In this series that we are running here at CST, we will be checking in on how the top 5 prospects in the Cleveland Indians’ system are faring. We will use Baseball America’s ranking for the 2014 Cleveland Indians Top 5 Prospects. Let’s see where some of the Indians’ brightest young stars fared as we approach the halfway point in the season. All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
1. Francisco Lindor SS – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: .283 BA (79-279), 6 HR, 43 RBI, 19 SB.
Francisco Lindor’s continual development at the plate is extremely encouraging to see for anyone associated with the Indians’ organization, especially with the frustrations Asdrubal Cabrera has caused at the major league level this season. Lindor has continued to hit for contact, something he has done well for his whole professional career, and has even shown up a bit in the power department, already matching a career high in home runs. What has been most encouraging about Lindor’s fine season at the plate is his production in the RBI category. Lindor, who had never before driven in over 42 runners in a season, has already accumulated 43 RBI before July, which shows that he could potentially be relied on in RBI-situations in the future.
The 20-year-old continues to steal bases at an impressive rate and flash his stellar glove at shortstop, showing just how versatile this kid is. Lindor suffered a broken nose towards the end of the month, but should be back within 7-10 days of the injury. The organization should be pretty excited to see this guy in an Indians uniform.
2. Clint Frazier OF – Class A Lake County
2014 Season Totals: .247 BA (64-259), 5 HR, 24 RBI, 7 SB, 9 2B, 4 3B.
Clint Frazier seems to be finally adjusting to his first real season of professional baseball. In the first two months of his season with the Lake County Captains, Frazier seemed to be finding some struggles in adjusting to the higher level of pitching, relative to what he has faced in the past. In those first two months, Frazier produced only 1 home run and 10 RBI, while he was striking out at an alarming rate. June has been much more kind to the 2013 draft pick. In the past month, Frazier has rallied for 4 HR and 14 RBI, while bringing his average up from the low .230’s to .247.
With the hitting side of Frazier’s game slowly coming to fruition, the 19-year-old is looking like that five-tool player that the Indians took a chance on in last summer’s draft.
Stock: Slowly Increasing
3. Trevor Bauer SP – Cleveland Indians
2014 Season Totals: 2-4 W-L, 4.39 ERA, 52 SO, 20 BB
After a wild ride through the minor league systems of both the Indians and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Trevor Bauer seems like he has finally found a spot on a Major League roster. Bauer has been a solid piece to the Tribe’s rotation in the past couple months and has showed both the club and himself that he is ready to compete at the MLB level. While the control problem has reappeared a bit in the last month, the 23-year-old has shown that he can cope with his issues and has asserted himself as a true MLB starting pitcher.
4. Tyler Naquin OF – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: .313 BA (95-304), 4 HR, 30 RBI, 14 SB, 12 2B, 5 3B.
Tyler Naquin caught fire in the month of June and could potentially be looking at a promotion to AAA as a result. Naquin, who was already batting .285 heading into the month, saw his average skyrocket to .313, in large part thanks to a solid 16-game hit streak that he put together. Naquin, who does so many things well on the field, is starting to look a lot like a young Michael Brantley, someone who does not blow you away with power numbers, but can make contact and drive in runs. Naquin is 23 years old now, so a call-up to AAA could be in his near future.
5. Cody Anderson SP – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: 2-7 W-L, 5.14 ERA, 52 SO, 33 BB
The 2014 season has not been kind to Anderson, as he has struggled to find much of anything in the first half of the campaign. Anderson has never been a strikeout pitcher, but his whiff numbers are something to be worried about (52 SO in 80.1 IP). If anything, this season has showed the Indians’ front office that this starting pitcher still has a ways to go before he sees the bright lights of the MLB. Anderson is still just 23 years old, so there is no reason to give up on him after a disappointing start to 2014, and the tall right-hander could still find himself in the Indians’ future pitching staff plans if he can pull things together in the Minors.
By Jay Cannon