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Cleveland Indians Top 20 Prospects

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  1. Adam Miller, RHP, A
  2. Grady Sizemore, OF, B+
  3. Michael Aubrey, 1B, B+
  4. Franklin Gutierrez, OF, B+
  5. Brad Snyder, OF, B+
  6. Ryan Garko, C-1B, B+
  7. Fernando Cabrera, RHP, B
  8. Jeremy Sowers, LHP, B
  9. Francisco Cruceta, RHP, B-
  10. Nick Pesco, RHP, B-
  11. Justin Hoyman, RHP, B-
  12. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, B-
  13. Fausto Carmona, RHP, C+
  14. Brandon Pinckney, SS, C+
  15. Ryan Goleski, OF, C+
  16. Scott Lewis, LHP, C+
  17. Matt Whitney, 3B, C+
  18. Jake Dittler, RHP, C+
  19. Tony Sipp, LHP, C+
  20. Mike Butia, OF, C+
The Indians have excellent depth. You can make a case for several players not in the Top 20 that could deserve to be there. . .Dan Denham, Jake Dittler, Andrew Brown, and Chuck Lofgren all have a chance to be very good pitchers if they can refine their command to go with their raw stuff. I'm less optimistic about Jeremy Guthrie. He is quite the enigma. He has a good arm, but the results have just not been there, at least in Triple-A, where he has been hammered. I think a conversion to relief could help him, but as far as I know that has not been considered.

On the position player side, catcher Javi Herrera, outfielder Argenis Reyes, third baseman Chris Gimenez, outfielder Juan Valdez, second baseman Jake Gautreau (recently acquired from the Padres), outfielder Jason Cooper, and outfielder Ben Francisco are all possible contributors at some point. There are a host of other Grade C candidates who could also be mentioned. This is a deep system with a blend of both stathead favorites and raw tools players.

Of the guys in my Top 20, most of the grades shouldn't be particularly controversial. An exception is third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who doesn't impress scouts but who has hit .309/.374/.498 in 184 career games. A University of Nevada product, he has an excellent work ethic and has hit the hell out of the ball so far. Grade B- may be too aggressive; he wasn't young for the South Atlantic League last year at 22, and you can make a good case that he should be several slots lower than on the list until he proves himself in Double-A. For now, I will leave him where he is, with the acknowledgement that it is a risky pick.

Another grade of interest is pitcher Fausto Carmona. He has a great arm, but I can't get around him giving up 114 hits in 87 innings in Double-A.

I no longer count Brandon Phillips and Jhonny Peralta as "prospects" given the amount of playing time they received in 2003. I think both are capable of helping in 2005, with Peralta probably more likely to do well.

I'm not going to be around today, but will be back for Sunday. Chat away, but play nicely.