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After signing with the Dodgers for $75,000 in 2004, Santana spent his first two seasons playing third base and the outfield. He made the transition to catcher during instructional league after the 2006 season, then broke out with an MVP season in the high Class A California League. Los Angeles traded Santana and Jonathan Meloan to the Indians that July in a deadline deal for third baseman Casey Blake, agreeing to send a higher-quality prospect if Cleveland covered the roughly $2 million remaining on Blake's contract. Santana added another MVP trophy last season in the Double-A Eastern League . The only negative for Santana came while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where he broke the hamate bone in his right hand and had surgery in early December. He should be ready by the start of spring training. Santana has a bat that would fit nicely at any position, making it a premium bat for a catcher. Showing the ability to draw walks at a high clip, Santana is selectively aggressive, not offering at pitches he can't handle on the edges and taking an aggressive swing at pitches in his zone. He has good balance at the plate and generally shows a compact swing. Though he's not a big catcher like Victor Martinez, Santana maximizes his swing from top to bottom to generate plus power from both sides of the plate. He uses a leg lift to incorporate his lower half into his swing. He has above-average bat speed and strong hands, and he gets late acceleration through the zone with his wrists. Santana is a solid defensive catcher, with an arm that gets plus grades or better, accuracy and a quick release. He threw out 30 percent of basestealers last year. His athleticism also helps his agility behind the dish. Santana's swing gets long at times and he's still learning how to keep it under control. His stride can get him caught out on his front foot, and some EL observers questioned his ability to turn on hard stuff inside. His receiving skills have made progress, though as a converted catcher he still needs additional seasoning. Santana has the physical tools to be an above-average defensive catcher, but he's still learning nuances such as game management. After Santana finished with Akron, the Indians brought him to Cleveland--not to play but to be a part of pregame meetings and sit in the stands behind home plate with their advance scouts . He's a below-average runner. With the Indians trading Martinez to the Red Sox last July and shipping Kelly Shoppach to the Rays in December, the door is open for Santana to take over in Cleveland at some point in 2010. His injury might set back his timetable, but he likely would have started the season at Triple-A Columbus regardless. He should be the Indians' full-time catcher by 2011 and has the potential to be a perennial all-star.
Baseball America rated Chisenhall as college baseball's top freshman for 2007, but South Carolina dismissed him after an arrest on charges of larceny. He emerged at Pitt (N.C.) CC and batted .410 with eight strikeouts in 219 plate appearances in 2008, going 29th overall in the draft and signing for $1.1 million. He finished his first full pro season by helping Akron win the Eastern League title, hitting .467 in the postseason. Chisenhall draws rave reviews for his simple, low-maintenance swing. He stays calm, quiet and balanced at the plate, using a short, compact stroke with good bat speed and length through the zone. He has a good approach at the plate, hanging in well against lefthanders, staying back to drive balls to the opposite field and using his hands to adjust to breaking balls. He has a strong arm, good hands and body control, plus solid range to both sides at third base, where he moved after playing shortstop in his pro debut. He's a good athlete with average speed. Chisenhall doesn't project to have plus raw power but he could develop average pop in time. He initially struggled at third base with his footwork and throwing, though the majority of his errors came at the beginning of the year. He had to make strides getting his feet lined up, using his lower body and keeping his arm angle up on his throws. One of the top third-base prospects in the minors, Chisenhall's bat gives him the potential to be an above-average major leaguer. He should return to Double-A in 2010 as one of the EL's youngest players.
A 2007 sandwich pick of the Red Sox, Hagadone got off to a strong start in pro ball before blowing out his elbow in April 2008 and required Tommy John surgery. He returned to game action last June, showing an electric arm before Boston included him with Justin Masterson and another supplemental first-rounder, Bryan Price, in the Victor Martinez trade in July. Hagadone has outstanding arm strength for a lefthander, sitting at 93-94 mph with good life and touching 98. His slider is a plus pitch that flashes plus-plus with outstanding late bite. He also shows solid feel for a changeup, though he primarily pitches off his fastball/slider combination. Hagadone doesn't throw with much effort and his arm works well. He gets grounders at an above-average clip and didn't surrender a homer last year. Command is often the last thing to come back from Tommy John surgery, and Hagadone's wasn't strong even before he got hurt. Though he's athletic and able to pitch inside well, he's still learning to repeat his delivery and still has a tendency to rush toward the plate. His longest start in 2009 lasted three innings, so he'll have to prove his durability. The Indians plan to use Hagadone in the rotation this year at high Class A Kinston. He has the stuff to be a frontline starter, and he also could be a weapon as a power lefty reliever.
