Top 20 PRE-SEASON Indians Prospects in Review
This is the PRE-SEASON list. That means it was generated BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED and that the grades were PRE-SEASON. Anyone complaining about the grades based on 2006 performance will be smacked up the side of the head with a Scott Pratt autographed bat.
1) Andy Marte, 3B, Grade A
Doing better now after a poor May, hitting .271/.333/.464 with 13 homers and 20 doubles for Triple-A Buffalo. How much longer will he be in the minors?
2) Jeremy Sowers, LHP, B+
7.47 ERA in his first three starts. He'll improve but like most finesse pitchers he will need adjustment time.
3) Fernando Cabrera, RHP, B+
6.46 ERA in 27 games for the Indians, 33/20 K/BB in 31 innings. Command has really slipped this year, bloating his ERA. He is better than this but probably not as good as he looked last year.
4) Stephen Head, 1B, B+
Hitting .210/.287/.340 for Class A Kinston. 31/42 BB/K mark in 300 at-bats is very good actually, a low strikeout rate and decent walks, but everything else is weak. Have to wonder if there is an injury of some sort here.
5) Brad Snyder, OF, B
Hitting .267/.344/.411 for Double-A Akron, 37/96 BB/K in 341 at-bats. Some pop to go with 11 steals, but strikeout rate is way too high.
6) Ryan Garko, 1B, B
Hitting .256/.360/.446 for Buffalo, 13 homers. He is capable of better and I think a breakthrough is possible next year.
7) Trevor Crowe, OF, B
Hitting a combined .328/.442/.466 with 31 steals in 64 games between Class A Lake County, Class A Kinston, and Double-A Akron. Lots of speed, gap power, high OBP. A very fine player.
8) John Drennen, OF, B
Hitting .320/.410/.482 in 62 games for Lake County. Looks solid to me, home run power should increase down the line.
9) Adam Miller, RHP, B-
8-5, 3.75 in 15 starts for Akron, 91/27 K/BB in 96 innings. Pitching pretty well, best news is that he is healthy and has his velocity back after '05 elbow trouble.
10) Andrew Brown, RHP, B-
2.20 ERA in 49 innings for Buffalo, 42/33 K/BB. Good stuff, hard to hit, control is still an issue.
11) Chuck Lofgren, LHP, B-
11-3, 1.95 in 16 starts for Kinston, 81/33 K/BB in 88 innings, 63 hits and just ONE homer allowed. Look for him to jump up the lists quickly this fall.
12) Ryan Mulhern, 1B, B-
Hitting .264/.338/.413 for Akron. Numbers OK but not stellar for a corner player. Strikeout rate is high.
13) Edward Mujica, RHP, B-
Sleeper prospect. Check this out: 19 innings with zero earned runs in Double-A. 20 innings with zero earned runs in Triple-A. Now has 8 shutout innings so far in the majors. Umm....that's pretty good, I'd say. He hasn't gotten much attention yet but that MUST change. I'd pick him up.
14) Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, B-
Injuries have limited him to 53 games for Akron, but he's hitting .419/.472/.660. No he won't keep that up, but he is a legitimate hitter who could hit .280 in the majors with good pop.
15) Kelly Shoppach, C, C+
Hit .282/.356/.538 in 21 games for Buffalo, plus 10-for-34 (.294/.368/.441) in 14 games for the Indians. Needs playing time and should do well when he gets it.
16) Mike Aubrey, 1B, C+
Hitting .278/.385/.537 between Akron and Kinston, though injury problems have limited him to just 14 games.
17) Fausto Carmona, RHP, C+
4.08 ERA in 20 games, 31/13 K/BB in 40 innings. I have never been a huge fan but it looks like he is doing better than I expected, and positioning himself for further success.
18) Tony Sipp, LHP, C+
3.03 ERA in 33 innings for Akron, 44/14 K/BB ratio.
19) Generalissimo Ben Francisco, OF, C+
Hitting .279/.341/.443 in 85 games for Buffalo, 10 homers, 17 steals. Sleeper prospect with some power/speed potential.
20) Nick Weglarz, 1B, C+
Just one game so far in the Gulf Coast League, went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.
Although the major league club is not doing as well as expected, I still think there is considerable reason for optimism. There are success stories on the farm. Crowe, Lofgren, Miller, and Mujica are bright spots. . .Shoppach looks good too, and I think Sowers will adjust. Kouzmanoff and Aubrey can hit when healthy. But what is up with Stephen Head?
Between the Tigers, White Sox, Indians, and Twins, the AL Central should be a terrific division over the next few years .The Royals have an intriguing offensive core coming up but need to find pitching to compete. Will anyone be able to run away with his division and win consistently over the next few years? Or will we see a free-for-all high-talent bloodbath?