Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
Use the options to filter your search.
Born in Puerto Rico, Lindor moved to the United States at age 12 and couldn't speak English when he arrived at Montverde Academy, an international boarding school in central Florida. In 2009, he captained the U.S. 16-and-under national team that won the gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Taiwan. He hit .500 in 11 games and started laying the groundwork to become a future first-round pick. He further whetted scouts' appetites the following summer on the showcase circuit, highlighted by a surprise victory in the home run derby at the Aflac All-American Game at Petco Park. Though he played a truncated senior season because Monteverde failed to qualify for the playoffs, Lindor earned third-team All-America honors in 2011 by hitting .528 in 53 at-bats with six homers and 20 steals. The Indians drafted him eighth overall in June, the first time since 2001 they had spent a first-rounder on a high schooler. He signed at the Aug. 15 deadline for $2.9 million, the largest bonus for a prepster and for a position player in franchise history. Lindor signed too late to play much, but he did hold his own for a week with short-season Mahoning Valley. Lindor projects as a true shortstop with incredible instincts and advanced feel for the game for his age. He drew comparisons to Omar Vizquel as an amateur and was the best defensive shortstop in the 2011 draft. Lindor is a quality athlete with excellent hands, fluid actions and good footwork. He gets great reads off the bat and shows a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He has plus range with a plus arm and solid fundamentals, giving him all the ingredients to be a star defender. A switch-hitter since he was 13, Lindor has a smooth, line-drive swing and bat speed from both sides of the plate. His best approach comes when he works the ball up the middle. To be a productive offensive player, he'll have to hit for average and get on base at a good clip because his power is mostly to the gaps. He has more pop from the right side and perhaps could hit 10-15 homers per year in his prime. He has a tick above-average speed and has shown flashes of being a plus runner as he has matured and gotten stronger. While he's not a major basestealing threat, his baserunning should be another positive. He has earned rave reviews from coaches and scouts for his work ethic, maturity and dedication. Lindor will play his first full pro season at age 18, so the Indians won't rush him. He's talented enough to start 2012 in low Class A Lake County, though with his age and the bitter weather early in the Midwest League season he's not a lock to be there on Opening Day. His feel for the game should help him move quickly relative to other 2011 high school picks. Cleveland's system has a shortage of high-upside players who could develop into above-average regulars, but Lindor is an exception.
Howard established himself as a potential 2011 first-round pick as early as his sophomore year in high school. He didn't quite live up to expectations as a senior last spring, and signability questions helped drop him to the second round. The Indians signed him at the deadline for $1.85 million, the equivalent of mid-first-round money. Howard's best pitch is his lively two-seam fastball, which he runs in the low 90s with plus sink. He can get both groundouts and swings and misses with his two-seamer, and he can mix in a fourseamer that reaches 94 mph and changes hitters' eye level. His No. 2 pitch is an average changeup with good deception that could become a plus offering in time. His breaking ball needs some tightening, as he throws a slurvy curveball with the potential to become average if he learns to stay on top of it. Howard is a solid athlete whose arm works well, though scouts who saw him as an amateur had some concerns about his fastball command. They also raised questions his mound presence and energy level, though Cleveland doesn't share any of those worries. Howard has the potential to become a frontline starter, though he'll need some time to develop. He'll make his pro debut in low Class A.
Hagadone has moved slowly for a college draft pick, but he finally made his big league debut last September, four years after the Red Sox made him a supplemental first-round pick. Tommy John surgery cost him most of 2008 and slowed him in 2009, though he recovered his arm strength quickly upon his return. The Indians sent Victor Martinez to Boston to acquire Hagadone, Justin Masterson and righthander Bryan Price at the 2009 trade deadline. Hagadone's fastball has excellent velocity, typically ranging from 93-96 mph and touching 98. His slider flashes as a plus pitch with late, short break and generates some swings and misses. He's still learning to vary its shape and to throw it to the back foot of righthanders. After walking 6.6 batters per nine innings in 2010, Hagadone cut sliced his walk rate to 2.8 in the minors last year. He started pitching exclusively out of the stretch, which helped him simplify his delivery and improve his fastball command. If he can maintain the improvements in his control, Hagadone can be a late-inning reliever in the majors. In spring training, he'll get the chance to open 2012 in Cleveland.