A second-round pick by the Phillies in 2008, Knapp is the best prospect in the fourplayer package that the Indians received in the Cliff Lee deal last summer. After missing time in 2008 with elbow fatigue, he was on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis at the time of the trade, then had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his shoulder after the season. Knapp is a big, strong-bodied pitcher with a quick arm and an electric fastball, working at 93-95 mph with riding life and touching 98. He mixes in a sharp curveball with inconsistent but occasional 12-to-6 break that's in and out of the zone. It's a plus pitch on his best days. He shows feel for his changeup, which could become an average offering. While Knapp has improved his delivery, a major worry among scouts when he was in high school, it's still awkward. He needs to repeat his mechanics with greater frequency and his inverted arm action gives some scouts cause for concern, particularly for a player with a shoulder injury. Knapp was still rehabbing as 2009 came to a close, and the Indians plan to assess his status when he arrives at spring training. If he shows durability, he has the potential to be at least a frontline starter. If his health continues to hamper him, he could be a power closer instead. He should begin 2010 in high Class A.
The Indians picked Brantley over third baseman Taylor Green as the player to be named in the 2008 deal that sent C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee. While Green stagnated last year in Double-A, Brantley had a solid year as one of the Triple-A International League's youngest players. The son of former major leaguer Mickey Brantley, he hit .313 during a September callup. Brantley is a career .300 hitter with a .387 on-base percentage in the minors because he has excellent plate discipline and plus speed from the left side. He has an easy, compact swing and a good two-strike approach. He pairs his speed with good instincts on the basepaths, tying for the IL lead with 46 steals while getting caught just five times, including a perfect 33-for-33 against righthanders. His speed is also an asset in center field, where he improved his reads and routes to become a solid-average defender with a chance to get better. Brantley has well-below-average power, though he has the size to develop more pop. He doesn't use his legs much in his swing, but more power could come once he learns to work his lower half, leverage the ball more consistently and learn what pitches he can drive. His arm is below-average. Brantley won't start in center field for Cleveland as long as Grady Sizemore is around, so he'll try to win the left-field job. He could make up for his lack of power with his on-base ability and defensive value.
After playing sparingly for Canada as one of the youngest players in the World Baseball Classic, Weglarz got off to a brutal start in 2009, going 5-for-56 with one extra-base hit in April. He tore through Double-A pitching in May and June, but his numbers tailed off as a back injury took a toll, and he went on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his left shin. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season but left early to have surgery on his shin. Weglarz is one of the most patient hitters in the minors and has the potential to draw 100 walks over a full season. He has a massive frame and outstanding raw power with the ability to hit the ball out to all fields. He has made strides with his hitting mechanics, using his legs more and doing a better job of getting the back half of his body through the ball. Weglarz could tighten his mechanics to hit for a better average, including a more consistent hand trigger. While his patience is a virtue, he could be more aggressive on certain pitches in the strike zone. Weglarz's size and injuries are a concern for some scouts. His fringy arm and well-below-average speed limit him to left field. The Indians expect Weglarz to be ready to play by the beginning of spring training. He could open 2010 in Triple-A, though at age 22 he could return to Akron for another season.
A Futures Gamer in 2008, Rondon cruised through his first five Double-A starts last year before the Indians moved him to the Akron bullpen, with an eye toward finding help for a beleaguered bullpen in Cleveland. He made just two relief appearances before the Indians nixed the experiment, sending him back into the rotation and giving him a promotion to Triple-A in July at age 21. Rondon's best pitch is his fastball, a lively low-90s heater that touches 96 mph. He commands it well to both sides of the plate and it has late life through the zone, making it a swing-and-miss pitch. His second-best offering is his average changeup, which could be a future 55 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale. He repeats a clean delivery, and his athleticism helps him field his position well. Rondon has made strides with his secondary pitches, but he'll have to prove that they're good enough to keep big league hitters off his impressive fastball. His mid-80s slider is a fringe-average pitch. He experienced mild biceps soreness in June but didn't miss much time. Rondon profiles as a potential mid-rotation starter. He'll likely begin 2010 in the Columbus rotation and should be in line for a callup at some point.
