With their 1st round Com A pick (42nd overall) the Cleveland Indians select rightt-handed pitcher Triston McKenzie out of Royal Palm Beach High School (FL).
Born: 08/02/1997 – Height: 6’5” – Weight: 165 – Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Kiley McDaniel: 44th
Keith Law: 46th
Baseball America: 51st
Perfect Game: 42nd
Tony’s take: While McKenzie may be similar in age to first round pick Brady Aiken, this is a pick that comes with less risk and is more in line with the Indians recent draft philosophy that started last year to take prep arms with now stuff and less unknowns. He brings a long, wiry frame with lots of athleticism and is more of a refined prep arm who is polished, knows how to command his pitches, and shows a strong feel for multiple pitches. He only sits at 88-90 MPH but it shows great life through the zone and he commands it exceptionally well for his age. He repeats his arm slot and delivery well with his secondary offerings and shows a plus changeup that is well above average and a developing curveball. He may not be a sexy pick and the upside may be debatable, but he comes with a higher floor and much less chance of washing out if he stays healthy. So while the ceiling may not be as high, he has the stuff right now to be a good arm. If he can show durability over the next few seasons and continue to get bigger and stronger there is no telling what his true potential may be.
Jeff Ellis: Well, McKenzie is all about projection as he has a big skinny frame along with clean mechanics which allows the Indians to think he can add velocity. He has not shown much velocity yet sitting around 92 and not flashing much higher. He didn’t make my top 75 because he is all projection. You are drafting him betting that his velocity improves and his secondary stuff take leaps. There is a chance for a front of the rotation guy, but he was not my favorite here. He is the opposite in many ways of everything the Indians have done in the past with arms. This marks the second year in a row they have taken a kid with good command with their second pick who was committed to Vandy. It is not a bad pick at all, it could end up a very good one just not the one I would make here.
Press Release: McKenzie, 17, is a 2015 graduate of Royal Palm Beach (FL) High School, where he compiled a 9-5 record with a 0.79 ERA during his senior campaign, tallying 157 strikeouts against just 16 walks across 91.0 innings/15 games. McKenzie was a 2015 Perfect Game USA first-team Preseason All-American and led Royal Palm Beach to the Class 7A state tournament for the first time since 2000. The right-hander threw five complete games in the tournament and allowed just 4 runs, 3 of which came in the team’s state semifinal loss.
The 6-foot-5, 160-pound Vanderbilt commit entered his senior season as a Baseball America third-team Preseason High School All-American. McKenzie’s selection marks the second consecutive year that the Indians have selected a high school pitcher in the first round, tabbing LHP Justus Sheffield with the 31st overall pick in 2014. Cleveland has now used three First-Round selections on high school pitchers over the past two seasons, as McKenzie joins LHP Brady Aiken (2015, 17th overall selection) and LHP Justus Sheffield.