2014 Cleveland Indians Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: January 15, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Francisco Lindor, Position: SS, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

373

121

.306

.373

.410

9.4%

10.5%

.104

19

6

1

20/25

AA

97

131

.289

.407

.395

15.4%

7.7%

.105

3

1

1

5/7

Profile: Bucking more than a decade long trend of avoiding high school players in the first round, the Indians grabbed Lindor with the eighth pick in the loaded – loaded – 2011 draft. The young shortstop followed up a solid showing as an 18-year-old in low Class A in 2012 by hitting a combined .303/.380/.407 last season, and his total offensive production (according to Weighted Runs Created Plus) was 23% better than the league average.

Analysis: Lindor owns the system’s top hit tool while garnering a reputation as one of best defensive middle infielders in the minor leagues. He’s never going to hit for a lot of power, but could peak as a .320/.385/.420-type hitter capable of 30 doubles, a handful of triples, six- to ten-homeruns, and 25 stolen bases.

Ceiling: 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

2. Clint Frazier, Position: CF, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

196

137

.297

.362

.506

8.7%

31.1%

.209

11

5

5

3/5

Profile: The first high school bat taken in last June’s draft, Clint Frazier, the fifth overall pick who will forever be known for his fiery red hair, hit .297/.362/.506 during his debut in the Arizona Summer League.  

Analysis: In a system short on middle-of-the-order bat potential, Frazer immediately steps in as the franchise’s top power prospect. The Georgia-born center fielder slugged 21 extra-base hits in 44 games. And while he showed a solid-average eye at the plate (8.7% BB-rate), Frazier’s strikeout rate, 31.1%, could already be bordering on a potential long term red flag.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

3. Trevor Bauer, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AAA

121.1

4.15

4.67

7.86

5.41

19.3%

13.3%

1.04

39.3%

MLB

17.0

5.29

6.74

5.82

8.47

13.6%

19.8%

1.59

35.3%

Profile: The mega three-team deal involving Arizona and Cincinnati had the makings as a career defining move for Cleveland’s GM Chris Antonetti and Bauer, taken five picks before shortstop Francisco Lindor, looked like the crown jewel. After breezing through his first two professional seasons, the 6-foot-1 right-hander barely resembled the collegiate ace he was just two seasons prior in 2013.

Analysis: During his two stints in the big leagues, Bauer’s fastball velocity was nearly identical, averaging just a shade over 92 mph. His problems, however, seem to be related more to the mental side of the game.

Mechanically, he’s lost. So much so, in fact, that he actually started one the games in Cleveland out of the stretch. The talent’s still there. Whether he can put it back together is another question, though he’ll be just 23-years-old.

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

4. Dorssys Paulino, Position: SS, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

523

83

.246

.297

.349

5.7%

17.4%

.103

28

3

5

12/19

Profile: Cleveland signed Paulino to a $1.1 million deal midseason 2011, but the Dominican-born middle infielder didn’t debut until the following year. The son of former big league southpaw Jesus Sanchez showed an advanced approach at the plate in the Arizona Summer League in 2012, hitting .333/.380/.558. Last season, however, he often looked overmatched (.246/.297/.349) against the Midwest League competition.   

Analysis: While Paulino’s numbers from last season leave much to be desired, he showed improvement every month of the season, posting OPSs of .496, .614, .661, .689, and .716. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Paulino start the year back in Lake County for a quick refresher. He could develop into an upper-third-of-the-lineup hitter. Defensively, he remains quite raw.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

5. Tony Wolters, Position: C, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

340

108

.277

.369

.353

12.1%

17.1%

.076

13

0

3

3/9

Profile: A player straight out of the Diamondbacks’ gritty, hard-nosed mold, the front office brass switched the former middle infielder to behind the plate with surprising results. Wolters, a former third rounder, threw out 28% of would-be base stealers and allowed just six passed balls in 58 games.

Analysis: Despite repeating high Class A, Wolters’ numbers showed only a modest improvement, which is a huge win considering his position change and the wear and tear on his body from the rigors of catching. Do not underestimate the position change. The lefty-swinging backstop shows no discernible platoon splits and could develop into .280/.350/.430-type hitter. 

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Anthony Santander, Position: LF/RF, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

238

91

.242

.303

.370

5.5%

18.1%

.128

13

0

5

6/9

Profile: Inked to a $385,000 bonus around the same time as teammate Dorssys Paulino, Santander missed most of the season due to injury, but managed to hit .242/.303/.370 in 238 plate appearances. And like Paulino, Santander impressed during his debut in the Arizona Summer League in 2012 (.305/.381/.494).