Among the more active teams in Taiwan, the Indians tried to sign Lee out of high school. He instead chose to attend college before signing with Cleveland for $400,000 in September 2008. He represented Taiwan at the Olympics that summer and again at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He has had no trouble handling minor league hitters, averaging 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings in three pro seasons. Lee throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and has more velocity than most pitchers who drop down. His fastball sits at 92-93 mph, hits 95 and has plus movement. His fastball and the deception in his delivery help him miss bats and keep the ball down in the zone. Lee has a solid slider at times but he struggles to stay on top of it because of his low arm slot. He does a nice job of throwing strikes and getting groundballs. With just 32 innings of Triple-A experience, Lee could return to Columbus to begin 2012. He's in line to make his major league debut at some point during the season and projects as a future set-up man.
The Indians used to be one of the leaders in developing Latin American talent, with players such as Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Fausto Carmona and Rafael Perez coming through the system. That pipeline hasn't been as fruitful in recent years, with Rodriguez one of the few highlights. In his U.S. debut last year, he reached low Class A at age 18. A switch-hitter, Rodriguez tore up the Rookie-level Arizona League last summer, showing the ability to barrel the ball with some gap power. Considering his age, he's understandably raw at the plate, but he has some patience and uses his plus-plus speed to help him leg out hits. He's so fast that he often can outrun his mistakes on the bases and in center field. Signed as a second baseman, Rodriguez didn't have great infield instincts and moved to the outfield one month into his career. He's still improving his reads and routes but should have above-average range in time. He has an average arm. Rodriguez must get strong so he can handle more advanced pitching. He wasn't completely in over his head in the Midwest League, and he'll still be one of the youngest players in the circuit this year.
McAllister pitched well in the Yankees system up until 2010, when his velocity dropped. At the trade deadline that July, the Indians sent Austin Kearns to New York for a player to be named, which three weeks later became McAllister. Buying low on him could pay off, as he rebounded in 2011 and made four starts in the majors. His father Steve is the Midwest crosschecker for the Diamondbacks. Cleveland gave McAllister a higher leg kick and a little more rotation in his upper half, helping him get more shoulder tilt. The mechanical adjustment helped him get more power to his fastball, which returned to the low 90s and touched 94 mph with sink. He did a better job of staying over the rubber last year and his control improved. Beyond his fastball, the rest of McAllister's repertoire is fringy. He has a changeup and a slurvy slider, also mixing in an occasional curveball as a show-me pitch. McAllister doesn't have huge upside, but he could be a durable back-ofthe- rotation starter if everything clicks. The Indians' offseason acquisition of Derek Lowe means they don't have any rotation openings, so McAllister could be ticketed for a third season in Triple-A.
Wolters signed for $1.35 million as a third-round pick in 2010, but an injury delayed what would have been his first full pro season. He broke the hamate bone in his right hand during spring training and required surgery. After reporting to Mahoning Valley in June, he led the New York-Penn League with 50 runs. Wolters shows a good feel for working the count with an advanced hitting approach. He makes consistent contact and is at his best when he works the ball back up the middle. While the hamate injury sapped some of his pop, he likely will top out with below-average power and be more of a gap hitter. Wolters is adept on the basepaths, but has fringy speed and isn't quite the threat his 19 steals in 69 games last summer might suggest. He has excellent hands and a strong, accurate arm, and he shows some flair at shortstop. Though he has made strides with his reads and footwork, some scouts think his lack of range ultimately may lead him to second base. He can be more aggressive instead of waiting for the ball to come to him. Wolters will get the chance to remain at shortstop, but he might have a hard time getting time there at Lake County in 2012. Cleveland also could send superior defenders Francisco Lindor and Ronnie Rodriguez there.
