2014 Cleveland Indians Top 10 Prospects


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After five years out of the limelight, the Indians were an attraction again in 2013. With World Series-winning manager Terry Francona installed at the helm, Cleveland charged to a 21-6 record in September and snagged a wild-card berth, their first playoff appearance since 2007. The season came to a disappointing end, however, in a home loss to the Rays in the American League Wild Card game.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Francisco Lindor, ss
2. Clint Frazier, of
3. Trevor Bauer, rhp
4. Tyler Naquin, of
5. Cody Anderson, rhp
6. Dorssys Paulino, ss
7. Ronny Rodriguez ss/2b
8. C.C. Lee, rhp
9. Jose Ramirez 2b/ss
10. Austin Adams, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Francisco Lindor
Best Power Hitter Clint Frazier
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Francisco Lindor
Fastest Baserunner Jose Ramirez
Best Athlete D’vone McClure
Best Fastball Trey Haley
Best Curveball Trevor Bauer
Best Slider C.C. Lee
Best Changeup Trevor Bauer
Best Control Kyle Crockett
Best Defensive Catcher Roberto Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Francisco Lindor
Best Infield Arm Erik Gonzalez
Best Defensive Outfielder Tyler Naquin
Best Outfield Arm Tyler Naquin
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Francisco Lindor, ss (20) Double-A
2. Danny Salazar, rhp (24) Majors
3. Clint Frazier, of (19) Rookie
4. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b (25) Majors
5. Trevor Bauer, rhp (23) Majors
6. Tyler Naquin, of (22) Double-A
7. Cody Allen, rhp (25) Majors
8. Cody Anderson, rhp (23) Double-A
9. Dorssys Paulino, ss (19) Low Class A
10. Ronny Rodriguez ss/2b (21) Double-A
11. Jose Ramirez, 2b/ss (21) Majors
12. Kyle Crockett, lhp (22) Double-A
13. Francisco Mejia, c (18) Rookie
14. Luigi Rodriguz, of (21) High Class A
15. Carlos Moncrief, of (25) Double-A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Grady Sizemore, of Did not play
2005 Adam Miller, rhp Sugar Land (Atlantic)
2006 Adam Miller, rhp Sugar Land (Atlantic)
2007 Adam Miller, rhp Sugar Land (Atlantic)
2008 Adam Miller, rhp Sugar Land (Atlantic)
2009 Carlos Santana, c Indians
2010 Carlos Santana, c Indians
2011 Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b Indians
2012 Francisco Lindor, ss Indians
2013 Francisco Lindor, ss Indians
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Jeremy Sowers, lhp Out of baseball
2005 Trevor Crowe, of Astros
2006 David Huff, lhp (1st round supp.) Yankees
2007 Beau Mills, 3b/1b Out of baseball
2008 Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b Indians
2009 Alex White, rhp Astros
2010 Drew Pomeranz, lhp Rockies
2011 Francisco Lindor, ss Indians
2012 Tyler Naquin, of Indians
2013 Clint Frazier, of Indians
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Danys Baez, 1999 $4,500,000
Clint Frazier, 2013 $3,500,000
Jeremy Guthrie, 2002 $3,000,000
Francisco Lindor, 2011 $2,650,000
Drew Pomeranz, 2004 $2,650,000
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

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While the Indians have become relevant again, their improvement was largely thanks to veteran acquisitions rather than youth.

In addition to putting Francona in the dugout, the Indians signed free agents Nick Swisher, Jason Giambi and Michael Bourn. It helped also that Ubaldo Jimenez, largely a disappointment for most of his tenure in Cleveland since coming over in a blockbuster trade in 2011, reinvigorated his career by going 13-9, 3.30 for the season and 4-0, 1.09 in September.

The farm system played a relatively minor part in the Indians’ reversal of fortunes. Just four players who made meaningful contributions were fully homegrown, led by second baseman Jason Kipnis, who became an all-star in his second full season in the majors.

Rookie righthander Danny Salazar was the only homegrown pitcher to start a game for Cleveland in 2013, though he was instrumental to the Tribe’s September run. He posted a 3.33 ERA after joining the rotation in August to help compensate for Justin Masterson going down with an oblique injury. He even got the start in the Wild Card game against Tampa Bay, though he took the loss. But outside of Salazar, rookie reliever Cody Allen was the only other homegrown pitcher to see significant action.

The Indians struggled to get good returns when they traded Cy Young Award-winning southpaws C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee in 2008 and 2009, which set back their rebuilding process. They sold off another productive veteran prior to the 2013 season when they gave up Shin-Soo Choo in a three-team deal with the Reds and Diamondbacks, landing righthanders Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw from Arizona. Shaw contributed 70 appearances and a 3.24 ERA out of the bullpen, but Bauer was a disappointment.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bauer rarely got on track at Triple-A Columbus and put up an uninspiring 4.15 ERA. He made just four big league starts during the season, and the club didn’t bother calling him up during the pennant race in September.

As was the case in past trades for Choo, Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera, the Indians score better on the margins. For example, they got catcher Yan Gomes along with utilityman Mike Aviles from the Blue Jays for Esmil Rogers. The first Brazilian to ever play in the majors, Gomes hit .294/.345/.481 for the Indians to force his way into the lineup, leading to Santana spending more time at DH.

Other than an imminent changing of the guard at shortstop from Cabrera to top prospect Francisco Lindor, the Indians will have to lean heavily on their current core in the immediate future. The system has few true impact players outside of Lindor and 2013 first-rounder Clint Frazier, the reigning BA High School Player of the Year. Whatever contributions the team gets from young players in 2014 will probably be from relievers such as righthanders Austin Adams and C.C. Lee, along with a hoped-for rebound from Bauer.