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Sports


Two Indians draftees, Kipnis and Lindor, become success stories
Terry Pluto notes that few of those drafted by Cleveland have gone on to make the All-Star team, as Kipnis did, and Lindor is regarded as one of the best in the minors
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Francisco Lindor is a recent arrival at Akron but may be moving up again.
Courtesy of David Monseur. Akron Aeros
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The Cleveland Indians have not had much luck in drafting young players over the years but two of their recent picks are looking to be real winners.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto notes that few players – with any organization -- ever get through the minor leagues and make a major league club. He spoke with WKSU’s Mark Urycki:

Pluto audio interview

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Jason Kipnis began as an outfielder but converted to second base for a shorter path to the major leagues. 
Terry Pluto says the road to the major leagues is usually a two-way street.  Few players can make their first call-up stick.


Jason Kipnis began as an outfielder but converted to second base for a shorter path to the major leagues. Terry Pluto says the road to the major leagues is usually a two-way street. Few players can make their first call-up stick.

Francisco Lindor was drafted at age 17.  Now 19, he is a star shortstop at the AA Akron Aeros. 

The mental pressure on young players is often too much for them to bear and succeed at the major league level. Pluto believes Kipnis is succeeding partly because he feels he was slighted by scouts and is determined to prove his value.


Francisco Lindor was drafted at age 17. Now 19, he is a star shortstop at the AA Akron Aeros. The mental pressure on young players is often too much for them to bear and succeed at the major league level. Pluto believes Kipnis is succeeding partly because he feels he was slighted by scouts and is determined to prove his value.

(Click image for larger view.)

In 2009, The Indians drafted an outfielder named Jason Kipnis. His first full season in the big leagues was last year and this year he made the All-Star team.

Two years ago the Tribe drafted 17-year-old Francisco Lindor. He’s playing in Akron now, but  Pluto says Lindor is knocking on Cleveland's door. 

“The next big thing for the Indians is at Akron,” he says

That’s a surprise because the odds are against any player getting through the four levels of minor leagues to get to the majors.

So how good have the Indians been at drafting?  Not since 1998 (C.C. Sabathia)  have the Indians drafted a player who made it to the All-Star game.

“You’re looking at over 300 guys and none of them made it."

A couple young Latino players were signed outside the draft and did become all-stars – Victor Martinez and Fausto Carmona. Pluto says Kipnis carries a little resentment for not being drafted in the first round and that may be helpin him succeed.

The hardest part for players who get to the majors, says Pluto, is to deal with the mental pressure and stay there. He notes that Kipnis is one of the very few players who has never yet been sent back to the minors after getting to the big leagues.
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