By Steve Wilaj
The Cleveland Indians held four picks during the first day of the 2014 MLB Draft on Thursday, selecting outfielder Bradley Zimmer with the 21st pick, LHP Justus Sheffield with the 31st pick, outfielder Mike Papi with the 38th pick and RHP Grant Hockin with the 61st pick.
While it’s to be seen if any of the four will end up in Mahoning Valley this season, here’s a brief background on each Tribe selection, followed by an overview of the Indians 2013 draft class that saw action with the Scrappers.
Bradley Zimmer, OF, 21…a 6-foot-5, 205 pound lefty out of the University of San Francisco, he’s a two-time All-West Coast Conference selection. This past season as a junior with USF Zimmer hit .368 with seven homeruns and 31 RBIs. He also stole 21 bases in 54 games. He was the only player in the nation in the top 50 in stolen bases (21) and top 60 in slugging percentage (.573). His brother, Kyle, was the fifth overall pick by the Kansas City Royals in the 2012 draft.
Justus Sheffield, LHP, 18…the 2014 Gatorade National Player of the Year went 10-0 with a 0.34 ERA in 61 innings pitched at Tullahoma High School in Tennessee this past season. He struck out 131 batters. The 6-foot lefty is committed to Vanderbilt.
Mike Papi, OF, 21…a 6-foot-3 left-handed hitting junior outfielder from Virginia, Papi was a 2013 All-American as he hit .381 with seven homeruns and 57 RBI. He followed that stellar year by hitting .297 with 11 homeruns in 2014. Coming out of high school, Papi was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 30th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
Grant Hockin, RHP, 18…a 6-foot-3 right-hander out of Damien High School in California, Hockin features a fastball that sits around 92 mph according to MLB.com. He’s already committed to UCLA and is the grandson of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.
Dace Kime, RHP, 22…selected in the third round, the 6-foot-4 right hander out of Louisville pitched in nine games for the Scrappers in 2013 – all of them starts. He went 0-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 24.2 innings. This season he is 0-8 for the Lake County Captains with a 6.10 ERA.
Kyle Crockett, LHP, 22…a fourth-round pick out of Virginia, Crockett moved quickly through the system and made his major league debut with the Tribe on May 16. The 6-foot-2 lefty reliever began last season in Mahoning Valley where he struck out 16 and didn’t allow a run in 9.1 innings. He’s currently in AAA Columbus.
Kenny Mathews, LHP, 20…a seventh-round pick from Riverside Community College in California, Mathews went 0-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 12 starts for the Scrappers in 2013. He’s with Lake County this season, where he is 2-2 with a 2.04 ERA in eight relief appearances.
Trevor Frank, RHP, 22…selected in the eighth round, Frank logged a 2.83 ERA over 35 innings in relief for the Scrappers in 2013. He’s continued his success with Lake County this season, where he holds 2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings as well as four saves.
Sicnarf Loopstok, C, 21…a 13th round pick out of Western Oklahoma State Community College, Loopstok hit .205 (15 for 73) in 24 games for the Scrappers last season.
James Roberts, SS, 22…selected in the 15th round from USC, Roberts hit .235 with 15 runs scored and 18 RBIs for the Scrappers in 2013. Now with the advanced A Carolina Mudcats, he holds a .285 batting average with 19 RBIs.
Paul Hendrix, 2B, 22…an 18th round selection, the TCU product batted .258 in 52 games with the Scrappers in 2013. Hendrix is hitting well again at Lake County this season, where he’s batting .327 with six homeruns and 21 RBIs through in 159 at-bats.
Matt Whitehouse, LHP, 23…selected in the 19th round, the lefty had a solid season with the Scrappers in 2013, posting a 0.72 ERA in 37.1 innings (four starts) as he went 4-2. This season with Lake County, Whitehouse is 1-1 with a 5.34 ERA in nine relief appearances.
Ben Heller, RHP, 22… a 22nd round selection, Heller went 1-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 37.1 innings for the Scrappers in 2013. He’s currently 3-1 with a 4.09 ERA with Lake County this season.
Grant Fink, 3B, 23… selected in the 23rd round, Fink played just five games with the Scrappers in 2013, going 8 for 18 at the plate with two doubles and a homerun. The Missouri Western State product is now with Lake County, where he has a .235 batting average and five homeruns in 187 at-bats.
Kerry Doane, RHP, 23… selected in the 24th round, the Eastern Tennessee State righty went 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Scrappers in 2013. This season for Lake County, Doane has a 4.40 ERA in 14.1 innings.
Cole Sulser, RHP, 24…a 25th round pick, Sulser compiled an impressive season at Mahoning Valley in 2013, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 15 appearances (nine starts) totaling 54 innings. He’s currently with the Carolina Mudcats, where the Dartmouth College product is 2-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 starts.
Garrett Smith, 2B, 24…Selected in the 37th round, Smith went 1 for 6 at the plate in limited action with the Scrappers in 2013.