In this new series that we will be running here at CST, we will be checking in on how the top 10 prospects in the Cleveland Indians’ system are faring. We will use Baseball America’s ranking for the 2014 Cleveland Indians Top 10 Prospects. All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
1. Francisco Lindor SS – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: .288 BA (47-162), 4 HR, 30 RBI, 11 SB.
Lindor continues to rake at the plate this season. Despite not being known for having much power, Lindor has been hitting well in all aspects of the game. His near-.300 batting average suggests that he has been hitting for average successfully, while his 30 RBI through just 42 games played show that he can deliver in the clutch as well. Lindor has even put up 4 home runs this season, which is more than he was ever expected to hit by this point. For reference, his career-highs in home runs and RBI before this season were 6 and 42, respectively.
The Indians should be pretty excited to see this guy in an Indians uniform.
2. Clint Frazier OF – Class A Lake County
2014 Season Totals: .234 BA (32-130), 1 HR, 10 RBI, 6 SB, 6 2B, 3 3B.
In Frazier’s first regular season as a professional baseball player, he has shown that he has talent, but is understandably still getting acclimated to the grind of playing in the minor leagues. Frazier has the potential to be a five-tool player at the MLB level, and he has shown glimpses of that so far in his first spring with the Lake County Captains. While his home run numbers are down so far, Frazier has flashed his speed, stealing 6 bases and running out 3 triples in his first 32 games. The 19-year-old still has a lot of work to do at the plate, posting up 44 strikeouts already this season, but the foundation for Frazier is strong and it will be interesting to see how the kid progresses in the coming years.
3. Trevor Bauer P – Cleveland Indians
2014 Season Totals: 1-2 W-L, 3.86 ERA, 13 SO, 5 BB (w/ CLE); 4-1 W-L, 2.15 ERA, 44 SO, 14 BB (w/ AAA Columbus)
After a wild ride through the minor league systems of both the Indians and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bauer seems like he has finally found a spot on a Major League roster. After dominating with the Columbus Clippers in the outset of the season, Bauer has been called up to Cleveland and will take Danny Salazar’s spot in the rotation while he figures things out in AAA. Bauer’s command issues seem like a thing of the past, as he has posted 3.14:1 strikeout to walk ratio, a much better average than 2013’s 1.45:1 ratio. Bauer is still just 23 years old, so if he continues to light up the radar gun and find success at the Major League level, the Indians could really have a special pitcher in Bauer for the next several years.
4. Tyler Naquin OF – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: .285 BA (52-182), 2 HR, 18 RBI, 10 SB, 8 2B, 3 3B.
Naquin is one of those guys that does a lot of things well, and that will probably end up getting him to the MLB. No one stat of Naquin’s will blow you away, but when you put them all together he does look like a player with some five-tool potential. The 10 stolen bases at this point in the season shows some serious speed, and a .286 batting average to tag along with a .345 OBP shows Naquin’s solid presence at the plate. Naquin was the Indians’ top pick in the 2012 draft, and since he had the benefit of playing for Texas A&M for a few seasons, Naquin is getting close to being MLB-ready. He is 23 years old, so an MLB debut might be coming at sometime in the 2015 season.
5. Cody Anderson SP – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: 2-3 W-L, 4.35 ERA, 32 SO, 16 BB
Unlike many names on this list, Anderson has struggled so far in 2014. While the season is still just 2 months old, Anderson’s rough experiences have shown the club that he still has a ways to go on the road to the MLB. He has never been a strikeout pitcher, but his 32 strikeouts in 51.2 innings is a bit concerning. While his numbers are not awful, he still will need to pick things up before he advances through the minor league system.
6. Dorssys Paulino SS/OF – Class A Lake County
2014 Season Totals: .224 BA (30-134), 0 HR, 6 RBI, 8 2B.
While Paulino is almost certainly going to be traded with Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis taking up the middle infield spots for the long term future, the Indians’ front office would still be happy to see him succeed with the organization, even if it is just to bolster his trade stock. Unfortunately for both him and the club, Paulino has seen a good amount of struggles on offense and defense this season. The shortstop is hitting just .224 at the plate and possibly what is most concerning about his 2014 campaign are his problems at shortstop. Paulino has committed a whopping 13 errors in just 24 games at the position.
7. Ronny Rodriguez SS/2B/3B – Class AA Akron
2014 Season Totals: .194 BA (28-144), 3 HR, 18 RBI, 11 2B.
Rodriguez is another guy who will either be traded or be facing a position change due to the stopgaps at shortstop and second base in the Indians’ system. While Rodriguez has been facing a tough season at the plate batting average-wise, his base hits seem to be pretty effective whenever they come. Despite batting under .200, Rodriguez has still managed to drive in 18 runs and smash 11 doubles. Still, his batting average will need to come up a bit if he wants to progress further throughout the minor leagues.
8. CC Lee RP – Class AAA Columbus/Cleveland Indians
2o14 Season Totals: 11.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 SO, 4.76 ERA (w/ Cleveland Indians); 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 SO, 6.43 ERA (w/ AAA Columbus).
Indians fans have already gotten a taste of CC Lee in his brief stints with the big league club, but this season has not been good for the Taiwan-native. Lee was once one of the brightest bullpen prospects in the system, keeping his ERA well under 3.00 from 2011-2013, but the wheels seem to be falling off ever since he got called up to the MLB. Lee has been unable to find much success at either the MLB or AAA levels this season, and at 27 years old he will really need get something going quickly.
9. Jose Ramirez SS/2B – Class AAA Columbus/Cleveland Indians
2014 Season Totals: .301 BA (34-113), 4 HR, 18 RBI, 8 SB (w/ Columbus).
Indians have also gotten a glimpse of Jose Ramirez over the past two seasons, receiving a total of 39 plate appearances in his brief MLB career. While Ramirez’s short stint with the Tribe this season did not go well (2-25 at the plate), he has been playing very well at the AAA level. Ramirez is a solid contact hitter, and he has really flexed that part of his game this year, hitting just over .300 for the year. Ramirez is still just 21 years old, so the fact that he is already playing regularly at the AAA level is definitely reassuring. It will be hard to find Ramirez a position to play at the MLB level with Lindor and Kipnis occupying the middle infield spots, but the Indians will still attempt to incorporate him into the big league roster as much as possible.
10. Austin Adams RP – Class AAA Columbus
2014 Season Totals: 2-1 W-L, 4.09 ERA, 19 SO, 5 BB, 22.0 IP.
Adams was once a decent starting pitcher in the Indians’ system, but after an injury kept him out of the 2012 season, he was moved to the bullpen. Adams has had a fair season in Columbus’ bullpen this season. He has let up his share of runs, but has managed to keep good control, which is an important trait for a bullpen pitcher. Adams is 27 years old, so his dream of making an MLB team will most likely be out of the bullpen possibly as a September call-up.
By Jay Cannon