On a positive note, one more of struggles basically derailed Santander’s year with Lake County. He was batting .277/.326/.410 through the end of May, struggled through a horrid June (.172/.250/.287) before righting the ship during his final 13 games (.306/.358/.449).

Analysis: Santander, a switch-hitter, has struggled a bit against southpaws throughout his two-year career, hitting a collective .234/.306/.286 against them. He shows a well-rounded offensive game without a true standout tool, though he could develop 15- to 20-HR power. He’s slugged 28 doubles, one triple, and nine homeruns in his first 104 games. Subpar walk rate should develop into an average skill.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

7. LeVon Washington, Position: LF/CF, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

42

291

.486

.548

.946

11.9%

19.0%

.459

1

2

4

2/2

A

229

157

..321

.425

.477

14.0%

20.1%

.155

19

4

1

14/18

Profile: Originally drafted by Tampa Bay with the final pick in the 2009 first round, Washington did not sign, opting instead to attend JC power house Chipola College in hopes of securing a larger bonus. Cleveland grabbed him in the second round the following season and signed him to an above-average slot deal.

Analysis: Seemingly always banged up, Washington’s appeared in just 156 games throughout parts of four minor league seasons. The good news, though, is he’s going to be just 22-years-old. The hit tool, plate discipline, and speed are all underrated. I’m a big believer, despite the early career struggles, and Washington could develop into a good #2-type hitter.   

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low

 

8. Cody Anderson, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A+

123.1

2.34

3.38

8.17

2.26

23.0%

6.4%

0.44

37.9%

AA

12.2

5.68

5.49

7.11

6.39

16.7%

15.0%

1.42

19.5%

Profile: A fourteenth round pick out of Feather River College in 2011, Anderson had a solid, yet unimpressive showing in low Class A in 2012. The 6-foot-4 right-hander averaged just 6.59 punch outs per nine innings in an age-appropriate level. Last season, however, Anderson increased his K-rate by more than 1.5 while showing an improvement in his control.

Analysis: The Indians have had a certain amount of success developing Zach McAllister and Corey Kluber, pitchers of a similar ilk. After getting a cup of coffee in the Eastern League in 2013, Anderson is likely headed back to Akron, which could be the most important year of his career as Class AA separates the legitimate pitching prospects from the pretenders.

Ceiling: 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

9. Tyler Naquin, Position: CF, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

498

115

.277

.345

.424

8.2%

22.5%

.147

27

6

9

14/21

AA

85

58

.225

.271

.300

5.9%

25.9%

.075

3

0

1

1/4

Profile: A questionable pick from the onset, the franchise grabbed Naquin out of Texas A&M with the fifteenth overall pick in the 2012 draft, bypassing teammate Michael Wacha among others. Naquin showed solid-average plate discipline, slightly below-average power, and some base stealing prowess during his final two collegiate seasons.

Analysis: The very definition of a baseline performance for polished collegiate players in the lower rungs of the minor leagues, Naquin’s total production in high Class A was just 15% better than the league average in 2013. There’s really not a whole lot that separates his potential with the bat and, say, Trevor Crowe at this point in his respective career. Naquin could provide a half-win to a full win on defense given his strong arm.

Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

10. Luigi Rodriguez, Position: OF, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

88

96

.263

.345

.329

11.4%

28.4%

.066

2

0

1

5/8

A+

134

123

.283

.383

.398

13.4%

26.9%

.115

11

1

0

3/7

Profile: Rodriguez put together one of the more surprising seasons in the system in 2012, hitting .268/.338/.406 for low Class A. His production was 10% better than the Midwest League average, a promising sign for the then-19-year-old. Like a handful of the franchise’s better prospects, Rodriguez lost a significant portion of 2013 due to injury.

Analysis: A toolsy-type outfielder with above-average speed, strong plate discipline and surprising pop for a sub-6-foot player. Rodriguez has performed well against older competition up to this point in his career, but the lack of batting average thus far – he’s hit .267 between his time in the Midwest and Carolina Leagues – despite having a BABIP residing near .360 is a bit concerning. He is, however, sporting a 19.2% career line drive rate. Rodriguez is one of those guys that could either be a decent role player or survive a couple seasons as an everyday player.

Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

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