersey. The 6-foot-1, 220-lb.-monster of an athlete is an absolute star and posted one of the most dominant rookie seasons in MLB history last year. There’s a reason why he was in the MVP discussion with a Triple Crown winner. He has plus-plus speed, elite overall hitting and plays a dominant center, one of the game’s most prized positions.

But enough talk about Trout. Let’s get chatting about the new most famous red-head in Cleveland. Frazier, the Indians’ pick at No. 5 in the 2013 MLB Draft, was the best raw power prospect this year. He’s not that big at 6-foot-1, 190 lbs. But he’s described as being an all-out, compact and lean athlete who has plus-plus bat speed – among the best scouts have seen in a long, long time. [Read more...]

Prospect ranking turnover shows that Indians might still be bad at drafting

Brad Grant, Indians Director of Amateur Scouting

For the last few years, since making the historic C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee trades, the Cleveland Indians have been banking on an improved minor league development system. This improved development had two key aspects: making the most out of the incoming prospects from those two mega-deals and drafting better than the early part of the 2000s.

Quite early on, Indians fans gave up hope on the returns from those two deals. In fact, only 4.5 years since the Sabathia trade and 3.5 since the Lee deal, only Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco figure to be cogs on the 2013 Indians, while the futures of back-ups Matt LaPorta, Jason Donald and Lou Marson are in jeopardy.

So moving forward, the key had to be efficient drafting. And while it’s a bit too early to tell, obviously, on draft picks from 2008-12, we can begin to make some conclusions based on what major analysts are saying. If prospects are performing to their expectation and draft position, we’d see them regularly in Indians prospect rankings, but if not or if they performed inconsistently, we’d likely see abnormal turnover in the rankings from year-to-year and analyst-to-analyst.

And as we approach 2013, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. And that’s not good news at all for the future of the Indians franchise. [Read more...]

Playoff Baseball and What the Indians Did Wrong

The past few nights have been tremendous fun for baseball fans around the world. Obviously, the results did not go in the underdog’s favor, but several extra-inning games and a record 4/4 five-game division series make for tons of drama.

Just last season, fans would be amazed by the fact that the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics even made it to the playoffs, let alone pushed historical champions to the brink.1 Pre-2012, many would have considered the Cleveland Indians to be at least better than the latter two teams on that playoff exit list, but they faltered to an abysmal 68-94 finish.

Yes, all three of those surprising teams had their seasons end in the last couple days. But at least they made it to the October showdown. That’s something the Indians haven’t done since 2007 and the midges. So, despite annoying little insects, what do these three teams from meager backgrounds have that the Indians don’t? Well, three common trends are great leadership, great drafting and fantastic pitching. Let’s explore a bit more: [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Cincinnati doesn’t count as an underdog, they’ve been too good recently. Although as a fellow Ohio baseball fan, you have to feel for those fans — they are some diehards. []

Indians Awarded 2nd-Round Pick in Competitive Balance Lottery

The Cleveland Indians received an additional, tradeable second-round pick today for next year’s MLB draft as a part of the league’s new competitive balance lottery.

An aspect of the the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the lottery was held between the 10 smallest-market and the 10 lowest-revenue teams. Up for grabs were six picks at the conclusion of the first round. Then, a second lottery was held between those remaining teams and any others that receive revenue-sharing from the league, and this was for six picks after the second round.

Cleveland was one of 13 teams (several intersections, obviously) in today’s drawings, with Detroit being the only team of the bunch added just to the second lottery. According to the MLBDraft Twitter account, the Indians received the second selection of compensation round B, set to take place after the second round of next June’s draft. Kansas City won the first selection of compensation round A.

This new selection also can be traded, but such a trade must take place during this season or next, and not during the offseason, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. This could add an extra dimension to any upcoming trade talks over the next few weeks.

[Related: WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 7/18]

MLB Draft: Cleveland Indians Sign Top 16 Picks, 22 of First 24

The deadline to sign players from last month’s MLB Draft was this evening at 5 p.m., and the Cleveland Indians announced a few high-profile signings in the final day. Although final-day signings were way down this year compared to the past (hat tip to Baseball America’s Jim Callis), three new Indians joined the organization in the last 24 hours.

Last night, the Tribe reached an $765K agreement with fourth-rounder OF D’Vone McClure, one of the highest-potential guys they picked in the draft. The Arkansas high school product has good speed, a positive bat and projects to make a big impact down the road. Also yesterday, the team signed RHP Caleb Hamrick for $185K. Hamrick, an eight-round pick, is a Texas high school product who has a low-90s fastball and a possible plus-slider.

The last guy to sign today was OF Logan Vick, the team’s 11th-rounder out of Baylor. He was first-team All-Big 12 this year, and the switch-hitter projects to have good speed and contact ability, but not much power. He reportedly signed for $125K. Overall, that means that Cleveland was able to sign all of its first 16 picks, 22 of its first 24, and 26 out of 40 overall.

 [Related: The Skinny on Tyler Naquin, Your CF of the Future]

MLB News: Indians Close to Signing Naquin, Lovegrove

The Cleveland Indians are reportedly close to reaching an agreement with Tyler Naquin, the team’s recent first-round draft selection.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Tribe could have a contract in place with the left-handed-hitting outfielder before this weekend’s three-game series is under way. Furthering the sentiment that the team opted to slot their first-round selection in order to have the ability to go over their budget for the rest of the draft, Naquin will allegedly sign for a $1.75 million, according to Perfect Game USA. The Indians were allotted $2.5 million for their first round pick in the first-year player draft.