The Brewers drafted Adams as a shortstop in the 27th round in 2008, but he turned them down to return to Faulkner (Ala.), an NAIA program, for his senior season. A two-way star for the Eagles, he didn't become a full-time pitcher until he signed with the Indians for $70,000 as a fifth-round pick in 2009. Adams has outstanding arm strength, as evidenced by a mid-90s fastball that has touched 100 mph. It's by far his best pitch. Both his curveball and slider are average pitches at times, with the slider more advanced largely because of his pure arm speed. His changeup is below average. Adams is still raw as a pitcher but has made mechanical improvements with his lower half thanks in part to his athleticism. He's staying over the rubber better, leading to better balance and weight transfer. He's doesn't throw across his body quite as much as he did in the past, getting better direction to the plate. His walk rate rose to a career-high 4.2 per nine innings when he got to Double-A Akron last year, so he'll need to challenge hitters more. With his one dominant pitch and lack of size, many scouts peg Adams as a future reliever. Cleveland broke him into pro ball in the bullpen but has kept him in the rotation since. He'll move up to Triple-A in 2012.
Barnes posted a 2.60 ERA in the lower levels of the Giants system before San Francisco traded him to the Indians for Ryan Garko in July 2009. He struggled in Double-A in 2009 and 2010, then rebounded last year, only to have his season end on July 10 when he tore the anterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee while fielding a bunt. Cleveland added him to its 40-man roster in November. Reports on Barnes' velocity vary, with some scouts seeing an average fastball that tops out in the low 90s while others have seen him reach 96 mph. He has an unorthodox delivery that has some effort, but he's athletic and made improvements repeating his delivery in 2011, which helped his fastball command. His solid slider shows flashes of being a plus pitch, and his changeup could become average with further refinement. Many scouts see Barnes as a reliever, but he could end up as a No. 4 or 5 starter. He's expected to be 100 percent by spring training and could get a big league look in the second half of 2012.
Like Austin Adams, Putnam was a two-way player in college and focused on pitching once he turned pro. Signed for an above-slot $600,000 as a fifth-round pick in 2008, he pitched in Triple-A for much of the last two seasons before making his big league debut last September. Putnam has effort in his delivery but his athleticism helps him repeat his mechanics and throw strikes with a 90-93 mph fastball that touches 95. He pitches off his fastball and can put hitters away with an above-average splitter, a combination that helps him miss bats and get groundballs. He throws a below-average slider, which puts him in the difficult situation of being a righthanded reliever who can be vulnerable against righthanded hitters. His splitter helps him attack lefties, whom he held to a .547 OPS at Columbus last year, but he's still searching for a weapon against righties, who tagged him for a .712 OPS. Putnam projects as a middle reliever. He should get a chance to fill that role in Cleveland in 2012, possibly as soon as Opening Day.
Araujo was a long, lanky Venezuelan lefty with a quick arm when he signed with the Indians for $125,000 on his 16th birthday in 2007. He always has had breakout potential because of his projectable body and arm strength. Instead of watching a breakout, however, the Indians' main goal has been to just keep him healthy for a full season. He had Tommy John surgery after his 2008 pro debut that cost him the entire 2009 season, and a setback in his recovery nuked his 2010 campaign as well. He returned to the mound in 2011, flashing the potential Cleveland saw when it first started scouting him. Araujo has gained velocity on his fastball, sitting at 92-94 mph and peaking at 98. His command and secondary pitches both need a lot of work. He shows some feel to spin a mid-80s power slider, which is occasionally above average but needs to get more consistent. His changeup shows flashes but is most often a below-average pitch. Araujo's arm slot wanders from three-quarters to high three-quarters, which costs him command of all his pitches, and he has a tendency to overthrow. He'll remain a starter for now, but because he's been fragile he could end up in a bullpen role down the road. He should make his full-season debut in low Class A this season.
A 23rd-round pick in 2009 out of New Mexico State, Sturdevant signed for $2,500 as a 23-year-old senior and since his pitched his way into the Indians' bullpen plans. While he has always been old for his level, he has a strong arm and could have value as a middle-relief option for Cleveland in the near future. Sturdevant has a lanky build and a quick arm that delivers 93-95 mph fastballs, and he touched 97 during the regular season. The Indians clocked him up to 100 mph in the offseason at the Arizona Fall League. His fastball is his out pitch, a lively four-seamer that he keeps down in the zone and is difficult for hitters to lift. Sturdevant has a flat slider but has developed a promising cutter that comes in around the high 80s and touches 90 mph. He'll throw an occasional changeup, but he tends to slow his arm down when he does. Sturdevant will have to sharpen his command to succeed in the big leagues, and he's still more thrower than pitcher. He'll probably open the season in Triple-A but could get a chance to pitch in the Cleveland bullpen at some point in 2012.
