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Lindor gained minor fame as a youth in Puerto Rico, where his local all-star teams won 8- and 9-year-old national championships, and the mayor of his hometown of Caguas honored him as the town's player of the year. Seeking better competition than he could find on the island, Lindor's family enrolled him at Montverde (Fla.) Academy at age 12. He went on to star on the high school showcase circuit and for USA Baseball's 16U national team, for which he served as captain and won a gold medal at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Lindor even scored the winning run in the ninth inning of the gold-medal game as Team USA rallied back from a 5-1 deficit to beat Cuba 7-6. The Indians made Lindor the first high schooler they'd taken in the first round since 2001 when they snagged him No. 8 overall in 2011, signing him for $2.9 million. A precocious talent, he wasn't out of his element as the second-youngest everyday player in the high Class A Carolina League in 2013. After hitting .306/.373/.410 for Carolina, Lindor moved up to Double-A Akron in July and was the youngest position player to play in the Eastern League. Lindor brings everything to the table with his tools, instincts and makeup. He'll fit more as a No. 1 or 2 hitter in a future big league lineup rather than as a run-producer, but there's very little he can't do. He has a compact swing from both sides of the plate and drives balls to all fields. Raw power is the only tool where he's not above-average, but he could still be a threat to hit 15 homers once he fills out. He does have a little more power from the right side that would sometimes cause his righthanded swing to get bigger, but he did a better job of keeping it more consistent in 2013. Lindor has an uncanny feel for the strike zone, especially for his age. He rarely chases bad pitches or gives away at-bats, drawing more walks than he had strikeouts across two levels last year. Though he's still polishing the small-ball aspects of his game, such as bunting and stealing, he's an intelligent baserunner with above-average speed. Lindor shines even brighter on defense, where he has the potential to be a Gold Glove shortstop. Beyond just his soft hands and above-average arm, Lindor has an advanced feel for anticipating plays. He slows the game down and always plays under control. His work ethic is second to none as well, as he doesn't just settle with getting by on talent and is driven to be a complete player. The only areas for improvement for Lindor at this stage are adding a bit more strength and gaining more experience against upper-level pitchers. With Asdrubal Cabrera's contract expiring after the 2014 season, Lindor is right on schedule to be the Indians' Opening Day shortstop in 2015. He'll begin the 2014 season back in Akron, but if he shows he's ready, Cleveland may ring in the Lindor era sooner than later.
Frazier cemented his star prospect status when he belted two home runs in a March 2013 game for Loganville (Ga.) High against crosstown rival Grayson High, which was led by Frazier's friend and fellow first-rounder Austin Meadows. The audience that night included more than 1,300 fans, hordes of scouts and scouting directors--and a few general mangers. Frazier went on to win the Baseball America High School Player of the Year award after hitting .485 with 17 homers for Loganville and signed for $3.5 million, the largest bonus Cleveland ever has given a drafted player, as the fifth overall pick. Frazier comes loaded with tools. He can put on shows in batting practice, with his raw power rating a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He generates lightning-quick bat speed and takes short, quick swings. Like most teenage hitters, Frazier will swing and miss too much at times. He'll have to get accustomed to pitchers throwing him a steady diet of breaking balls as he moves up, but the Indians believe he'll be able to make the adjustment and will hit for solid averages. An infielder until his junior year in high school, Frazier impressed the team with how quickly his outfield play progressed. His routes and angles need to get better, but he has the above-average speed to play center field. Some scouts believe he'll eventually outgrow center, though his above-average arm would fit fine in right if he does move. Between Frazier and Francisco Lindor, the Indians boast two elite prospects at up-the-middle positions, with Frazier having the most offensive impact potential of any hitter in the system. After a successful showing in the Rookie-level Arizona League in his pro debut, he'll go to low Class A Lake County as a 19-year-old in 2014.