The No. 1 prospect on our Phillies Top 10 before the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Carrasco struggled in Triple-A at the outset of last year. He got back on track after coming to the Indians in the Cliff Lee trade, but got crushed in five big league starts in September. Carrasco throws a 91-94 mph fastball that touches 96. He also throws his plus changeup with good arm speed and late action, and that could be one reason he has been more effective against lefthanders than righthanders over the last two seasons. He has a big frame, solid mechanics and arm action. Durable throughout his career, he has made at least 25 starts in each of the last four seasons. Carrasco has also been maddeningly inconsistent. His curveball comes and goes and is often a fringe-average pitch. He'll mix in a fringy slider with shorter, harder break. He throws strikes but has lapses with repeating his delivery and his command, often making mistakes up and over the middle of the plate. He has been hit hard with runners on base. Some believe it's a matter of wavering focus, while others say it's a mechanical issue when he pitches from the stretch, as he tends to sink on his backside, lower his release point and not stay as tall in his delivery. That causes him to throw from a lower slot and leaves his stuff a little bit flat, but it should be correctable. If Carrasco can refine his command and straighten out his inconsistencies, he has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter. He'll compete for a spot in the major league rotation this spring.
White passed on signing with the Dodgers as a 14th-round pick in 2006 to attend North Carolina, where he spent three years in the Tar Heels' weekend rotation and two years as their ace. White fell slightly in the 2009 draft because of inconsistency and signability concerns, going 15th overall and signing for $2.25 million at the Aug. 17 deadline. An excellent athlete and competitor, White throws a heavy 91-95 mph fastball with plus sink. His out pitch is his plus splitter, a strong weapon with depth and deception to thwart lefties. His slider has been an inconsistent pitch--some feel he got away from it in college in deference to his splitter to miss more metal bats--but it's an above-average pitch at times. White focused on his slider in instructional league, trying to get more extension out front and later break instead of letting it get long. His command wavered at times in college, and his arm action in the back--which has changed since high school, when his slider was better--concerns some scouts. After initial talk of developing White as a reliever, the Indians plan to bring him through the system as a starter. If he can rediscover his slider he would have the pure stuff to be an above-average starter, though he also could also fit in as a future closer. He'll begin his pro career in high Class A.
After a redshirt year and an uneven freshman season at Kentucky--one that ended with him kicked off the team--Kipnis transferred to Arizona State. He turned down a fourth-round offer from the Padres as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2008, then went 63rd overall last June after winning Pacific-10 Conference player of the year honors. After signing him for $575,000, the Indians asked him to work at second base in instructional league. Cleveland drafted Kipnis for his bat and advanced hitting approach. He has good bat speed, a quick trigger and a loose, flat swing that stays in the zone a long time. There's occasional length to his stroke, but he centers the ball consistently, uses the whole field and handles lefties and righties. An average runner, Kipnis immediately showed surprising skill at second base with good hands, footwork, body control and the ability to make plays to both sides. Kipnis is a tweener as an outfielder. His average speed and fringe-average arm fit better in left field than center, and while he has surprising pop for his size, he'll likely max out at average power. Though he looked good at second base in instructional league and dabbled there in college, he hasn't played the position extensively. Kipnis will report to Cleveland's complex in Goodyear, Ariz., in January to get a head start preparing for second base, where he'll get more work in spring training. He'll be 23 at the start of the 2010 season, so he'll skip a level and advance to high Class A.
Marson made his major league debut with the Phillies in the final game of the 2008 season, then spent most of April 2009 with the big league club. He went down to Triple-A in May, missed a week in June with a bruised foot, then went to Cleveland just before the trading deadline in the Cliff Lee trade. Marson doesn't have a plus tool, but he's an instinctive player with above-average control of the strike zone and a solid feel for hitting. He has limited power, as his swing isn't conducive to loft and he still needs to add strength. A below-average runner, Marson is an athletic, solid defender who receives well and gets rid of the ball quickly to make up for fringeaverage arm strength. He threw out 32 percent of basestealers last year. It's only a matter of time before Carlos Santana takes over as the Indians' catcher, but his offseason hamate injury means Marson should get a chance to open 2010 as Cleveland's starter. Future projections for him range from a quality backup to an average regular.
