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Cleveland Indians select two players, but lose four in the Rule 5 Draft

LAS VEGAS – The Indians drafted two players, but lost four in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft that marks the official end of the winter meetings.

The Mets selected right-hander Kyle Dowdy from the Indians in the major-league phase of the draft. The Indians acquired outfielder Leonys Martin and Dowdy from Detroit for infielder Willie Castro on July 31.

Dowdy went 1-4 with a 6.52 ERA in six starts for Class AA Akron after the deal. Before the deal he went 3-4 with a 5.09 ERA at Class AA Erie. The Mets paid $100,000 for Dowdy and must keep him on their 25-man roster for the 2019 season. If not, they have to offer him back to the Indians for $50,000.

In the Class AAA phase of the draft, the Indians last three players as the Angels selected right-hander Matt Esparza, Oakland selected first baseman Anthony Miller and Tampa Bay drafted right-hander Hector Figueroa.

Esparza, a 14th-round pick in 2015, was injured for much of last season. Miller hit .264 (66-for-250) with eight homers and 30 RBI at Class A Lynchburg. He was the Tribe’s 18th-round pick in 2015. Figueroa was 1-0 with a 2.78 ERA and two saves in 14 games for the Arizona Rookie League Indians.

The Indians selected left-hander Yapson Gomez from the Cubs and first baseman Wilson Garcia from Baltimore in the Triple-A phase of the draft. Gomez went 2-4 with a 3.28 in 38 games for Class A South Bend and Class A Myrtle Beach. He struck out 52 and walked 21 in 68 2/3 innings. Garcia, a switch-hitter, batted .293 (129-for-441) with 23 homers and 79 RBI for Class A Clearwater and Class A Frederick.

James Harris, the Indians’ director of player development, said the organization was sorry to lose Dowdy. “We were excited about him,” he said. “We think he was going to be a good player and we’re sad to lose him.”

Harris said Miller was slated to go to Akron in 2019 and trending in a positive way. “He’s a big power bat.” As for Figueroa, a native of the Dominican Republic, Harris said the clock ran out on the Indians.

“The way this works if a guy comes from Latin America, the clock starts quick,” said Harris. “Before we got a real chance to dig in on him, he’s Rule 5 eligible. We’re sad to lose him.”

Regarding the two players the Indians drafted, Harris said, “Garcia is a reliever, probably at the Double-A level and we’re looking to develop him. Garcia is a switch-hitting first baseman. We’ll see where he’s at.

“We spend a couple of months on this. We have tons of analysts look at these players. Guys are digging in to see players who can fit and who we like. They identified two guys and we were able to pick them up.”

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