Bauer came into pro ball fresh off winning the Baseball America College Player of the Year Award and the Golden Spikes Award when the Diamondbacks made him the third overall pick in 2011. However, his pro career hasn't gone the way most envisioned. He wore out his welcome in Arizona, which parted with him in a three-team deal in December 2012, with Bauer going to the Indians. He languished at Triple-A Columbus in 2013, his numbers and stuff declining across the board from the year before, and he made a scant four appearances in Cleveland. Bauer takes an intellectual approach, studying biomechanics to carefully craft his delivery, but it got out of whack last season as he tried to compensate for a groin injury. His stride got shorter, his finish was more upright and he wasn't able to get the same depth and leverage on his pitches. His fastball has some slight tailing movement, sitting in the low 90s and hitting 95 mph when he needs it to. Bauer still shows wipeout secondary stuff. He has two plus pitches in his curveball with late downward break and his sinking changeup. He can mix in a usable slider as well. However, Bauer relied too heavily on his breaking stuff last season, struggled to command his fastball and constantly fell behind in counts. He needs to trust his fastball more and get his delivery back in order so he can command it down in the zone. At times Bauer still looks like a frontline arm, but skeptics who doubted he could hold up with his diligent throwing program at the professional level had some vindication in 2013. He likely will begin 2014 back in Triple-A Columbus, barring a spectacular spring training.
Naquin claimed back-to-back Big 12 Conference batting titles as a sophomore and junior before landing a $1.75 million bonus as the 15th overall pick in 2012. Going to high Class A Carolina for his first full season, Naquin came out of the gates strong and hit .311/.375/.468 in the first half before wearing down. Hailed as the best pure hitter in the 2012 draft class, Naquin has quick hands and exceptional bat control, allowing him to spray line drives all over the field. He spread out his stance in 2013 to give himself a stronger base and allow him to use his legs better. However, scouts would like to see him turn on inside pitches with more authority rather than looking to flick them the other way. He has below-average power but he can accumulate extra bases with his above-average speed and aggressiveness. That lack of home run pop makes it essential Naquin stay in center field. He was a right fielder in college, but he has the range and instincts to make a go of it center. His arm is also well-above-average. Naquin's doubters see him as a future fourth outfielder, which would likely be his fate if he doesn't make it in center field. If everything comes together, he'll be a top-of-the-order table-setter and everyday center fielder. He'll start 2014 at Double-A Akron.
Anderson dabbled in pitching in high school but spent most of his time in the outfield, along with playing football and basketball. He eventually moved to the mound full-time at Feather River (Calif.) JC, though only as a reliever. His career took off in 2013, when he won pitcher of the year awards for both the high Class A Carolina League and the Indians' organization. From the beginning, the Indians believed in Anderson's ability to be a starter thanks to his easy, repeatable delivery and variety of pitches. He generates nice downhill plane on his plus fastball that reaches 95 mph and sits in the low 90s. His slider and curveball are solid if unspectacular. The slider stepped forward last season once Anderson stopped trying to guide it into the strike zone and used it more aggressively, improving its bite and making it a swing-and-miss offering. His changeup needs the most work, but he does show some feel for it and has good arm speed with it. He doesn't have any issues with his delivery and already has solid command. Anderson looked tired by the time he got a late season promotion to Double-A Akron in 2013, and he'll go back there to open 2014. The Indians have watched his innings carefully, and he should top 150 for the first time as he attempts to fulfill his potential as a mid-rotation starter.
One of the most sought-after bats on the 2011 international market, Paulino landed with the Indians for $1.1 million. He was among the youngest players in the low Class A Midwest League in 2013 at age 18 and struggled to adjust to the cold weather early in the season. His numbers fell into a hole, though he did recover to hit .281 in August. Despite Paulino's down year, the Indians remain excited about his upside. He has strong hands and can whip the bat through the zone. His hands are quick enough that he can let balls travel deep and smash line drives to all fields. He has some raw power though it's mainly to the gaps. When he's going well, Paulino does a good job of staying inside the ball, but last season he pressed too much to get out of his funk and got over-aggressive. He's a solid runner underway, but he lacks a quick first step. Paulino probably will face a move to second base at some point, though the Indians will keep him at shortstop for the time being. His arm is playable there but his range is fringy. He made 39 errors in 2013, the most among MWL shortstops, as he struggled with his footwork and internal clock. Even if Paulino does have to move over to second base, he has the tools to be an offensive asset. He still has to conquer the MWL though, and he'll go back to Lake County to open 2014.