Most teams figured House would attend Tulane, which is why he fell to the Indians in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. He turned pro, however, for a $750,000 bonus and made his pro debut in 2009 in low Class A. He proved to be Lake County's most consistent starter at age 19. House doesn't have a plus pitch, but he mixes three solid offerings with an advanced feel for pitching for his age. House has solid command of his fastball, which sits at 87-91 mph and touches 93 with sink. His changeup is his most advanced secondary offering, an average pitch with a chance to be plus in the future. His low-80s slider isn't an out pitch, but it has average potential. House is a good athlete with clean arm action and a compact delivery that he repeats, which helps him throw strikes and generally keep the ball down in the zone. He should open the year in the Kinston rotation.
De la Cruz appeared to be a prime candidate for a breakout season in 2009, and his two brilliant starts to open the season with Kinston were a promising sign. Yet those would be the last starts he would make for the K-Tribe, as he came down with a strained ligament in his elbow that effectively ended his season. He made three rehab starts in the Rookie-level Arizona League at the end of August, and threw more in instructional league and in the team's Dominican instructional program, working as long as three innings against live hitters. His velocity hadn't fully returned, though he was throwing without restrictions and the Indians expect him to be ready to go for spring training. Cleveland still chose to protect de la Cruz from the Rule 5 draft by placing him on their 40-man roster after the season. He has the most upside of any lefthander in the system, starting with a 90-91 mph fastball that touches 94 when he's right. His mid- to high-70s curveball can be a plus pitch that he can throw to lefties and righties. He's still growing into his coordination and his delivery, and he'll need to throw his changeup more when he's healthy. There's a good chance de la Cruz will return to high Class A in 2010, and if he stays healthy he should end up in Akron at some point.
Brown picked up MVP awards in the high Class A Carolina League in 2006 and in the Eastern League the following year, but a knee injury hampered him in 2008. Brown bounced back in 2009, winning the International League batting crown (.336) and ranking third in slugging (.532). He was added to the 40-man roster in November and continued to hit well in winter ball for Caracas in the Venezuelan League. Brown's best attribute is his low-maintenance swing, as he's one of the better contact hitters in the organization. He has a tendency to chase high fastballs, though a shift in his hand placement and hand position holding the bat helped keep him on top of the ball more. He used his lower half more in his swing this year and sacrificed some on-base ability for more power, though he projects to have only average pop. A below-average runner, Brown isn't the best athlete and is a subpar defensive first baseman. He also spent time with Columbus in left field and played there primarily in Venezuela. Brown will have the chance to compete for a job in Cleveland in spring training, though with the talent ahead of him, he seems likely head back to Triple-A.
Donald was teammates with Jordan Brown on Arizona's 2005 College World Series team and was signed by the same scout who signed Lou Marson. Donald had a breakout year in 2008, playing in the Futures Game, performing as one of Team USA's top players at the Olympics and finishing the season with a good effort in the Arizona Fall League. He couldn't replicate that success in 2009, when injuries limited him. With Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley blocking Donald in Philadelphia, the Phillies included him in the four-player package to acquire Cliff Lee. Donald played just 10 games in Triple-A after the trade because of a strained back, after missing time earlier in the year with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Donald has solid but not spectacular tools across the board. When healthy, he shows a solid feel for hitting and for the strike zone, with good hands and strong forearms generating a tick below-average power. An average runner, Donald has an average arm but is a fringy defensive shortstop whose range and overall defensive skill set might be better suited for second base. He's also capable at third base. Added to the 40-man roster in November, Donald could get a chance to crack Cleveland's Opening Day roster, but the more likely scenario is a return to Triple-A. Some scouts see him as a utility player, but he has the upside of a solid starter if he regains his 2008 form.
Putnam was a highly touted prospect in high school, then starred for three years as a two-way player at Michigan. Always considered a better prospect on the mound, he came out college with polish and a wide array of pitches. One of several over-slot signing for the Tribe in the 2008 draft, he received $600,000 as a fifthrounder. After opening last season in Kinston's rotation, Putnam advanced to Double-A in May and pitched out of the bullpen. He throws a heavy low-90s fastball that touches 94 mph. He generally commands the pitch to both sides of the plate, and the sink on his heater helps him get grounders at a high clip. His out pitch is a plus splitter with late tumble, and he has the ability to throw it for strikes or get hitters to chase it out of the zone. He'll also mix in a solid changeup with sink and fade, and a developing slider. At times his slider has cutter action, but it needs more depth to become an average pitch. Putnam has a strong, athletic body, though he still has inconsistencies with his delivery. He'll get another chance to start in 2010, but many scouts see his future as a power arm in the back of the bullpen, where his stuff plays up in shorter stints.