Rodriguez was Cleveland's top international acquisition in 2010, though he wasn't a typical Latin American amateur signing. Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to Lawrence, Mass,. when he was 12 and attended high school in the United States. Before he graduated he moved back to the Dominican Republic, and he waited a year for Major League Baseball to determine whether he was subject to the draft or able to sign as a free agent. MLB decided on the latter, and he signed October 2010 for $375,000 as an 18- year-old. He's a good athlete with above-average speed, good range and a 70 arm on the 20-80 scouting scale. Despite those tools, he's still mistake-prone and committed 38 errors in 97 games at shortstop last season, when he made his pro debut as a teenager in low Class A. His throws often sail because he has a tendency to rush his footwork. Rodriguez isn't very physical, but he has a quick bat and surprising raw power for his size. He had 46 extra-base hits in 2011, though Midwest League scouts aren't sure how his pop will play at higher levels. His approach needs a lot of work, as he's a hyper-aggressive hitter who struggles to recognize pitches and get on base. He gets caught out on his front foot too often, causing him to slash at the ball with an uppercut stroke. While Rodriguez's offensive development would benefit from a return to low Class A, the Indians also have Francisco Lindor and Tony Wolters ready to play in the middle infield there.
The Giants drafted Sisco in the 37th round out of high school in 2010, but he went to Merced (Calif.) JC and improved his stock. The Indians picked him in the third round last June and signed him for $325,000. He struggled during his introduction to pro ball in the Rookie-level Arizona League. After sitting around 88-90 mph with his fastball in high school, Sisco now throws at 91-92 mph and peaks at 95. He's not quite as polished as Cleveland's 2011 second-round pick, Dillon Howard, but like Howard he also has plus sink on his fastball. Sisco's slider shows signs of becoming a plus pitch, and his curveball has similar promise. He doesn't throw his changeup as often as his other offerings, but he shows occasional feel for it. He's a good athlete who should be able to repeat his delivery, though he had some difficulty throwing strikes in his pro debut. Sisco should head to low Class A to begin his first full pro season.
Phelps posted a second straight solid offensive season in Triple-A and earned a shot to fill Cleveland's hole at second base in June. He didn't have much success before getting sent back to Columbus, and by the time he returned to the majors in August, Jason Kipnis had laid claim to the second-base job. Phelps has a limited ceiling, but he gets the most out of the tools he has because he has very good instincts. He's a patient hitter who manages his plate appearances well and doesn't chase many pitches out of the strike zone. His hitting mechanics aren't conventional, as he sets up from a deep crouch with low hands, but he doesn't swing and miss much and flashed more power last season than he had in the past. He still projects more as a gap hitter than a home run threat. Phelps is a below-average runner with an average arm, so he doesn't add much on the bases and is limited defensively. Second base is his best position, as he's stretched thin at shortstop and hasn't handled third base well in limited time there. With Kipnis at second, Lonnie Chisenhall at third and Jason Donald established in a utility role, it could be difficult for Phelps to force his way into the Indians' plans. If he can carry his Triple-A success over to the majors, he should be able to find a role as at least an offensive-oriented bench player.
After signing out of high school for $1.25 million as a second-round pick in 2008, Haley quickly looked like a colossal disappointment. He spent his first two full seasons struggling in low Class A, and by the end of 2010 he had a 6.10 career ERA with more walks (158) than strikeouts (156). The Indians moved him to the bullpen in 2011, a maneuver that has salvaged his career and helped his velocity soar, even as he pitched through a groin injury. Haley showed an 88-92 mph fastball that touched 95 in high school, and he remained in that range as a starter. Last year out of the bullpen, he sat around 95-96 mph with plus sink and reached 100 mph. He has the feel to spin a curveball that's a plus pitch at times, with good depth and power bite. Throwing strikes and controlling his delivery are still obstacles for Haley. He's athletic, which should help him make adjustments, but his mechanics aren't fluid and he's still too wild. He eventually may work from the stretch full-time to simplify his delivery. Haley has the raw stuff to be a late-inning reliever. He'll move up to Double-A to start 2012.