Growing up, Rodriguez spent several years living in the U.S., and he even attended high school in the States. He eventually relocated back to his native Dominican Republic and signed with the Indians for $375,000 in 2010. Rodriguez came straight to the U.S. for his pro debut in 2011, and he's been young for his league at each stop in the system. He has as much or more pure athleticism as any Indians middle-infield prospect, including Francisco Lindor, but he lacks polish. He has quick-twitch ability and generates plenty of bat speed. His home run output dropped markedly from 2012, though Cleveland chalks this up at least partly to Double-A Akron's stingy Canal Park. Rodriguez is wiry strong and leverages balls well, and he should be capable of solid-average power. His inexperience shows up in his overly aggressive plate approach. He has the bat-to-ball skills to make consistent contact to all fields, but he's tough to walk and doesn't show much ability to adjust with two strikes. Rodriguez played shortstop until moving over to second base upon Lindor's arrival in Akron. He has the pure tools for shortstop, with plus range, quick hands and a strong-enough arm. While he's unlikely to beat out Lindor for the shortstop's job, Rodriguez has the athleticism to shift to several other positions. His ultimate defensive home remains in question as he heads to Triple-A Columbus in 2014.
Lee finally made his long-awaited major league debut in 2013 at age 26. Cleveland signed him for $400,000 in 2008 and he made his way through the system smoothly until 2012, when he went down early in the season and needed Tommy John surgery. After getting back on the mound in May, Lee received two big league callups in 2013. A sinker/slider reliever, he throws from a low three-quarters slot with deception. He has plus velocity on his fastball, ranging from 92-96 mph with late sinking and running life. His slider doesn't have a ton of depth but its good, late bite makes it tough for righthanders to handle. Coming off T.J. surgery, Lee was a bit tentative with his slider early in the year but it looked impressive by the end. He does have a little splitter he can use against lefties, but he's primarily a two-pitch pitcher. Control isn't a problem, but he does need to tighten his fastball command to give himself a better chance against lefthanders. Lee should pitch in the majors again in 2014, though he'll have to compete for a job in the bullpen in spring training. He has good stuff but may end up filling a situational role if he doesn't hone his command.
Ramirez has made a rapid ascent through the system, going from the Midwest League to the majors in the span of a year. After he finished 2012 strong with low Class A Lake County, Ramirez went on to hit .312 over the winter in the Dominican League, which spurred the Indians to skip him over high Class A. He held his own as a 20-year-old in Double-A, and Cleveland gave him a September callup in the heat of the playoff race. Ramirez's speed and on-base skills are his biggest assets. He has a smooth swing from both sides of the plate and sprays line drives to all fields. He does have some pull-side power, more so as a righthanded hitter, but home runs aren't part of his game. Ramirez excels at working counts and rarely chases. Though Ramirez has plus speed and led the Eastern League in steals (38), he wasn't particularly efficient and tended to be too aggressive. Ramirez has the athleticism and versatility to play second base, third base or shortstop, but second is the only spot where he profiles as a regular. His hands work well and he has smooth actions, but he lacks the arm for shortstop or power for third. The game never speeds up on Ramirez, and the major league staff raved about his energy. A left thumb injury in winter ball could slow him in spring training, so after getting a taste of the majors, he'll begin 2014 at Triple-A Columbus to add more polish.?
