06/07/05 9:05 PM ET
Indians go for bats on Day 1
Arizona outfielder taken No. 14th overall
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
Mirabelli said he would pick the best ballplayer available, and it's hard to argue that the Indians scouting director strayed from that approach.
"I think it went the way I told you guys we anticipated it might unfold, and that was a draft that was very strong in position players," he said. "And that's how it unfolded for us, certainly in the first four rounds."
With those first four picks, he mined that deep pool of positions players. With the No. 14 pick overall, Mirabelli grabbed the grand prize among the 18 players he took on the first day of the draft, Trevor Crowe, 22-years-old and a switch-hitting outfielder from the University of Arizona.
Baseball America said this about Crowe: "Crowe is an ideal leadoff man with a .500 on-base percentage, above-average speed and the kind of fiery personality that can light a fire under a team. He can be undisciplined at times at the plate and lacks raw power, but has juice in his bat and can hit almost anything thrown at him. A switch-hitter, he tends to be a slightly better hitter from the left side while displaying more power from the right. Crowe arrived at Arizona as a second baseman and may end up back there, though he has spent most of his college career in left field."
But for the Tribe to go after a seasoned hitter like Crowe wasn't a surprise. Before the draft, Mirabelli had hinted that he might shy away from high-school hitters like Andrew McCutchen, C.J. Henry or Brandon Snyder, whose development as pros might be harder to project.
McCutchen (No. 11) and Snyder (No. 13) were selected before Mirabelli had his chance to pick in Round 1. He did, however, turn to the high school ranks for his pick after Crowe, who's expected to begin his pro career in Mahoning Valley.
With pick No. 33 overall, Mirabelli took speedy John Drennan, a high school outfielder from San Diego. Drennan was a pick the Indians received as compensation for losing shortstop Omar Vizquel to the Giants in free agency.
"He had the attributes and the prerequisites we're looking for in a high school player," Mirabell said. "There aren't a lot of 'em; they are few of them on the board.
"He's a center fielder; he's an athlete; he's been in all the premier showcases; he comes from one of the best programs in the whole country."
Baseball America ranked Drennan as the No. 32 best prospect in the draft, but that was a ranking made before shortstop Stephen Drew and right-hander Jered Weaver, two unsigned picks from the 2004 draft, signed a couple of days before this draft.
"Drennan is extremely strong, and he can flat-out hit," Baseball America wrote in its predraft analysis. "He has excellent bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat. He leaves nothing in the tank."
Mirabelli said Drennan, who has signed to play at UCLA, has expressed an interest in foregoing college to start his professional career. Crowe, who was drafted but didn't sign in 2002, has expressed a similar sentiment.
The selection of Crowe and Drennan pointed to a trend Mirabelli hinted that he might follow in this draft. He talked about how deep it was in position players, and he labeled the pool of pitchers as thin.
Position: OF B/T: S/R
H: 6'0" W: 190
Born: 1983-11-17 Class: 4YR
Medium-large, compact. Athletic frame. Developed lower half. Short, compact stroke. Sprays line drive to all fields. Aggressive, intense, gamer w/ plus baseball instincts.
"It's usually, just because supply and demand, harder to find position players than pitchers. But the draft is always usually dominated by pitchers. This draft is unique; it's clearly position players."
Consistent with that view, Mirabelli selected Stephen Head, a power-hitting first baseball/pitcher for the University of Mississippi, with his next pick. Head was No. 62 pick overall.
Head has drawn comparisons to Todd Helton and Brad Wilkerson, two Major League players who planted their baseball roots in the Southeastern Conference.
Of Head, Baseball America said: "[His] body isn't great, but some scouts expect him to firm up as he focuses on hitting as a pro. ... Most scouts expect him to become a better hitter after he gives up pitching. He's also a good fielder at first base with soft hands."
After drafting Head, Mirabelli took the following players:
Round 3: First baseman Nicholas Weglanz, Lakeshore Catholic High School in Canada: Very young, only 17. A lot of upside. He's big and strong kid, but he'll play in the outfield. Has a lot of international experience.
Round 4: First baseman Jordan Brown, a teammate of Crowe's at Arizona: A very accomplished hitter. More "hit-ability" than Head; a very athletic player. Plan to move Brown to the outfield. Good fielder.
Round 5: Kevin Dixon, right-hander from Minnesota State-Mankato: Big strong, power arm. Has been a closer more in college, but can become a starter. Has three pitches.
Round 6: Roger Ness, right-hander from Ball State: Big, strong with arm strength. Didn't face great competition in Mid-American Conference. He needs to develop.
Round 7: James Deters, RHP, Calvin (Miss.) College
Round 8: Ryan Edell, LHP, College of Charleston
Round 9: Roman Pena, OF, Montgomery (Calif.) High School
Round 10: James Schutt, RHP, Central Missouri State
Round 11: Nicholas Petrucci, 3B, from College of Canyons (Calif.)
Round 12: Matt Fornasiere, SS, Univ. of Minnesota
Round 13: Barry Laird, 1B, from Lee (Texas) High School
Round 14: Michael Finocchi, RHP, Louisburg College (Pa.)
Round 15: Vernon Carter, 3B, Sierra Vista (Nevada) High School
Round 16: Aaron Shafer, RHP from Troy Buchanan (Mo.) High School
Round 17: Eric Barrett, LHP, Marion (Ill.) High School
Round 18: Desmond Jennings, OFfrom Pinson Valley (Ala.) High School
The draft continues Wednesday with 22 more rounds of selections.
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.