Rayl was one of the top Florida juco pitching prospects in 2009, but he lasted until the 15th round because of his commitment to Florida. The Indians signed him for $125,000. Rayl gets by more on savvy than stuff, though his pitches ticked up slightly last season. Rayl's fastball improved from the upper 80s at the start of 2011 to sitting at 90 mph and touching 93 by the end. He has started to grow into his lanky frame and learned how to use his legs more in his delivery, which has helped his fastball. He's an adept strike-thrower with good mechanics and mixes his offerings well. His curveball and changeup both have a chance to be average, with the curve better one now. Rayl still has to prove his stuff will play against hitters at higher levels after getting knocked around at high Class A Kinston last August, but he has a chance to become a back-of-the-rotation starter. To begin 2012, he'll probably return to high Class A with the organization's new Carolina affiliate.
Weglarz has been equal parts promising and frustrating, with most of the frustration resulting from injuries. A broken hand wiped out his 2006 season, and he missed time with a stress fracture in his left shin in 2009 and a sprained right thumb in 2010. The worst was yet to come. Weglarz tore the meniscus in his left knee in spring training last year, costing him the season's first two months and hampering him the entire year. He hurt his throwing elbow in August, putting an end to his most disappointing season. Even when not at full health, Weglarz always has shown an excellent batting eye. He lays off pitches out of the strike zone and works counts to draw walks. He has plus raw power but takes a big uppercut swing and gets pull-conscious, with a tendency too fly open early. He's a well below-average runner and a limited left-field defender with a fringy arm. If Weglarz can stay healthy his bat still has value, but he's unlikely to become the middle-of-the-order hitter the Indians were expecting. He should open the year in Triple-A, where he hit well at the end of 2010.
Washington has been highly touted since high school, but thus far he hasn't lived up to his billing. The 30th overall pick by the Rays in 2009 out of high school, he didn't sign but didn't qualify academically to play at Florida. He ended up at Chipola (Fla.) JC for the 2010 season, went back into the draft and signed with the Indians for $1.2 million as a second-round pick. Washington struggled in 2011 while battling hip and knee issues. He has good bat speed, quick hands and works the count, but he tinkered with his set-up to bad effect. After his stance got narrow and upright during the season, the Indians had him spread out more like he had in junior college and raised his hand position. He takes a big swing and can become pull-conscious, which doesn't help a player with below-average power. Washington's a 65 runner on the 20-80 scale, though his hometo- first times don't always reflect that. His reads need work in the center field, and his arm has been well below average since shoulder surgery in high school. Washington probably will start the season back in low Class A.
Sterling was one of the best pitchers in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2010, his first professional season. He went back to the AZL to open 2011, then received a promotion to low Class A in July. Sterling is a physical pitcher whose best attribute is his arm strength. He throws a fastball in the low 90s and gets up to 96 mph. He has a mature frame and a thick lower half, so he doesn't project to have more velocity. While he had little use for a changeup in the past, he threw it more often last season. It's now his No. 2 pitch and shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch. The rest of Sterling's game is still raw. His breaking ball is a slurvy slider with loose, erratic rotation. He can overthrow and come out of his delivery, which hampers his command. Some scouts see Sterling as a reliever, but he'll remain a starter for now. He'll step to high Class A to open 2012.
McFarland hasn't moved quickly but he has put himself on the radar with consistent performance. Though he lacks overpowering stuff, he has succeeded by sinking the ball and piling up groundouts. His fastball sits in the high 80s with heavy life and tail, which makes it difficult for hitters to lift. With his large, thick frame, he isn't likely to add velocity, so he'll have to rely on movement and the refinement of his secondary pitches and control. He pitches well off his fastball, moving it in and out. He throws across his body, which isn't ideal but does provide some deception from his low three-quarters arm slot. McFarland's sweeping slider and changeup are both fringy, but he mixes his them well and has good feel for his craft. While his upside is limited, he could be a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever in the majors. His next step is Triple-A.
