CLEVELAND, Ohio — If there is an MLB draft going on, you know the Indians are going to pick a shortstop. Make that two shortstops.
After taking high school shortstop Carson Tucker with their first round pick on Wednesday, the Indians selected another high school shortstop in Milan Tolentino with their fourth round pick Thursday. Tolentino played a Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Mission Viejo, Calif.
The Indians drafted the left-handed hitting Tolentino with the 124th pick in the draft. He’s 6-0 and 180 pounds and has committed to UCLA.
“He’s the starting shortstop for Team USA this summer,” said Scott Barnsby, Indians director of amateur scouting. “He’s an impressive all-around player. He has instincts, he’s got well above average feel for the game. He’s a left-handed hitter with the ability to recognize pitches and put the bat on the ball.
“Defensively, he’s a sure-handed defender with an outstanding internal clock. It’s a lot of fun watching him out on the field.”
Tolentino hit .347 and was 2-0 on the mound with six saves in 2018 in his junior year. Like outfielder Petey Halpin, the Indians third round pick, he played in the High School All-Star Game at Progressive Field last year. His father, Jose, is part of the Angels Spanish-language radio broadcast team and played a year in the big leagues. Tolentino’s brother, Patrick, played in the Tribe’s minor league system.
Along with Tucker and Tolentino, the Indians have a minor league system full of shortstops, most of them below the Class AA level. Perhaps they will find a successor to All-Star Francisco Lindor in all those bodies.
In fact, Tolentino told MLB Network that he modeled his game after Lindor.
“The way he has fun, the way he enjoys the game,” said Tolentino. “I like how he’s laid back, but stays serious. It’s a good model.”
The Indians took Tucker with the 23rd overall pick Wednesday night. Then they took Auburn right-hander Tanner Burns with the 36th overall pick followed by left-hander Logan Allen from Florida Institute (No.56) and Harpin (No.95) before selecting Tolentino.
The combined slot bonus for the Tribe’s first five picks is an estimated $7.3 million. The Tribe’s signing bonus pool is $7,662,800.
The signing deadline for drafted players has been moved back to Aug. 1. The players who go undrafted this year can be signed until the day they start their college classes. Those players can be signed for only $20,000 and mlb teams cannot approach them until Sunday at 9 a.m.
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