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Cleveland Indians Top 20 Prospects for 2017: Mid-Season review

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Checking in on the Cleveland Indians pre-season prospect list.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Francisco Mejia
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Cleveland Indians Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

This list was originally published February 13th, 2017.

1) Francisco Mejia, C, Grade B+/A-: Age 21, hitting .317/.369/.517 in Double-A, 35% of runners caught, meeting or exceeding all expectations as elite prospect on both sides of ball.

Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers - Game One
Bradley Zimmer
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

2) Bradley Zimmer, OF, Grade B+: Age 24, hitting .282/.345/.464 in 209 major league at-bats, 13 steals; power, speed, solid on-base skills, this should all continue.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Triston McKenzie
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

3) Triston McKenzie, RHP, Grade B+: Age 20, 3.64 ERA in 114 innings in High-A, 142/41 K/BB, just 80 hits; only minor flaw is some occasional gopherititis, excellent pitching prospect, A/A-.

4) Bobby Bradley, 1B, Grade B+: Age 21, hitting .239/.333/.453 with 18 homers, 48 walks, 92 strikeouts in 351 at-bats in Double-A; no change really, huge raw power, patience, with batting average concerns; defense has improved.

5) Brady Aiken, LHP, Grade B/B+: Age 20, first round pick in 2015 coming off Tommy John surgery; 4.65 ERA in 104 innings in Low-A, 65/80 K/BB; control has obviously been unacceptable; I’m not sure what to think at this point but he is still young.

6) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Grade B: Age 22; on DL since the end of April; I had him rated too high here in any event.

7) Greg Allen, OF, Grade B: Age 24, sixth round pick in 2014 from San Diego State, all the rage a year ago but has missed much of 2017 with injuries, hitting just .239/.326/.363 when healthy in Double-A, albeit with 13 steals in 13 attempts and strong glove.

8) Juan Hillman, LHP, Grade B/B-: Age 20, 5.95 ERA in 107 innings in Low-A, 81/38 K/BB, 114 hits; Midwest League sources say he’s not showing the same kind of stuff he demonstrated in high school and got him drafted in the second round in 2015.

9) Yu-Cheng Chang, SS, Grade B-: Age 21, signed out of Taiwan in 2013, hitting .226/.316/.475 with 19 homers, 10 steals, 38 walks, 107 strikeouts in 341 at-bats; contact issues evident but power/speed combo is nice and he can play shortstop.

10) Nolan Jones, 3B, Grade B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2016 from high school in Pennsylvania, hitting .264/.386/.392 in 125 at-bats in New York-Penn League; defense needs a lot of work but bat is quite interesting.

11) Will Benson, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Georgia hitting .240/.328/.397 in NY-P, strikeout concerns with 49 in 121 at-bats but high-potential hitter.

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians
Yandy Diaz
Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

12) Yandy Diaz, 3B, Grade B-: Age 25, Cuban, continues mashing in Triple-A, hitting .350/.455/.477 with excellent strike zone judgment and strong defense at third; obviously ready for the majors.

13) Erik Gonzalez, SS, Grade B-: Age 25, hitting .263/.272/.400 in 80 major league at-bats, a fair representation of his abilities.

14) Adam Plutko, RHP, Grade B-: Age 25, 11th round pick in 2013 out of UCLA; proven success in past seasons but having a terrible 2017, 6.71 ERA in 106 innings in Triple-A, 122 hits, 79/41 K/BB; has he finally found a level that he can’t fool with his bag of tricks? Perhaps, but he’s proven people wrong before and may adjust.

15) Tyler Krieger, 2B, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2015 out of Clemson, hitting .224/.295/.346 in 335 at-bats in Double-A, difficult transition to higher level pitching, other skills not enough to compensate so far.

16) Shawn Morimando, LHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 19th round pick in 2011; 4.05 ERA in 135 innings in Triple-A, 105/42 K/BB, 145 hits; not overpowering but has a shot as a four/five starter.

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers
Ryan Merritt
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

17) Ryan Merritt, LHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 16th round pick in 2011; effective in Triple-A with 3.14 ERA in 103 innings, 79/25 K/BB; successful in limited major league experience so far including 2016 post-season; deserves a shot.

18) Shawn Armstrong, RHP, Grade C+: Age 26, drafted in 18th round in 2011; 4.22 ERA in 21 major league innings, 18/9 K/BB, a competent middle reliever who could be around for years in that role.

19) Nellie Rodriguez, 1B, Grade C+: Age 23, 15th round pick in 2012 from high school in New York; hitting .167/.259/.345 in 293 at-bats in Triple-A, 136 strikeouts the culprit here; big power but irrelevant if he can’t make contact.

20) Shane Bieber, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2016 from University of California Santa Barbara; 3.18 ERA in 130 innings between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A with ridiculous 121/7 K/BB ratio; no, that’s not a typo; be interesting to see how this holds up in Triple-A.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Tim Cooney, LHP: Injured.
Aaron Civale, RHP: 3.68 ERA in 130 innings in Low-A/High-A, 114/13 K/BB.
Andrew Calica, OF: Hitting .255/.346/.360 in 275 at-bats in High-A.
Matt Esparza, RHP: 3.81 ERA in 111 innings in High-A/Double-A, 93/35 K/BB.

Oscar Gonzalez, OF: Hitting .299/.317/.396 in the New York-Penn League.
Cameron Hill, RHP: 3.52 ERA in 55 innings in Double-A, 41/15 K/BB.
Logan Ice; C: Hitting .228/.322/.374 in Low-A, strong with the glove though.
Leando Linares, RHP: 2.85 ERA in 41 innings between High-A and Double-A, 38/22 K/BB.
Luis Lugo, LHP: 4.74 ERA in 104 innings in Double-A, 69/41 K/BB, a rather blah year.
Mark Mathias, 2B: Hit disappointing .212/.328/.308 in 104 at-bats in Double-A before going down with shoulder injury.
Gabriel Mejia, OF: Just .225/.253/.270 in 89 Low-A at-bats but hampered by injury.
Julian Merryweather, RHP: 4.15 in 100 innings Double-A/Triple-A with 97/24 K/BB.

Thomas Pannone, LHP: Excellent year, 1.99 ERA in 110 innings High-A/Double-A, 120/28 K/BB, trade to Toronto Blue Jays in Joe Smith deal.
Dorssys Paulino, OF: .233/.327/.338 in 275 Double-A at-bats; still just 22 but hasn’t built in 16 progress.
Francisco Perez, LHP: 3.80 ERA in 43 innings in NY-P, 32/14 K/BB.
Ka’ai Tom, OF: Hitting .251/.331/.405 with 21 steals, 378 at-bats in High-A.

I will be away from my computer the next 72 hours most of the time but will try and answer questions when I can. We’ll hit the ground running again on Tuesday and get these reviews finished up.