Rondon moved quickly, reaching Triple-A in 2009 as a 21-year-old. So far that has been the highlight of his professional career. He struggled when he returned to Columbus in 2010 before injuring his elbow. After trying rehab, he finally had Tommy John surgery after the 2010 season, which essentially wiped out his 2011 campaign. Rondon pitched in the Venezuelan League this winter and struggled with his command before he suffered a setback. He had a second surgery on his elbow to repair a fracture and isn't expected to be ready for the start of the 2012 season. At his best, Rondon has shown good command of a lively low-90s fastball that has touched 96 mph. He flashes an average changeup, though his fringy slider never has developed into a legitimate weapon. Rondon is a good athlete who repeats his delivery and fields his position well. When he's healthy again, the Indians will ease him back as a reliever at a Class A stop with the hope that he can be stretched out into a starter's role later in the year. They removed him from the 40-man roster in December.
Judy has been quite a find for the Indians as a 34th-round pick signed for $52,500 out of Indiana Tech in 2007. He has averaged at least a strikeout per inning at every full-season minor league stop in the system, and he might be the lone big leaguer out of what was a disastrous draft for Cleveland. He spent most of 2011 in Triple-A, making his major league debut with a scoreless relief inning on May 22 and returning for stints in Cleveland in July and September. Judy throws strikes with a low-90s fastball, getting a lot of deception because of his herky-jerky delivery. He can generate swings and misses with a slider that has late action, though the pitch lacks consistency because he doesn't always stay on top of it. He doesn't have a reliable third pitch to combat lefthanders, who hit him much harder (.834 OPS) than righties did (.581 OPS) last year in Triple-A, a pattern consistent with his career splits. Judy's upside is limited, but he could win a middle-relief job in spring training.
A draft-eligible sophomore in the 2008 draft, Stowell's extra leverage caused him to slide to the 22nd round, where he signed for $725,000. His stock surged along with his velocity in 2010, when he rose from him high Class A to Triple-A while his fastball spiked and touched 100 mph. He tailed off at the end of the season, however, because of an elbow strain that didn't require surgery. During spring training last year, his velocity was down and his mechanics were out of whack. He didn't see any game action until June and spent the last six weeks of the season in Double-A. After working in the mid-90s with his fastball in 2010, Stowell sat in the low 90s and maxed out at 95 last year. He shows an average slider at times but it's inconsistent. He can get away with a little wildness when his fastball is at its best, but regardless of whether his velocity returns, he'll need to throw more strikes and improve his fastball command. Stowell also missed six weeks in 2009 with biceps tendinitis, giving him an arm injury in each of his three pro seasons, so durability is a concern. He'll likely open 2012 in the Triple-A bullpen.
Aguilar didn't make much noise in his first three years in the system, but he took a step forward in 2011 when he hit 23 homers between two Class A stops. He continued to produce in the Arizona Fall League, batting .339/.458/.610, then went home to the Venezuelan League to play for Caracas. Aguilar has a massive physical frame, good strength and plus raw power. His best pop comes to center and left-center field, and he generates a lot of loft with his stroke. He relies more on a strength-based swing than bat speed and doesn't always get the bat head out front, but it has worked at the lower levels. He'll need to improve his plate discipline when he faces more advanced pitching. A bottom-of-the-scale runner, Aguilar is a limited athlete and defender at first base. He has an average arm and has made some progress with his footwork, hands and instincts. He's ready to give Double-A a try.
The Indians are aggressive in Taiwan, where they signed Chen as an 18-year-old in September 2007. After he struggled at Mahoning Valley in 2009, he ditched a leg kick in his swing and had a breakout season at two Class A stops in 2010. His production dipped upon a jump to Double-A in 2011. Chen is an offense-first catcher and has been since his amateur days, though scouts have questions about just how much he'll hit. He has a short swing but is a pull-oriented hitter who doesn't have great bat speed and is often late getting the bat head out front. He has a tendency to leak open and pull off the ball, which hurts him against breaking pitches. The biggest concern right now is with Chen's defense. He ranked second in the Eastern League with 18 passed balls in 82 games and needs to improve his blocking and receiving. He has an average arm and threw out 35 percent of basestealers last year. The thick-bodied Chen has well below-average speed. He'll have to get better defensively even to become a backup catcher, as his bat likely won't play at another position and he doesn't really have the athleticism to fit elsewhere on the diamond. He may return to Double-A in 2012 in an effort to heat his bat up.
