Cleveland Indians Top 20 2012 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
Continuing with our reviews of the Top 20 pre-season prospect lists, we return to the American League and the Cleveland Indians. Remember, this is a pre-season list. It is not a new list.
This list was originally published January 4th, 2012.
The next team on the list is the Milwaukee Brewers, followed by the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Miami Marlins to finish up.
1) Francisco Lindor, SS, Grade B+: .269/.361/.376 with 48 walks, 60 strikeouts, 23 steals in 383 at-bats for Lake County in the Low-A Midwest League. Superior defense, and I'm confident that his hitting will pick up as he matures physically.
2) Dillon Howard, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline B. 7.66 ERA with 16/11 K/BB in 22 innings for Arizona Rookie League Indians, 34 hits, 33 runs allowed, 2.93 GO/AO. He's getting grounders at least but otherwise he hasn't performed well.
3) Tony Wolters, SS, Grade B-: Borderline B. .261/.326/.376 with 32 walks, 79 strikeouts in 375 at-bats for High-A Carolina, making jump from short-season ball at age 20. Probably ends up at second base paired with Lindor in the long run. I feel he is capable of better performance.
4) Jake Sisco, RHP, Grade C+: A favorite sleeper for me pre-season, has a 3.47 ERA with a 26/19 K/BB in 47 innings for short-season Mahoning Valley in the New York-Penn League. Holding his own but we need to see a better K/BB and K/IP ratio as he moves up.
5) Luigi Rodriguez, OF, Grade C+: Tools outfielder, hitting .267/.335/.403 with nine homers, 41 walks, 111 strikeouts in 382 at-bats, 19 steals. Just 19, high ceiling but very much in the "needs refinement" stage of his career.
5) Ronny Rodriguez, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .272/.306/.438 with 12 homers, 13 walks, 67 strikeouts in 349 at-bats in High-A, advanced posting for a 20-year-old. Excellent arm, still working to improve reliability, has power in the bat but plate discipline remains problematic.
6) Nick Hagadone, LHP, Grade C+: 6.39 ERA with 26/15 K/BB in 25 major league innings, 26 hits. I thought he would do a lot better than that. On DL with "self-inflicted" broken arm.
7) Elvis Araujo, LHP, Grade C+: 5.06 ERA with 80/50 K/BB in 101 innings for Lake County, 112 hits. Just four homers allowed, but command has held him back. Awful lately with 7.99 ERA in his last 10 starts. Has problems with his mechanics.
8) Felix Sterling, RHP, Grade C+: 6.09 ERA with 69/39 K/BB in 92 innings, 93 hits, all but 2.2 innings in Low-A, has given up 15 homers. Currently back in the Arizona Rookie League.
9) Scott Barnes, LHP, Grade C+: 3.46 ERA with 47/20 K/BB in 39 innings, 27 hits for Triple-A Columbus, converting to relief. 8.10 ERA in seven major league games, has fanned 10 in 10 innings but allowed seven walks. I still like him.
10) Cord Phelps, 2B, Grade C+: Hitting .268/.355/.436 with 11 homers, 50 walks, 70 strikeouts in 385 at-bats for Columbus. Doesn't have great range but has made just four errors in 101 games. Somebody should be able to get some use out of him eventually
11) LeVon Washington, OF, Grade C+: Got off to a good start at Lake County (11-for-25, .440) but has been out since late April with a hip injury.
12) Chen Lee, RHP, Grade C+: Got off to a good start at Columbus (8/1 K/BB in seven innings, 12.00 GO/AO) but has been on the DL since late April with a forearm injury.
13) Chun Chen, C, Grade C+: Hitting .318/.408/.443 with 47 walks, 80 strikeouts, 26 doubles, four homers in 318 at-bats for Double-A Akron. Playing first base this year, which cuts into his value a great deal.
14) Austin Adams, RHP, Grade C+: Has missed entire year with shoulder trouble.
15) Jake Lowery, C, Grade C+: .217/.316/.329 with 38 walks, 88 strikeouts in 258 at-bats between Low-A and High-A, 28% of runners caught. Very disappointing.
16) Matt Packer, LHP, Grade C+: 1.72 ERA with 24/2 K/BB in 31 innings at three levels, includes time in High-A, Double-A, and rookie ball rehab, hampered by a shoulder injury. He's been great when he's actually on the mound.
17) Enosil Tejeda, RHP, Grade C+: 2.33 ERA with 16/9 K/BB in 19 innings between Mahoning Valley and Lake County. Sample not big enough to really mean much at this point.
18) Jorge Martinez, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .367/.392/.558 with seven walks, 28 strikeouts in 120 at-bats in the Arizona Rookie League.Washed out at shortstop, now at third base. 19 years old. I lowered him to a Grade C after this list came out. This is now his third year in rookie balll, needs to move up.
19) Robel Garcia, 3B; Grade C+: .215/.307/.300 with 44 walks, 87 strikeouts in 340 at-bats between Lake County and Mahoning Valley. Another guy switching between the infield positions, bat has been quite disappointing. 19 years old, draws some walks but otherwise a long way to go.
20) Giovanni Soto, LHP, Grade C+: Here's one who has stayed healthy. 3.84 ERA with 97/44 K/BB in 117 innings for Akron, 106 hits, 1.81 GO/AO. Doesn't have the stuff to excite scouts, but he keeps the ball down and could sneak into some innings.
21) Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Grade C+: .288/.382/.473 with 11 homers, 44 walks, 85 strikeouts in 330 at-bats for Carolina. Avoids errors but is considered limited on defense. He's having a good year but the talent curve at first base is tough.
I was fairly optimistic about the Indians system pre-season. They had a lot of C+ guys that I thought could improve, especially from their efforts in Latin America. Unfortunately, there has been a rash of injuries, and most of the tools guys haven't done much.
On the positive side, Zach McAllister has been excellent, and I'm going to do a full report on him shortly. The report in the book on him was more positive than the Grade C grade may reflect, but I didn't give him enough credit. Corey Kluber has had a fine year in Triple-A and can contribute. Jared Goedert is old for a prospect but just keeps killing the ball.
The Indians came in $195,400 under slot budget in the draft, bringing in a polished hitter in Tyler Naquin, two promising high school arms with Mitch Brown and Kieran Lovegrove, toolsy outfielder D'Vone McClure, and junior college rocket Dylan Baker. I like diversity in a draft class and the Indians got this, but other than Naquin I don't see a lot of guys who will shoot up the charts quickly.