Rivero has shown flashes of breaking out but has yet to put it all together. After hitting .220/.290/.279 in the first half last season, he rebounded and hit .280/.340/.457 after the all-star break as Akron cruised to the Eastern League title. He also made strides at the plate in the Arizona Fall League, showing the ability to keep his bat in the zone longer. Rivero is bigger than most shortstops and showcases impressive raw power in batting practice that he's still learning to translate into game situations. He's still figuring out his swing, and he has made strides leveraging his legs better and not drifting with his hips as often, though it's still something he needs to monitor. While he's not a free swinger, Rivero can struggle to handle breaking balls. He's a reliable fielder on balls hit in his area, with soft hands and a plus arm, but he has below-average speed and lateral range, so he might ultimately end up at third base. Rivero likely will return to Double-A, and repeating the level could lead to the best offensive year of his career. The Indians protected him on their 40-man roster during the offseason.
The Cardinals drafted Todd in the second round 2007, and he cruised through three levels to reach Triple-A in his first full pro season. Converted to a reliever last year, he was dominant before St. Louis traded him and Chris Perez to the Indians for Mark DeRosa in June. Todd soon joined the Cleveland bullpen for the rest of the year, and he got hit hard. He has come largely as advertised out of college, showing a solid fastball/slider mix that profiles well for middle relief. Todd has good control and throws his fastball at 88-92 mph. His go-to pitch is an above-average slider, a swing-and-miss offering with late break and two-plane depth at 83-86 mph. He doesn't have a reliable third pitch yet to combat lefthanders. Though he's not big, his durability is less of an issue in the bullpen and he has the resilient arm to pitch on consecutive days. Todd should compete for a job in the big league bullpen this spring.
After getting his feet wet in Double-A for a couple of months, Judy was nearly unhittable from July through the end of the 2009 season, posting a 1.07 ERA and a 43-6 K-BB mark in 25 innings. He also pitched well in the Arizona Fall League, where he maintained a 1.59 ERA. Judy doesn't have a high ceiling, but he should help Cleveland's bullpen in the near future, possibly as soon as 2010. He struck out more than a batter per inning and induced grounders at an above-average clip with a solid two-pitch mix last season. Judy's fastball comes in at 92-94 mph with solid life and deception that make it a swing-and-miss pitch. He can throw his fastball to both sides of the plate and gets good sink on the pitch at times, which helps him keep the ball on the ground. He backs up his fastball with a solid-average slider that has the potential to be a plus pitch with depth and two-plane break. Judy should get a chance to begin 2010 in Triple-A and could pitch in Cleveland at some point this year.
After coming to the United States in 2008, Perez made his full-season debut last year. He pitched well enough to earn a promotion to high Class A in July, but a sore shoulder limited him toward the end of the season. A lanky righthander, Perez has a fringe-average fastball that sits at 87-91 mph and touches 93. He mixes in two and four-seamers, though he still needs to improve his fastball command. His best pitch is his 78-80 mph curveball, a plus offering with sharp action that he commands well. He also shows good feel at times for his changeup, a potentially above-average pitch that he can use against both lefthanders and righthanders. Perez has a relatively loose delivery, though he needs to be more consistent with his mechanics and incorporate his lower half better. His body type has some similarities to Hector Rondon's at the same age, and he could add another 25-30 pounds and gain a few ticks on his fastball. Adding weight and strength is also important for him to improve his durability. Perez is expected to start the season back in Kinston, though he could end the year in Double-A.
