The Indians today signed four of their top 14 picks from last week's draft. Signing were sixth-round pick Ben Carlson, a first baseman from Missouri State; 10th-rounder Brett Brach, a right-hander from Monmouth; 11th rounder Kirk Wetmore, a lefty from Bellevue Community College; and 14th-rounder Kyle Smith, an infielder from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. They are Cleveland's first '09 draft signings.
Carlson had shoulder surgery following the 2008 season, but came back to hit .301 with 16 homers and 51 RBI in 49 games this spring. That was slightly down from his production the previous year when he was only a designated hitter as he played through his injury. He hit .379 with 17 homers and 67 RBI in 57 games in 2008.
Hit .436 with 18 homers and 105 RBI in 75 career games in high school. As a freshman at Missouri State, batted .274 with five homers and 22 RBI in 43 games in 2007.
Brach went 7-3 with a 4.78 ERA in 15 games, including 10 starts. In 75 1-3 innings, he allowed 73 hits and only 14 walks, striking out 77. He did give up an alarming 10 home runs.
Brach, whose older brother was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 2008 draft, expressed surprise at being picked by the Indians.
"This is a lifetime dream come true," Brach said. "I was contacted by the organization throughout the whole process, but was still a little surprised. I didn't think I'd get picked that high."
Brach went 10-2 as a high school senior, then compiled a 3-8 record as a college freshman. Improved to 4-3 with two saves and a 4.76 ERA as a sophomore in 2008.
Wetmore compiled a 6-2 record with a 2.89 ERA in 10 starts, covering 62 1-3 innings this spring. He allowed only 49 hits, walked 28, and struck out 85. He also hit 11 batters and threw four wild pitches, however.
Highly recruited after going 8-1 with a 1.72 ERA as a senior at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Wash., he went to the University of Washington and then transferred to Bellevue. He was eligible for the draft though he was only a sophomore this season.
Wetmore has impressed scouts with his three-pitch repertoire, though he doesn't throw very hard.
Smith hit .332 with five homers and 41 RBI in 58 games. He also had 16 doubles, two triples, 28 walks and strikeouts and was 13-for-16 in stolen-base attempts.
Smith played primarily shortstop, but has seen action at second base. He had an eight-game hitting streak early in the season and hit safely in 37 of his last 46 games.
That was a good rebound season for the junior, who missed time in 2008 after having wrist surgery.
He hit .253 as a sophomore with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs and 27 RBI before the injury.
Smith started 55 of 56 games as a true freshman at shortstop in 2007 and hit .279 with 33 RBI overall and .330 in the Big West Conference.