Three Juniors Are Tribe's Top Picks

Alex White ... Cleveland's first-round draft pick.

Two hard-throwing pitchers and one hard-hitting outfielder -- all college juniors -- were the Indians' three selections on day one of the amateur player draft. Right-hander Alex White of North Carolina was taken with the 15th pick of the first round, Justin Kipnis of Arizona State selected at No. 63 overall in round two and right-hander Joe Gardner chosen at No. 94 overall in the third round.

Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting was delighted to be able to select White, a pitcher projected by many publications to have been a potential top 10 pick.

"He's a very intelligent, very athletic kid," Grant said. "He comes from a very strong family, one that we've known for a long time. He's very grounded and strong in his values.

"Our area scout has known Alex since high school. We've had interest in him since then, but weren't able to draft him."

White was drafted out of D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, N.C., by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round in 2006 but chose to go to college.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is a much better pitcher now -- and figures to add some more experience as North Carolina continues play in the College World Series.

"He's added a split to his repertoire," Grant said. "In high school he was a power/sinker/slider guy. Now he's added the swing-and-miss split."

So far this season, White has an 8-4 record and 4.13 ERA for the Tar Heels. In 98 innings, he has struck out 109, while allowing 86 hits and 41 walks.

On Saturday, the 20-year-old struck out a career-high 12 batters ove 8 1-3 innings in a 10-1 win over East Carolina in an NCAA super regional game.

"He's a power pitcher with a plus-fastball up to 96 (mph_ with heavy life," Grant said. "He features two secondary pitches: a split that is a late swing-and-miss type pitch and a slider that is also a swing-and-miss pitch."

A year ago as a sophomore, White went 13-3 with a 2.83 ERA. In 101 2-3 innings, he fanned 113 and allowed 78 hits and 42 walks.

His numbers suffered a bit this season as he pitched despite a blistered finger and a strained hamstring. That determination led to Grant calling him a "a plus-plus makeup guy."

The Indians project White as possibly being a "back-end power bullpen arm," but Grant said they will keep him as a starter, probably at short-season Mahoning Valley -- if the junior does sign.

White was named to the all-ACC first team for the second consecutive season and will likely pitch Sunday when the Tar Heels face Arizona State in the College World Series.

If White does take the mound, he'll be facing Cleveland's second-round selection Kipnis.

The junior outfielder is hitting .385 (85-for-221) with 71 runs, 20 doubles, four triples, 16 homers and 71 RBI in 59 games. He also has a .496 on-base percentage with 48 walks as opposed to 30 strikeouts, and a .723 slugging percentage.

The native of Northbrook, Ill., was named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year.

Last year, he was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year after transferring from Kentucky.

Kipnis was taken by the San Diego Padres in the fourth round a year ago after batting .371 with 14 homers and 73 RBI in 62 games in his first season at ASU.

Gardner, a 6-5, 220-pounder from UC Santa Barbara had his season cut short with a strained oblique in May. Before that, he went 7-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 starts. In 84 2-3 innings, the 21-year-old struck out 69, allowed 79 hits and 31 walks, hit 19 batters and made 10 wild pitches.

He was named to the Big West Conference's First Team.

Last year, Indians scouts watched him go 6-0 with an 0.60 ERA and be named co-MVP of the Alaskan Summer League.

Gardner's four-seam fastball hits 92-93 mph and he uses a good sinker as his offspeed pitch. The big pitcher has had some release-point issues in the past, resulting from a high leg kick that sometimes cause him to speed up his arm in order to stay in balance.

Four of five players projected by Indians Ink as possible Tribe selections also were selected.

The Chicago White Sox chose Indiana University catcher Josh Phegley with the 38th overall pick.

Left-hander Matt Bashore from Indiana University was selected by the Minnesota Twins at No. 46 overall.

Andy Oliver, the hard-throwing left-hander from Vermilion, Ohio, and Oklahoma State, was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the second round with the 58th overall pick.

Outfielder Marc Krauss, the Mid-American Conference player of the year from Ohio University, was taken at No. 64 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks -- one pick after Cleveland selected Kipnis.

Arizona relief pitcher Jason Stoffel, projected prior to this season as a possible second-round selection, has yet to be picked.

The draft resumes Wednesday with rounds four through 30. Rounds 31 through 50 will be conducted Thursday. Recommended Stories

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