Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Cleveland didn't draft Jeter at No. 2

From "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter"

Cleveland had the number-two pick, and its young scouting director, Mickey White, saw Derek Jeter play on an injured ankle on a soaked field. White liked what he saw, but not as much as the Indians scouts who had watched Jeter run on two healthy feet.

Bill Livesey was there with White on that same ungodly afternoon, but the Yankee scouting director was experienced enough to catch Jeter again three days later. White was in his second year on the job, and he confessed that his time management skills left something to be desired. He did not return to Kalamazoo.

White had heard Houston would take Jeter at number 1, anyway, and later came to believe — despite Dan O’Brien’s claims to the contrary — that the Astros picked Nevin because they thought he would be easier to sign than Jeter.

Either way, Cleveland had drafted Manny Ramirez the year before and Jim Thome in 1989 and was more interested in pitching. The Indians wanted the best arm in the country, and that arm belonged to Paul Shuey, a right-hander out of the University of North Carolina. Shuey had his mechanical flaws, but he had a Juan Marichal leg kick that made his 95-mile-per-hour heater that much harder to see.

When you talk about the draft, White said, “it’s like you’re in a Fidelity Mutual discussion and you’re trying to figure out what an investment is going to reap.” The Indians thought a power closer out of the Atlantic Coast Conference was a better investment than a high school shortstop.

from The Captain

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