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MLB Draft 2012: Indians Likely To Seek Starting Pitching

Teams in the MLB draft tend to go for the best player available rather than just going for a top need, unlike in other sports drafts. It takes prospects years to make it into the big leagues and they only do some of the time, so BPA is usually the best system to make sure there is more quality in the system all around.

As the Cleveland Indians website points out though, there is a serious lack of top flight pitching talent in the Cleveland system after a few moves in the past year or two depleted them.

At the July 31 Trade Deadline last summer, the Indians packaged Alex White and Drew Pomeranz -- the Tribe's top picks in 2009 and '10, respectively -- in the five-player swap with the Rockies that brought Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. That removed the Indians' top two pitching prospects with one handshake.

Another highly-regarding starting prospect, left-hander Scott Barnes, has been converted to a relief role and is in Cleveland's bullpen. Austin Adams, who was in big league camp this spring, is shelved after right shoulder surgery. Righty Dillon Howard (a second-round pick last June) has yet to throw a professional pitch.

In that regard, the Indians could look for a top starting pitching prospect with their 15th overall selection. There are plenty of pitchers available for selection up in the top 15 for sure with Mississippi State's right handed ace Chris Stratton being a popular pick in early mock drafts for Cleveland.

With so little depth in top pitching prospects, we might even see three or four of the top round's picks going toward ace prospects so the Indians can get back to the state where they have two guys like White and Pomeranz waiting to get back to the big leagues -- or at least become solid trade bait for another solid guy like Jimenez.

For more on the Indians, head over to Let's Go Tribe. For more MLB news and analysis, be sure to check out Baseball Nation.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.