Transcript from Bart Swain
Director, Baseball Information & Player Relations
June 11, 2020
INDIANS 2020 FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT RECAP
CLEVELAND, OH - Information on Cleveland Indians 2020 First-Year Player Draft selections.
Round 1 (#23 overall)
INF CARSON TUCKER
AGE/DOB: 18, Jan. 24, 2002 SCHOOL: Mountain Pointe HS (Phoenix, AZ)
BATS/THROWS: R/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-2/180
Tucker lettered all four years at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona, slashing .390/.455/.574 with 68 RBI, 20, doubles, 9 triples and 5 homes runs in 92 games (MaxPreps). The 6-2, 180-lb shortstop was named a 2020 Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason All American West – All Region 1st Team and managed to hit .364 (4-for-11) with a double, 2 home runs and 5 RBI in three games before his 2020 senior season was canceled….Younger brother of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker, who was taken in the first round of the 2014 Draft (pick #24).
MLB.com on Tucker
Comments: Back in 2014, Cole Tucker was a bit of a surprise first-round pick out of Mountain Pointe High School in Arizona and he became one of four Mountain Pointe products to make it to the big leagues when he debuted with the Pirates in 2019. His younger brother, Carson, hopes to join them, and though he's a different player and personality than his older brother, he was enjoying a similar rise up Draft boards thanks to a very strong early spring. While more reserved than Cole, Carson has the chance to join his brother as a big league caliber shortstop. At the plate, the right-handed hitter displays excellent bat control and bat speed over power, though he showed added strength this season. He's often content to push the ball the other way and to the right-center field gap, though the ball does jump off his bat. He began showing he can turn on balls and drive them to his pull side more consistently, helping his profile. Tucker has the feet and hands to play shortstop long-term, even though he's an average runner. He has average arm strength, though his throws have good carry and he shows the ability to change arm action and slots as is needed for the premium position. Showing more consistency on the defensive side, along with the aforementioned gains at the bat, are why Tucker's stock took a leap forward this spring, making a stronger case for a team to sign him away from his commitment to the University of Texas.
Competitive Balance Round A (#36 overall)
RHP TANNER BURNS
AGE/DOB: 21, Dec. 28, 1998 SCHOOL: Auburn (AL)
BATS/THROWS: R/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-0/215
Made four starts in an abbreviated junior season for the Auburn Tigers, going 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA (22.1IP, 15H, 8R/6ER) and 32 strikeouts against just seven walks. Entering the 2020 campaign, the six-foot, 205-pound right-hander was named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list and selected as a preseason All-SEC Team member, while also being named to Preseason All-American lists by Baseball America and Perfect Game. Across his three-year Tigers career, Burns has gone 14-9 with a 2.86 ERA (188.2IP, 153H, 84R-60ER) with 210 strikeouts against 67 walks. During his sophomore campaign, he joined RHP Casey Mize (2017-18) as just the second Auburn pitcher over the last 20 seasons to reach the century mark in strikeouts (101)….Named Alabama’s Mr. Baseball and 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year as the top player in the state.
MLB.com on Burns
Comments: Burns displayed first-round stuff when he was Gatorade's Alabama state player of the year in 2017, but questions about his size and signability caused him to slide all the way to the Yankees in the 37th round. He immediately cracked Auburn's weekend rotation as a freshman and struck out 15 in a game as a sophomore to tie the program record shared by Tim Hudson, Casey Mize and three others. Shoulder tightness caused him to miss a start last May and limited him during the Tigers' run to their first College World Series appearance in 22 years. When he's 100 percent, Burns can work at 92-97 mph with his fastball and locate it to both sides of the plate. His breaking ball can be a plus pitch at times, combining slider velocity in the low 80s with curveball depth, but it gets slurvy at others. He hasn't had much need for his changeup, though it has some sink and shows some signs of becoming an average third pitch. Burns lacks size and while he's strong and athletic, he comes with durability concerns because of his shoulder issues as a sophomore and a history of seeing his stuff dip later in the season. Though there's no projection remaining in his 6-foot frame, his proponents see some similarities to another former Southeastern Conference star, Sonny Gray. Scouts wanted to see if he could stay healthy and maintain his stuff throughout his junior year, but the 2020 season lasted just four weeks.
Round 2 (#56 overall)
LHP LOGAN ALLEN
AGE/DOB: 21, Sept. 5, 1998 SCHOOL: Florida International (FL)
BATS/THROWS: R/L HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-0/180
Allen, 21, recorded a a three-year collegiate ERA of 3.33 in 183.2 innings at Florida International (47 BB, 246 SO). Was 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 25.2 IP this spring before the season was canceled (17H, 7ER, 6BB, 41SO, .183 avg)…Was named Conference-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year and was named Preseason All-American by multiple outlets….Member of the 2019 collegiate national Team USA…Did not allow a run in 15.0IP in the 2019 summer Cape Cod League for Harwich…The Deltona, FL native was named 2019 first team all C-USA and was selected by Baltimore in the 17th round of the 2017 MLB Draft.