The Brewers liked Adams enough as a shortstop prospect to take him in the 27th round in 2008, but he passed on signing to continue playing both ways at NAIA Faulkner (Ala.). Cleveland's fifth-round pick in 2009, this time as a pitcher, he rated as one of the Indians' best pitching prospects after the 2011 season, but shoulder surgery cost him all of 2012 and his road to the majors has been rerouted to the bullpen. The high-90s velocity he showed before his injury has come all the way back, as he pitched with his fastball at 95-97 mph with cutting action. Adams also still has the depth to his repertoire from his days as a starter. His curveball and changeup have the best chances to be quality offerings from among his secondary pitches, and he can mix in an early-count slider as well. He's a good athlete but isn't overly physical. The Indians believe Adams will have better command than his walk figures from last season suggest (4.7 per nine), but he has effort to his delivery and his ability to locate is unlikely to ever be more than average. Adams has the power arm to be a late-inning option, and he joined the 40-man roster after the 2013 season. He'll begin 2014 at Triple-A Columbus.
Crockett enjoyed a sterling three-year run at Virginia, posting the second-best career ERA (1.98) in school history. He assumed the closer's role as a junior and racked up 12 saves. The Indians signed him for $463,600 as their 2013 fourth-round pick. Pegged as one of the players closest to the big leagues in the entire draft class, Crockett lived up to his billing, reaching Double-A Akron just two months after the draft. He doesn't have overwhelming velocity, working at 88-89 mph and topping out at 92, but what he has plays up because of the life and deception he gets on his fastball. He hides the ball well, and he can locate his fastball with sink wherever he wants. He goes to a late-breaking slider as his second pitch. The Indians moved him towards the first base side of the rubber after he signed, which helped him get a better angle on the slider against lefthanders. If he commands the fastball to both sides of the plate, Crockett can be more than a left-on-left reliever because he also has a changeup he can use on occasion. He might go back to Akron to start 2014 but is the clear favorite to be the first of the Indians' 2013 draft class to reach the majors.
The Indians haven't shied away from skipping their high-profile Latin American prospects over the Dominican Summer League, and Mejia is another example. Cleveland brought him to the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2013, and he quickly showed why Cleveland spent $350,000 to sign him. A natural hitter, he already has a good idea at the plate and a quality swing with few moving parts that allows him to stay inside the ball consistently. He has decent raw power, though it shows up more often in batting practice and he focuses on an up-the-middle approach in games. While Mejia has plenty of promise at the plate, he's extremely raw behind it. His greatest strength is a throwing arm that receives a few 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, but he allowed 11 passed balls in 25 games at catcher in his debut. He often played second base as an amateur and his technique as a catcher needs plenty of development. To his credit, he's embraced the position and doesn't take bad at-bats with him into the field. He shows some leadership qualities and his work ethic won over pitchers despite his struggles. Mejia will stay in extended spring training in 2014 to keep working on his catching before going to the short-season New York-Penn League.
After three stints in low Class A, Rodriguez made it to high Class A Carolina at the end of April 2013, but his stay lasted just 34 games. A left (non-throwing) shoulder problem nagged him, and the Indians shut him down in the second half. When he's going well, he shows a smooth, compact swing with a nice bat path. Home runs won't be his forte, but he does have surprising pop for his size and lashes balls into both gaps. Plate discipline has been an issue, however, and the switch-hitter battles a tendency to get out on his front foot, particularly in his lefthanded swing. Rodriguez played center field at low Class A Lake County but shifted to left with Carolina due to Tyler Naquin's presence. Despite the move, Rodriguez can be a quality center fielder in his own right. His routes need some improvement but his plus speed allows him to make up for mistakes. He has a strong arm as well. Rodriguez was able to get back on the field in instructional league and should be good to go in 2014, which he'll open back in Carolina.
Moncrief's stock took off in 2013, eventually landing him a spot on Cleveland's 40-man roster. A two-way player at Chipola (Fla.) JC, he began his pro career on the mound but posted a 7.75 ERA over two seasons in Rookie ball. He shifted to the outfield in 2010 and has hit at least 15 homers in each of his three years in full-season ball. He tied for the organizational home run lead in 2013 with 17. Moncrief has the strength to hit home runs and a feel for the barrel, though most of his power comes to his pull side. His increased power came with increased contact, as he cut his strikeout rate from 31 percent of plate appearances in 2012 to 18 percent last season. Moncrief had a better plan at the plate and more experience under his belt, though he does need to show he can handle lefthanders after he hit just .215 against them in 2013. Scouts worry about a wrap in his swing, and he tends to open up early against lefties. He's at least an average runner and takes good routes in the outfield. He could throw 96 mph in his pitching days and his arm is a weapon in right field. The Indians will send him to Triple-A Columbus to open 2014.
