The Cleveland Indians added a pair of players in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft Wednesday night, selecting high school shortstop Carson Tucker at No. 23 and Auburn right-handed pitcher Tanner Burns at No. 36.
Tucker, who comes from Mountain Pointe High School in Arizona is the first infielder selected by the Indians since Francisco Lindor in 2011.
Burns, who pitched two years at Auburn University is the Indians first college pitcher selected in the first round since left-hander Drew Pomeranz in 2010.
Ranked as the No. 61 prospect by Baseball America, Tucker is also the younger brother of Cole Tucker, who is a shortstop in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
“There’s a lot to like about Carson,” Indians Scouting Director Scott Barnsby said.
“We’re extremely excited to add Carson to the organization and he’s an athletic shortstop from Mountain Pointe High School. For us, he has an above-average offensive profile, well above-average runner, and a really impressive toolset. Has the hands, feet, and pretty good arm strength to stay at shortstop.”
A right-handed hitter, many scouts seem to feel that Tucker has excellent bat control and speed.
According to scouts, Tucker also appears to have the tools to stay at shortstop, displaying good footwork and hands at the position.
In 92 games at Mountain Pointe, Tucker his .390/.455/.574 with five home runs, 20 doubles, nine triples, and 68 RBI. Tucker is committed to play baseball at the University of Texas next spring.
Meanwhile, Burns, who was the 2017 Gatorade state player of the year in Alabama, was also a first-round selection that same year by the New York Yankees out of high school with the 37overall pick.
“Tanner is another player we have a lot of history with, so we’ve seen him play quite a bit since high school,” Barnsby said. “He’s been a workhorse for them (Auburn). Not only is he a workhorse, but also he’s an extreme competitor and always takes the ball day in. In terms of his stuff, he pitches comfortably, 92-93 and has been up to 96.”
“He has two different breaking balls, with the ability to miss bats, so the on the field portion is really important to us.”
However, for Burns, there has been a history of injuries, as he missed a start last May and was limited in the College World Series due to shoulder tightness.
Not superimposing, Burns is only 6-foot, but scouts feel he possesses the athleticism to overcome his size, and when 100 percent healthy can hit 92-97 MPH with his fastball.
Burns also possess a breaking ball that can be a plus pitch at times, that sits in the low 80s, while also having a changeup in his arsenal as his third pitch.
The Indians have six picks in this year’s draft, along with $7.6 million in bonus pool money.
The approximate pick value for the 23 selection is $2.93 million, while the 36 pick is a little over $2 million.
Originally set for July 10, the MLB pushed back the signing deadline to Aug. 1 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MLB Draft has also been shortened to five rounds this year compared to the usual 40 rounds, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Day two of the MLB Draft starts on Thursday with rounds two through five kicking off at 5 p.m.