Francisco Mejia Solidifies Status As Top Catching Prospect

Best Player: C Francisco Mejia

Mejia continued to solidify his status as one of the top catching prospects in the game, and he was rewarded with a September callup to the big leagues. In 92 games at Double-A Akron, he hit .297/.346/.490 with 14 home runs had 52 RBIs.

While Mejia didn’t match his performance from a record-breaking 2016 season, when he authored a 50-game hitting streak at two Class A levels, he is a switch-hitting catcher with a strong arm who reached Double-A at age 21. He is not a finished product defensively, but the Indians can afford to be be patient as they develop Mejia.

Best Pitcher: RHP Triston McKenzie

When the Indians selected McKenzie in the supplemental first round of the 2015 draft, he was considered an advanced high school pitcher, albeit with a less-than-stout (6-foot-5, 165 pounds) frame.

People don’t mention McKenzie’s frame quite as much anymore. In 25 starts at high Class A Lynchburg, he went 12-6, 3.46 and was named the Carolina League pitcher of the year. In addition to his 1.05 WHIP, he in 143 innings struck out 186, 40 more than anyone else in the league.

Using his plus fastball and curve, McKenzie held opponents to a .203 average. Righthanded batters hit just .175 against him. He’ll start next year at Double-A as a 20-year-old.

Keep An Eye On: OF Conner Capel

Capel flashed an intriguing power-speed mix at low Class A Lake County, where in addition to belting 22 home runs, he stole 15 bases and banged out seven triples.

The son of Mike Capel, who appeared in 49 big league games for the Cubs, Brewers and Astros from 1988-91, Conner was a fifth-round pick last year out of high school in Katy, Texas. He struggled in the Rookie-level Arizona League last year, but at age 20 started to blossom in the Midwest League this year.

“Conner improved daily because of his hard work, determination and willingness to make adjustments,” assistant general manager Carter Hawkins said. “Although he struggled early in the year, his production overall was extremely impressive. Despite being one of the younger players on the team, he was a leader through example, and has built a solid foundation for the rest of his career.”

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