Aguilar signed with the Indians at age 17 and took three years to get out of short-season ball, but he's made steady progress since 2011, when he broke out with 23 homers between two Class A levels. The Indians left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft after the 2012 season but didn't take that chance again and added him to the 40-man roster in 2013. Aguilar's future depends entirely on his bat. He has a hulking frame and well-above-average power, with the bat speed to handle velocity. He posted the lowest strikeout rate of his career in 2013 as he did a better job of getting into favorable counts and of staying back on offspeed pitches. Club officials also noted his ability to bear down with men on base. He led the Eastern League with 105 RBIs, hitting .229 with the bases empty versus .339 with runners in scoring position. Aguilar has good hands and is a better athlete than he looks, though unsurprisingly his speed still rates below-average, as does his throwing arm. He led EL first basemen with 14 errors. Aguilar sticks out as the best power bat the Indians have in the upper levels of the system. He'll have to overcome the tough profile of being a righthanded-hitting first baseman, so he'll need to put up big numbers at Triple-A Columbus in 2014.
Kime had been on the Indians' radar since his high school days in the northwestern Ohio town of Defiance. He wound up being taken in the eighth round by the Pirates in 2010 but opted to attend Louisville. Kime was in and out of the Cardinals' rotation as a junior but had his best season, going 6-1, 2.99 to help Louisville reach the College World Series and net himself a $525,000 bonus in the third round from the Indians. Cleveland saw a potential starter in Kime thanks to his four-pitch mix, clean delivery and durable frame. His fastball reached 95 mph as a reliever and sat 90-92 in a starting role. The heater doesn't have much movement, which puts a premium on his fringy command. He does command his curveball well and it has the makings of a plus pitch with 12-to-6 bite. He also has a hard slider that acts similarly to a cutter--and sometimes gets labeled as one--along with a work-in-progress changeup. The changeup shows some fading movement, but it atrophied a bit when he was a reliever. Kime has the tools to be a mid-rotation starter and should open 2014 in the low Class A Lake County rotation.
Wendle finished his college career by leading West Chester (Pa.) to its first-ever NCAA Division II national championship in 2012. He cost the Indians just $10,000 as a sixth-round senior sign after batting .366 over four years in college, and he hasn't skipped a beat since turning pro. Wendle's hit tool might be the only one that's plus, but that could be enough to get him to the majors. He has a short, compact swing, an advanced feel for hitting and solid control of the strike zone. He probably will settle in around 10-12 homers per year at the upper levels, with more of his sock coming to his pull side. He has good hands and agility at second base to go with adequate range and arm strength. His speed rates as merely fringe-average. The organization loves Wendle's blue-collar mentality and top-shelf makeup. He finished 2013 by handling himself well in the Arizona Fall League and will move up to Double-A Akron in 2014. With Jason Kipnis in the majors and the Indians' depth of middle-infield prospects, he may have more luck as a utility player or trade bait.
Plutko stepped out of the shadows of Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer to lead the UCLA program to even greater heights than did the two more ballyhooed top-three picks. Taking over as the Bruins' No. 1 starter in 2012, Plutko established himself as a dominant big-game pitcher while helping UCLA to its first national championship in 2013. Shortly after being named Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series, Plutko collected a $300,000 bonus from the Indians, the fourth-largest in Cleveland's draft class. He had already thrown 124 innings during the college season, so the Indians chose to shut him down after signing him. Plutko gets by without plus velocity, but he offers four average pitches and the moxie to get his stuff to play up. He works at 87-91 mph, though the Indians do think he could add some velocity once he gets on a professional throwing program. His changeup gets the highest marks of his three secondary pitches, which also include a curveball and slider. He doesn't rely on any one pitch though. He has superb command, an intelligent pitching mind and a repeatable delivery. Plutko's stuff may not make him more than a No. 4 starter at the major league level, but he has a good chance to move through the system quickly.