A fringy prospect coming into last season, Gomez grabbed attention when he threw a nine-inning perfect game in May. Though he lacks a true out pitch, he's a good athlete who succeeds with deception and pounding the strike zone, and his pitching acumen has increased steadily over the last couple of seasons. He mixes two- and four-seam fastballs at 89-91 mph, touching 93. His slider made strides last season, morphing from a pitch that was in between a power curveball and a cutter and adding depth when it was at its best in May. The slider is still a bit short and usually isn't a true swing-and-miss pitch. Gomez throws a firm changeup that has splitter action in the zone and induces hitters to hit the top of the baseball. He still needs to improve his changeup to have a weapon to counteract lefthanders. He shortened his arm swing last year and did a better job of creating a more consistent arm circle in the back of his delivery, but some scouts aren't crazy about his arm action. A 40-man roster addition in the offseason, Gomez will get a chance to open 2010 in Triple-A. He should be a serviceable fifth starter or middle reliever in the future.
The Indians signed Lee for $400,000 in September 2008, but he had been on their radar for several years. They offered the Taiwanese righthander a contract out of high school, but he declined and went to college instead. He has experience on the international stage, pitching in the Olympics in 2008 and in the World Baseball Classic in 2009. Lee showcases above-average arm strength with a lively 92-93 mph fastball that has been clocked as high as 96. His solid-average slider is slurvy and has late downward bite at 82-84 mph. When he repeats his delivery and keeps his arm slot up, the slider has late depth off his fastball, though when he overthrows it breaks more side to side. Lee fits better in the bullpen than the rotation because of his low three-quarters arm slot. He still needs to develop his splitter, a work in progress, to combat lefthanders. Lee will head to Double-A for 2010 and could help Cleveland's bullpen by 2011.
Abreu's younger brother Esdras signed with the Rangers in 2008 for $550,000, but pales in comparison as a prospect to Abner, who signed for $75,000. He posted strong numbers for Lake County in 2009, but his season ended in June when he dislocated his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield. Lean and athletic, Abreu has a high-waisted, slender build but already generates natural power with his bat speed and the natural loft in his swing. Despite his offensive tools, he remains raw at the plate. He has a long way to go in terms of patience, working the count and recognizing offspeed stuff. Getting himself into better hitter's counts and learning to lay off pitches up and out of the zone will allow Abreu to better translate his raw power into game situations. A third baseman in 2008, he moved to right field last season, where his skill set is better suited. His average speed plays up because he has good instincts in the field, giving him a chance to be a solid defender with an above-average arm. Abreu's injury set his timetable back, and he could return to low Class A in 2010.
The son of new Astros manager Brad Mills, Beau went 13th overall in the 2007 draft after setting an NAIA record with 38 homers and leading Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) to a national title. Signed for $1.575 million, he won the Carolina League MVP award in his first full pro season, then struggled to get on base and tap into his raw power in 2009. Despite Mills' difficulties in Double-A, he still shows the aptitude for hitting and strength for power. He exhibits good baseball instincts and solid plate discipline, but he also has a tendency to chase with two strikes and needs to learn which pitches he can drive. Mills began pressing and became more pull-oriented later in the 2009 season, though toward the end of the year his numbers began to pick up as he started to use the whole field. With the leg lift he employs in his swing, he has trouble staying back at times, which gets him caught out on his front foot and takes away from his power. He has worked hard to decrease his leg kick, and when he stays back he's able to leverage the baseball for power to all fields. Considered a defensive liability coming into the season, Mills did make strides at first base, where he showed solid hands and improved footwork. A third baseman in his pro debut, he has some arm strength but his range always will be limited and some scouts see him as a bit stiff. He's a below-average runner. The Indians are deep with first base/left field types, so Mills will have to rebound in 2010.
Brito spent three years in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before coming to the United States last year and leading the Arizona League in hitting at .366. He also performed well after a promotion to shortseason Mahoning Valley. Brito handles the bat well and hits to all fields. He's not the most physical player, but the ball comes off his bat well. He has room to add weight and get stronger, which could turn his gap power into home run pop down the road. He has a solid feel for the strike zone and doesn't strike out at a high clip. An outfielder prior to 2009, Brito moved to third base, where he has a strong, accurate arm. He made strides with his footwork, but he struggled with the transition to the hot corner, primarily with going to his right and getting throws off quickly. He made 19 errors in 47 games at third base and might ultimately end up back in the outfield. He's an average runner at best and not much of a basestealer. Brito could get a chance to make his full-season debut this year in Lake County.
