Indians hit hard in Rule V

<b>ANAHEIM, Calif. –</b> The Cleveland Indians were baseball's hardest-hit team in Monday's Rule V draft, losing a total of six players to the selection process, including five pitchers.

Three pitchers were frittered away in successive picks at one point during the Triple-A phase, as Cleveland lost right-hander Landon Stockman, right-hander Lee Gronziewicz and lefthander Keith Ramsey in less than five minutes.

When Ramsey was selected by the Colorado Rockies as the third straight pick from the Akron Aeros roster, a laugh went up from the audience in the draft meeting room.

Stockman, selected by the Milwaukee Brewers as the fourth pick of the Triple-A phase, came to the Indians after pitching with an independent league team and finished up last year with the Kinston Indians as an effective reliever, going 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 16 games (22.0 innings).

Gronkiewicz was the 2003 Minor League Fireman of the Year, but the Indians had determined that he would not be a closer on the major league level. Still, that didn't stop the Toronto Blue Jays from taking a chance on the right-hander, who finished 45 games for the Aeros in 2004, saving 20 and compiling a 3.03 ERA. He projects as a major league middle reliever.

Ramsey pitched most of last season with Kinston, going 10-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 24 games (23 starts).

The bleeding didn't stop there. The Indians then lost lefthander Blake Allen – 5-4 with a 4.61 ERA in 23 relief appearances for the Lake County Captains – to the Houston Astros organization with the 19th selection of the Triple-A phase, and coughed up third baseman Armando Gabino (Cleveland's only position player loss) to the Minnesota Twins with the 39th pick in that phase.

The carnage ended ten picks later, as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays nabbed right-hander Richard De Los Santos from Akron's roster. He was 1-5 with a 5.26 ERA in 13 games (nine starts) for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The Indians did make one selection during the Triple-A phase, taking right-hander Neomar Flores from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Blue Jays organization.

Flores was 6-10 with a 5.72 ERA in 27 games (23 starts) for the Dunedin Blue Jays.

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