With the Indians' glut of middle-infield prospects, Gonzalez flew under the radar until 2013. Part of that is because he simply hadn't played shortstop since 2010 in the Dominican Summer League, instead seeing time at third base, first base and the outfield. He played third again in 2013 at low Class A Lake County before finally getting his chance at shortstop following a promotion to high Class A Carolina in July, taking over the spot vacated by Francisco Lindor's move to Double-A. The Indians had always liked Gonzalez's athleticism, but he took time to grow into his gangly body. He has the tools to stick at shortstop with his good hands, lateral agility and above-average arm. Gonzalez's defensive abilities prompted Cleveland to add him to its 40-man roster, but his bat has a long way to go. He has a balanced stroke with line-drive power, but he uses a high leg kick that disrupts his timing. He can hit a fastball, though he cheats at times, leaving him vulnerable to breaking pitches which he struggles to recognize. He's a slightly-above-average runner underway, but his speed doesn't translate into stolen bases. He tore up winter ball in the Dominican and should move quickly if he keeps progressing, but he'll begin 2014 back at Carolina.
Santander landed one of the Indians' largest international signing bonuses in 2011 at $385,000. The team wasn't surprised by his early-season struggles in 2013 in the cold weather of the low Class A Midwest League, a tough assignment for the 18-year-old, and his bat had started coming around before a right elbow injury cut his season short. Santander's body type and swing draw comparisons with current Indians outfielder Michael Brantley. He has similar raw power as well but should have a better chance to get to it in games. He does show some feel for hitting, along with quiet hands at the plate and a naturally powerful stroke, giving him the potential for average raw power. Santander didn't take up switch-hitting until about a year before he turned pro, and his lefthanded swing looks further ahead than his righty swing. He's played on an outfield corner exclusively as a pro. He's a decent athlete and his slightly above-average arm gives him a shot to stick in right field. Santander has a chance to earn a spot on high Class A Carolina's roster, but he most likely will open 2014 back in the MWL, where he'd still be young for the level as a 19-year-old.
Lugo took some extra time to find a landing spot after becoming eligible to sign with clubs in July 2010, eventually netting a $415,000 bonus from the Indians in February 2011. He was the youngest member of short-season Mahoning Valley's pitching staff in 2013 at age 19, yet he pitched like its ace, allowing one earned run or fewer in nine of 11 starts for the Scrappers. Something of a late bloomer, Lugo has physicality in his 6-foot-5 frame that sets him apart from most teenagers. He works mainly at 89-91 mph and tops out at 93 with his fastball, and his size and strength allow for projection, especially as he learns to use his lower half. He throws downhill and doesn't have any trouble throwing strikes. Lugo should have the repertoire to remain a starter. He needs to firm up his curveball, as he tends to just flip it up to the plate at times, but he flashes a 12-to-6 downer. He gets good arm speed on his changeup and shows some feel for using it. The Indians laud Lugo's pitching aptitude, and his English has come along well. After making a cameo with low Class A Lake County at the end of 2013, he'll head back there to open 2014.
Given his wiry frame and fastball that operated in the 87-91 mph range as a high school senior, Morimando lasted until the 19th round of the 2011 draft. Cleveland convinced him to give up an East Carolina commitment with a $350,000 bonus, and he's done nothing but perform as a pro. Morimando was the second-youngest player on high Class A Carolina's Opening Day roster last season, older than only Francisco Lindor, yet he posted a 2.71 ERA in the first half before tailing off. Embracing the organization's strength and conditioning programs, Morimando has added a few ticks to his fastball, now getting it up to 94 mph and sitting at 90-92. He spins a tight curveball with depth that looks like it has the makings of an average pitch, and he made strides with his changeup. He can also mix in a short slider. Morimando's 76 walks were the second-most in the Carolina League, as his control needs tightening and he tends to nibble. He's athletic with a low-effort delivery, though, and his command should be solid in time. Morimando lacks a plus pitch but has a chance to have four average pitches. He'll reach Double-A Akron as a 21-year-old in 2014.