Graham was a starter in the Rockies system and continued to pitch in the rotation after Colorado traded him to the Indians for Rafael Betancourt in July. The scouting consensus, however, is that he'll fit better in the bullpen, where he spent his first two years at Miami (Ohio). Graham throws a low-90s fastball that has been clocked up to 97 mph. With his size, he generates downhill plane, and the solid sink on his heater is aided by the angle and leverage he's able to create. Graham's slider bites downhill and flashes depth at times. It has a chance to be an average or better pitch with a bit of late tilt when it's on, but it's inconsistent right now. Some scouts question Graham's athleticism and have concerns about his body, and his results bear out those worries. He walked five batters per nine innings in 2009, showing his control needs quite a bit of work. He needs to be able to repeat his delivery to throw more strikes, and his corkscrew arm action doesn't make things easier for him. Graham will probably open this year in Double-A.
It was hard for scouts to get a handle on Hodges in 2009, when wrist and shoulder injuries limited him to 91 games and often relegated him to DH. The injuries took a noticeable toll on his hitting and defense, getting him out of his rhythm and his routine. Staying healthy has been a longtime problem for Hodges. He broke a bone in his hand--and taught himself to hit lefthanded--as a high school senior in 2003, then had a stress fracture in his leg when he was draft-eligible again in 2006. Paid first-round money ($1 million) as a second-round pick, he broke a toe and strained a hamstring in his 2007 pro debut. At his best, Hodges has shown advanced feel for hitting and the ability to use the whole field with average power. Scouts are concerned about his body and his fielding, with many predicting a move off third base in the near future. He has decent hands and an average arm, but he's a below-average runner with limited range and first-step quickness. Cleveland showed its faith in Hodges by protecting him on its 40-man roster in November. He'll return to Triple-A to get back on track in 2010.
Price was a reliever at Rice, but the Red Sox signed him for $849,000 as a supplemental first-round pick in 2008 and began to develop him as a starter. He reached high Class A before Boston included him with Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone in a trade for Victor Martinez last July. Price has a long, strong, angular body with long arms and fingers, and he mostly pitches off his strong fastball/slider combination. His fastball comes in the low 90s, and while it can be a little straight, he has made strides locating the pitch. His plus slider is his best offering, with hard, tight spin and downward angle that's tough for hitters to pick up. Price mixed in a curveball every now and then while with the Red Sox, though he mostly shelved the pitch to work on his mechanics and fastball location down in the zone. He's still trying to find a solid third pitch, as his changeup isn't a reliable weapon against lefthanders yet. Price has good arm action and a smooth delivery that he repeats. He might end up in the bullpen down the road, though the Indians plan to exhaust his options as a starter. He should make the jump to Double-A in 2010.
A gangly lefthander, Barnes looked like a nifty sign for the Giants in the eighth round of the 2008 draft. He was part of a low Class A South Atlantic League championship team in his pro debut, then pitched well in high Class A last year before San Francisco traded him for Ryan Garko in late July. Barnes doesn't have top-shelf stuff, but he's deceptive, throws strikes and can finish hitters off with his above-average changeup. Pitching from the third-base side of the rubber, he repeats his mechanics and his arm works well out front. He has an unorthodox delivery and can get across his body a little, though that helps him hide the ball and aids in his deception. Barnes works at 89-90 mph and touches 92, spotting his fastball to both sides of the plate. He throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, which results in a slurvish slider that needs to improve. Barnes has the upside of a back-of-the-rotation starter and should begin 2010 in Double-A.
Berger had Tommy John surgery while at Arizona, costing him the 2007 season. An eighth-round pick as a redshirt junior the following year, he already has surpassed expectations while drawing raves for his competitiveness. He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he's deceptive and keeps hitters off balance. Berger's fastball resides at 89-91 mph and touches 93. It has natural cutting life because of how he finishes his pitches, getting off to the side at times. He's still developing his secondary offerings, though his curveball has some promise. It has late bite to get the occasional swing and miss when he's able to release it out front, but he also leaves it up in the zone at times. His changeup has late sink that he's able to repeat with good arm speed, though it also lacks consistency. Berger is a good athlete, but there's a lot of effort in his delivery, and his arm action and over-the-top arm slot are deceptive but difficult to repeat. He's a solid strike thrower, but his unorthodox mechanics lead to difficulties with his secondary pitches and command. Berger has a chance be a back-of-the-rotation starter, and he also could crack the big league roster as a lefthanded reliever. He should open 2010 in Double-A.
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