Mills’ remarkable week continues with 13th pick in draft
Lewis-Clark State College junior third baseman Beau Mills became the highest overall draft pick in program history when the Cleveland Indians selected him with the 13th pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday.
Mills is the 98th player from LCSC to be drafted since 1975, but the first player to be selected in the top five rounds. The previous highest pick was in the 1982 draft when Cleveland selected outfielder Pookie Bernstein in the fifth round with the 118th pick overall. Bernstein made it to the Triple A level, but never played with the Cleveland Indians.
“I’m excited to play for Cleveland,” Mills said during a conference call with the media on Thursday afternoon. “It’s a great organization and I’m looking forward to putting on a Cleveland uniform.”
It’s been a great week for Mills, who helped LCSC win its 15th NAIA national title last week in a 9-2 win over Spring Arbor University of Michigan. In that game, Mills hit three home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in eight runs. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound 20-year-old was named the MVP of the tournament, and earlier in the day, was named the NAIA’s Player of the Year.
On Thursday, Mills was at McAfee Coliseum to watch Oakland take on Boston, a game in which Curt Schilling had a no-hitter for 8 2/3 innings. Beau’s father, Brad Mills, is a bench coach with the Boston Red Sox and rented a luxury suite at the stadium to watch the draft, which for the first time was nationally televised. Beau said about 20 members of his family and friends were in the suite watching prior to the Oakland-Boston game when he received the phone call from the Indians’ Pacific Northwest scout Greg Smith, who told Beau the Indians were about to select him.
Beau said the suite erupted and during the celebration he hugged his dad and told him he looks forward to playing against him.
A couple of days before the draft, Beau said he was talking to his dad and other Red Sox coaches about places to play, and John Farrell, Boston’s first-year pitching coach, gave Cleveland high marks. Prior to this season, Farrell had been the Indians’ Director of Player Development.
“He told me it was a great place to play because of the fans and the organization,” Beau said.
Beau said the Indians’ organization talked with him about moving to first base. He says he doesn’t object, but would welcome the opportunity to stay at third.
“If they move me to first, I'm going to respect what the organization thinks,” Beau said. “I'm going to show them I can play wherever they put me.”
Beau said his agent, Matt Laird, will begin contract discussions with the Indians during the next couple of days and he’s hoping that a deal can be worked out soon that will get him on the field. In last year’s draft, Tyler Colvin was the 13th overall selection and received a contract signing bonus worth $1.475 million.
“Hopefully it will go well and I can get on the baseball field quickly and start playing,” Beau said.
According to the Indians’ Web site, Cleveland scouting director John Mirabelli says if Beau signs with the team, the Indians will put him on their Class A short-season team, Mahoning Valley, in the New York-Penn League. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are located in Niles, Ohio.
Mirabelli was quoted on the Web site as saying Beau could be a middle-of-the-order hitter, which can be a tough player to find.
“He has so much power that he can miss-hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Mirabelli said on the Web site. “He needs to use the whole field and be more selective. That will allow for him to get to his power more effectively than he does now.”
Beau showed off his power this season in his only year in a Warrior uniform when he hit an NAIA single-season record 38 home runs in the season. He had three three-home run games and tied or set a number of school records.
Beau finished the year with a .458 batting average (110-240) with 100 runs scored, 22 doubles, one triple, and 123 RBI. He shattered the school mark with a 1.033 slugging percentage and twice tied a school record by driving in eight runs in a game. He also had six hits in a game against Gonzaga, tying another school mark, and had a 24-game hitting streak during the season, which is fifth longest in school history.
In the Avista NAIA World Series, he hit .444 during the five games and hit five home runs. He started and played in 62 games this season and helped the team to a 58-5 record.
Beau said he heard from several teammates and coaches after the draft, including LCSC coach Ed Cheff, who Beau credits for helping him become the player he is.
“I owe a lot to him,” Beau said. “Every day at the ballpark there was a purpose and something to work on. Playing at Lewis-Clark State was very good for me. My teammates and the coaching staff were great.”