The 6’1, 175-pound Naquin is known as a high-average, speed guy, and was rated as the “best pure hitter” in the class by Baseball America.

Hoynes also adds that Kieran Lovegrove, a high right-hander from San Diego and the team’s third-round selection, will be in Cleveland for his physical this weekend and could sign as well.

The recently altered Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement has allowed for the quicker signing of draft picks, formerly drifting to mid-to-late summer.

(Update: Naquin has officially been signed. The Indians also agreed to terms with second-round selection, right-handed pitcher Mitch Brown)

[Related: A Tale of Destiny and Fate: Ken Carr, Indians Photographer]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 6/13

Every Wednesday, I provide tons of updates from the Indians minor league system. Today’s a special edition with a new top 10 ranking and some special insight on the MLB Draft. Enjoy.

For now this season, I hope you all have enjoyed my six or seven editions of the WFNY Wednesday Wahoos. They’ve been a great deal of fun to write each week, and I’m looking forward to continuing it for the rest of the season. Today’s post is a bit of a special one, as with the middle of the minor league season approaching quickly, I decided to expand a bit with some new features.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Browns Minicamp, Second-Round Picks, Chun Chen, Detroit’s Woes

It’s Friday, you all like sports and so do we. Thus, to celebrate this momentous occasion and our shared passion for all things Cleveland, here are some lovely links we thought you might enjoy. You know the drill: Share your thoughts in the comment section. Email us your suggestions for tomorrow’s WWW at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

This is a nice compilation of reports from recent activity over at Browns minicamp: “Based on the way things sounded, if you had walked up to minicamp and caught the beginning of practice, Brandon Weeden would not have looked like a very competent quarterback. Burge notes that he horribly underthrew a ball early on, and cornerback Dimitri Patterson baited him into another throw. Colt McCoy, on the other hand, was deemed as having a “solid practice” by Ulrich.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature] [Read more...]

MLB Draft: Indians Select Tom Hamilton’s Son in 35th Round

The Cleveland Indians selected infielder Nick Hamilton, the son of long-time Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton, in the 35th round of today’s portion of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Hamilton, 22, is a red-shirt junior at Kent State University in Kent, OH.  On the 2012 season, the 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound Hamilton batted .364 (59-162) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, one home run and 35 RBI in 49 games.  He also posted an OPS of .898 (.417OB/.481SLG).

“What we like most about Nick is his ability to hit,” said Indians’ scouting director Brad Grant. “He got off to a good start this year, was in the top 10 in the country in hitting for a while. Defensively he’s very versatile. He can play third base, first base, or the outfield. When Nick finishes up with his college season we’ll sit down with him, and let him make a decision on what path he wants to take from there.”

The Golden Flashes play this weekend at Oregon in the NCAA Super Regional. The Avon Lake high school graduate played one season at Xavier before transferring to Kent State prior to his sophomore season.

The conclusion of the 40th round this Wednesday evening marks the end of the 2012 MLB Draft. The Indians will leave with 23 college players selected, 17 high school players, 20 position players and 20 pitchers. Of those 20 pitchers, 19 were right-handers, one left-handed.

[Related: MLB Draft: Indians Gamble on Young Upside in Day Two]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 6/6

Every Wednesday, I bring you all the highlights from the week that was for the Cleveland Indians organization, along with some added insight on what it means for the major league squad.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve seen quite the flurry of roster moves by the MLB team. Following injuries to RHP Josh Tomlin, C Carlos Santana, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, DH Travis Hafner and even a brutal HBP suffered by C Lou Marson, we’ve had a bit of revolving door with AAA Columbus lately. [Read more...]

MLB Draft: Indians Gamble on Young Upside in Day Two

For most sports fans, the MLB draft is a lot a buzz with no real substance. For the dedicated baseball lovers, however, there’s plenty to analyze and share with the public.

Of note in particular, it’s intriguing first to see where the new members of the Cleveland Indians organization will land in the coming 12 months. Of course, fans have enjoyed the quick progressions of prospects drafted in 2008-10, so what does that mean for the class of ’12 (including the pictured RHP Mitchell Brown)?

After that today, I’ll take a look at how the dynamics of being a small-market team have changed with the new MLB draft rules (something TD mentioned briefly yesterday). Draft bonuses are no longer unlimited or even just suggested as they were in the past – there are now strict penalties for going beyond certain spending boundaries. So this clearly changed around the Indians strategy, and this is evident in their top five picks alone.

[Read more...]

Indians Draft Infielder Joseph Wendle, Outfielder Josh Schubert-McAdams

Having loaded up on pitchers and outfielders with their first five selections, the Cleveland Indians turned to infielder Joseph Wendle out of West Chester University.

At 5-feet-11-inches and 190 pounds, Wendle was named National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association first-team All-American for the 2012 Division II national champions. He bats left-handed, throws right-handed and hit .399 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs and 59 runs batted in through his senior season.

Wendle led West Chester University and the PSAC conference in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.

With their seventh-round selection, the team dreafted high school outfielder Josh Schubert-McAdams. The Calhoun high school alum batted .447 at the plate and also played pitcher where he notched a 6-1 record. The 6-foot-4-inch right-hander has signed to play baseball at High Point University in North Carolina.

 [Related: The Skinny on Tyler Naquin, Your CF of the Future]