MLB.com on Allen
Comments: Allen was a solid pitching prospect coming out of the Florida high school ranks, one who was taken in the 16th round by the Orioles in 2017 because of his chance to have a three-pitch mix and his feel to use his entire repertoire. He headed to Florida International as a two-way player and continued to hit and pitch for two-plus years, but his future as a pro is certainly on the mound. In many respects, Allen is the same pitchabilty lefty that he was in high school, just with more track record after two years at FIU and a strong performance on the Cape last summer. He goes right after hitters with three pitches. He sits right around 90 mph with his fastball, but can reach back for up to 93 mph when he needs to, and he commands it well, with good arm-side finish. His changeup is his bread and butter, a potentially future plus circle change he sells really well with good fade and sink that misses bats and elicits weak contact on the ground. His curveball is his third pitch, a breaking ball that can get a little big at times. He commands the ball very well and knows how to set up hitters. Because of his lack of physicality and lack of wow stuff, Allen's ceiling is somewhat limited. But he's shown the ability to keep hitters off-balance and could be the kind of advanced college lefty who moves through a system quickly, always a commodity when the Draft rolls around.
Round 3 (#95 overall)
OF PETEY HALPIN
AGE/DOB: 18, May 26, 2002 SCHOOL: Mira Costa HS (Manhattan Beach, CA)
BATS/THROWS: L/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-0/180
st of his first season at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California. But after five games, the season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Halpin, who spent his first three years at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California, Halpin also competed in the inaugural High School MLB All-star game last year in Cleveland
MLB.com on Halpin
Comments: Halpin wasn't considered an elite-level player as the summer showcase circuit started last summer, as evidenced by him not getting an invite to either the Perfect Game All-American Classic or the Under Armour All-American Game. But a strong performance in the PDP League led to a spot at the MLB High School All-Star Game in Cleveland and he performed well later in the summer at the Area Code Games to put him more firmly on the map.
The outfielder often displays impressive tools across the board. He's a plus runner, one who led the PDP League by going a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts, and that speed allows him to cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He also has a very strong arm, one that's been up to 92 mph off the mound. He makes loud contact consistently from the left side of the plate and while he's hit over power now, he's shown the ability to drive the ball and was launching balls out at Angels Stadium this past fall during the Angels Elite showcase, the same event where 2019 first-rounder Keoni Cavaco showed up for the first time.
Halpin, who initially committed to UCLA but then decided to head out of state and play at Texas should the Draft not work out, might be underestimated by some scouts. Pete Crow-Armstrong is the more famous name among California prep outfielders, but don't be surprised if Halpin isn't all that far behind him.
Round 4 (#124 overall)
SS MILAN TOLENTINO
AGE/DOB: 18, Nov. 17, 2001 COLLEGE: Santa Margarita HS (CA)
BATS/THROWS: L/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-1/180
Participated in the 2019 Perfect Game All-America Game…Committed to UCLA…Hit a grand slam in season-opening game vs. John Wayne North on Feb. 21.
MLB.com on Tolentino
Comments: In 1983, Jose Tolentino helped the University of Texas win the College World Series alongside stars like Roger Clemens and Calvin Schiraldi before embarking on a 15-year professional career that included one year in the big leagues. Now a broadcaster for the Angels, his son is making a name for himself as one of the better high school middle infielders in the Class of 2020. Tolentino has the chance to hit and be a big league regular shortstop. There's no question about his defensive ability, with a plus arm and the feet and actions to stick at the premium position long term. How much he'll hit will determine what kind of overall prospect he is. He's a tough out with an opposite-field approach who sees a lot of pitches and makes a lot of contact with a Johnny Damon-like swing. He does roll over balls to the pull side at times and doesn't barrel up the ball consistently enough with wood. He has added some strength to his lower half, giving some scouts hope that he'll add some extra-base authority as he matures. The UCLA recruit does make the most of his abilities with a high baseball IQ, and the team that thinks he'll impact the ball consistently will be the one to take him in the early rounds.
Round 5 (#154 overall)
RHP MASON HICKMAN
AGE/DOB: 21, Dec. 23, 1998 SCHOOL: Vanderbilt (TN)
BATS/THROWS: R/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-6/230
The big right-hander hails from Hendersonville, TN…As a Sophomore (2019), struck out nine-or-more batters in 5 of his final 6 starts and fanned 10 Michigan Wolverines in Vandy’s CWS-clinching win last June…Career collegiate record of 19-2 with a 3.13 ERA at Vanderbilt over 29 starts and 189.2 innings (221 SO, 10.5 SO/9.0IP, 2.9 BB/9.0IP)…In pandemic-shortened season of 2020 he was 2-0 with a 0.48 ERA in 3 starts (1
ER/18.2IP), posting a 26-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio…First Team Preseason All-America by Collegiate Baseball.
MLB.com on Hickman
Comments: Hickman's stuff hasn't stood out on Vanderbilt's loaded pitching staffs, but he has been a consistent winner who has gone 19-2 with a 3.13 ERA in three college seasons and earned the victory in the College World Series clincher last June. His best pitch is his solid curveball, and he also has an 88-91 mph fastball that misses bats because of his command and deception. He throws strikes and keeps hitters off balance by mixing in a slider and changeup, making him a high-floor guy who might become a back-of-the-rotation starter.