While many college hitters struggled to adjust to new bat regulations in 2011, Lowery took advantage of the hitter-friendly conditions at James Madison. He led NCAA Division I in runs (80), RBIs (91) and total bases (200) while ranking second in homers (24) and slugging (.797). Drafted 128th overall in June, he signed for $220,000 and topped the New York-Penn League with 23 doubles and 30 extra-base hits. Lowery's best skill is his plate discipline. He has an advanced approach that helps him draw plenty of walks, though he did start to expand his strike zone in the second half of his pro debut He has a strong, compact frame and uses the whole field. Despite his eye-catching numbers in college, he projects to top out at average power. Lowery threw out 43 percent of basestealers last spring and 35 percent in pro ball, and he has a plus arm with excellent carry and accuracy. His receiving and blocking still need a lot of work for him to become an adequate defensive catcher. He also played first base at Mahoning Valley, but moving there would put a lot of additional pressure on his bat. He'll spend his first full pro season in low Class A.
Myles originally intended to play linebacker at Texas Christian, but instead he found his way to Weatherford (Texas) JC, where he went undrafted for two years. He transferred to Stephen F. Austin State for 2011 and hit .411 while leading NCAA Division I with 53 steals. While he was caught 15 times, he swiped 14 more bases than the next-closest finisher. He signed for $112,500 as a sixth-round pick, then hit well in his pro debut at Mahoning Valley. Myles draws physical comparisons to Kirby Puckett because he has a thick, muscular frame with plenty of strength, quick hands and an intriguing combination of plus speed and raw power. He didn't strike out much in his debut, but he does have an all-out swing that he may have to tone down against more advanced pitchers. Myles gets good marks for his instincts on the bases despite his caught-stealing totals. He's still raw defensively in center field and his below-average arm might end up relegating him to left field. He'll step up to low Class A in 2012.
Packer dominated as a Virginia sophomore in 2008, leading NCAA Division I with a 1.14 ERA. His ERA jumped to 4.13 in his junior year, however, and he lasted until the 32nd round of the 2009 draft, where he signed for $50,000. He made quick work of the lower levels of the system and reached Double- A in August of his first full pro season. Packer isn't big but gets downhill plane on an 86-90 mph fastball that peaks at 92 with plus sink. He fills the strike zone and averaged just 1.8 walks per nine innings last year when he returned to Akron. His efficiency helps him get groundballs early in the count and to get ahead of hitters, setting up his above-average changeup. His curveball and a slider are both below-average pitches at this point, with the slider showing more potential. Despite his advanced changeup and lack of a breaking ball, Packer was much more effective against lefthanders (.604 OPS) than righties (.790 OPS) in 2011. He'll make his Triple-A debut in 2012 and could see big league action as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Smith hit .420/.480/.772 in two seasons at NCAA Division II St. Cloud State (Minn.) and proved himself against tougher competition by hitting .374 with wood bats in the collegiate Northwoods League in the summer of 2010. After signing for $125,000 as a ninth-round pick last June, he showed why the Indians considered him the most advanced hitter in their 2011 draft class by batting .300 at Mahoning Valley. Smith has a calm, balanced approach at the plate, an easy swing and a knack for centering the baseball. He showed good plate discipline in his first summer of pro ball. His swing can get long at times, however, and scouts have questions about how he'll handle better velocity. Smith has good size and shows average raw power in batting practice, but he offered little pop in his pro debut and employs more of a line-drove stroke than a power swing. He has a lanky frame, so he could grow into more pop with additional strength. A below-average runner with a solid arm, Smith played the outfield as a freshman and moved to third base in 2011. He played both positions in his pro debut and may lack the first-step quickness to remain at the hot corner. He'll open his first full pro season in low Class A.