Image: Courtesy McNeese Athletics

The Cleveland Indians selected Will Dion – Left-handed Starting Pitcher with the ninth-round pick (276th overall) in the 2021 MLB Draft.

Will Dion – Left-handed Starting Pitcher

School: McNeese State
Age: 21.2
Height: 5’10; Weight: 180
Throws: Left

WIll Dion Pre-Draft Rankings:

IBI – unranked

Prospects Live– unranked

Baseball America- 486

MLB.com- unranked

Willie Hood’s Analysis:

The young for the draft class college junior from McNeese State made his collegiate debut his freshman season appearing in 29 games with 6 saves. He shifted to the starting rotation his sophomore season making 4 appearances where Covid derailed his season. He returned to the rotation this season, winning the Southland Conference pitcher of the year. The lefty produced 121 strikeouts (10.93 K9), walking 19 (1.72 BB9) in 99.2 IP while recording 5 complete games and 1 save in 16 appearances (15 starts). 

Dion is a smaller framed left-hander that commands all of his pitches. He adds deception from his over-the-top delivery. The lefty sits 87-91 with his fastball and touches 93-94 mph. The Cowboys ace utilizes both a 12-6 curveball and a firmer slider (80-81 mph) that gets called a slurve. The Louisana native displays plus control, and could he benefit from developing changeup, potentially increasing his ability to stay in the rotation despite his smaller frame. Speculatively, a shift to the bullpen where shorter appearances could lead to a tick-up in his stuff where his fastball and curveball blend would likely be a fit. He is still young for the class and has yet to start his professional career, so it’s too early to quantify him as a relief pitcher, but it is reasonable to speculate how he fits in the future.

Justin Lada’s take:

Like Rodney Boone and a lot of the other arms Cleveland took today, Dion has a smaller frame and has an over the top delivery. However, Dion is built a little thicker and stronger than the other shorter pitchers Cleveland took. But it’s the same philosphy again. High arm slot, good backspin on the fastball that helps it play above the velocity thanks to the ride created by that backspin (though Dion can sit in the low-90s and hit 95, unlike Boone, for example) and he pairs it with a big downer breaking ball. Add in above average command and a third pitch Cleveland thinks they can help add a grade to (Dion’s changeup is probably a 45 but Cleveland can probably get to to 50) and just plug in a new name, same outcome. Possible reliever due to size and lack of velocity and true good raw stuff, but someone who can be a depth rotation option.

Press Release:

LHP WILL DION

Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year went 9-4 with a 3.07 ERA, compiling a school-record 121 strikeouts across 99.2 innings while helping the Cowboys to their second consecutive conference tournament title and NCAA Regional appearance. Matched a school record earlier this season with 19 strikeouts in a start against Prairie View A&M. Graduated from Sulphur (LA) High School.

Cleveland Indians Scouting Director Scott Barnsby on WIll Dion

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