Samad Taylor - Shortstop
10th round, Corona High School (CA)
2016 stats: 32 G, .293 AVG, 25 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 11 BB, 24 K, 6 SB, .755 OPS
Quick summary: Taylor was another 17-year old the Indians selected in the draft who can play shortstop or second base. He did not have a lot of exposure heading into the Area Code Games last year because he was a home schooled kid as a junior, so he only got to play in a league with kids sitting out the high school season. He did very well in the Area Code Games, which helped to elevate his profile. He is an athlete with quick twitch athleticism, has good bat speed, quick hands and runs well. The switch hitter has a chance to stick at short, but could also moved around the infield. He's an interesting upside pick by the Indians that they feel gives them some depth up the middle in the lower levels and has the potential to be so much more if things click for him.
Grant’s take: “We liked his defense a lot and thought the bat would be a little bit behind because he was one of the youngest guys in the draft class at 17. At 5’9” and 165 pounds we felt he needed to add some strength to allow the bat to start to play a little bit. We felt he would have the time to add that strength because of his defensive ability. He can play short and has a solid average arm and is a plus runner and can move around at a couple positions as he can play third and second. He can do some things and have some defensive versatility. We felt there would be a little bit of a struggle and adjustment at the beginning just with the bat as he gained strength and matures. We felt he would be fine but that he would need some time, but he got off to a better start than we anticpated which is great. With where we took him, he is a player with upside just with his age and is another guy that when you meet and talk with him is an impressive kid.
Gavin Collins - Catcher
13th round, Mississippi State University
2016 stats: 48 G, .260 AVG, 19 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 19 RBI, 22 BB, 28 K, 0 SB, .666 OPS
Quick summary: Collins was the third college catcher the Indians selected in the top 13 rounds of the draft. He was a bigger name as a high school kid, who if not for an ankle injury in his first game at the start of his senior year might have been drafted. He is a solid catcher who is projected to stay at the position and is a solid defensive player who has struggled with injuries. As a freshman he was the first All-SEC freshman catcher in Mississippi State’s long history. Collins finally played a full season this past year for Mississippi State and did not disappoint. He exploded with ten home runs after just having three his previous two years combined. He had a near one to one walk to strikeout ratio (1.14).
Grant’s take: “We are going to develop him as a catcher. He had a hamate surgery to take the bone out in 2013 and then had a subsequent surgery, so we just wanted to give him time to allow that to heal completely so he played third base [at Mahoning Valley this season]. We feel like he can catch and will get him back behind the plate next season to allow him to develop back there. He is an offensive guy first and foremost as he is a guy who can hit and with some power. He is a guy who can control the strike zone well and had some success in all three years at Mississippi State. We like the offensive upside to him and feel like we can continue to develop him as a catcher. The arm is solid average and it plays. The catching needs to continue to develop and he needs to continue to work at it, but he has an average arm and the ability to be an average catcher.