Shane attracted crowds of scouts at the 2012 World Wood Bat Championship and ranked as the second-best high school pitcher in Texas going into 2013. However, he fell out of shape over the winter and his stuff wasn't the same during his senior season at Centennial High. He fell to the sixth round of the draft, but the Indians believed enough in his ability to bounce back to spend $150,000 to buy him out of a Texas A&M commitment. When going well, Shane showed 92-94 mph velocity with sinking life, though his fastball dropped into the 87-91 range last spring. His changeup and slider both show promise when he has them working, and he has a feel for using them. He doesn't always get the right shape on the slider, but it can be a swing-and-miss pitch at times. He can also throw an early-count curveball to give hitters a different look. Shane has a smooth, repeatable delivery that portends a future as a solid strike-thrower once he learns to repeat his delivery. Getting back in shape takes precedent over anything else for 2014, when he'll stay in extended spring training before embarking on an assignment to short-season Mahoning Valley.
The Indians signed Brown for $800,000 in 2012 after making him one of just two Minnesota high schoolers to go in the top two rounds of the draft since Joe Mauer went first overall in 2001. Cleveland believed he was ready to compete at the low Class A level in his first full year, but Brown was hit hard for five starts before going down with a biceps injury. In high school, Brown showed a solid four-pitch mix and topped out at 95 mph, but his stuff in 2013 was inconsistent as he struggled with his mechanics. Brown could still hit 93-94 mph at times but would pitch at 90-91 as he focused more on throwing strikes. When his delivery got out of sync, he would overcompensate and search to find a consistent release point. He tended to get too far out front and have his arm drag, which led to many fastballs missing high to his arm side. Unable to throw enough strikes with his fastball, Brown couldn't get to his secondary stuff. His three-quarters curveball has plus potential. He shows feel for using his changeup, and he also features a slider/cutter hybrid that's shown promise. In high school, Brown threw with a sound, repeatable delivery, and he appeared to get back to it in instructional league. He'll get another crack at the Midwest League in 2014.
Wolters made a strong impression on Indians manager Terry Francona when he got to play in a few big league spring training games in 2013. Francona noted the then-second baseman Wolters' feel for hitting and physical similarity to Tigers catcher Alex Avila. Given Cleveland's surplus of middle infield prospects, the team decided to have Wolters make the move behind the plate. The recipient of a $1.35 million bonus in 2010, Wolters benefitted from working with Sandy Alomar Jr. in spring training and with high Class A Carolina manager Dave Wallace, another former catcher. Predictably, the transition wasn't easy, and scouts outside the organization were skeptical of his future, but the Indians believed by the end of the season that he played an acceptable catcher at the minor league level. Wolters is a good athlete who has quick hands and a strong arm that plays up thanks to a quick transfer. He still has much to learn, but he's embraced the move and the Indians love his work ethic and leadership qualities. He's a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter who does a good job of controlling the strike zone. He'll run into some home runs but has below-average power. His profile as a lefty-hitting catcher would give him great value and reduces demands on his bat. He'll start 2014 at Double-A Akron.
Barnes looked poised to be a key piece in the Indians' bullpen in 2013, but his season went off the rails at Triple-A Columbus. Barnes had pitched well in Cactus League games but was one of the last cuts from the big league roster. His confidence suffered and his delivery got out of whack, leading to a 7.81 ERA at Columbus before a left wrist sprain cost him most of the second half. A former starter the Indians acquired from the Giants for Ryan Garko in July 2009, Barnes has a reliever's delivery and converted to the bullpen in 2012 when he was coming off a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. When he's going well, Barnes' crossfire delivery can be hard for hitters to pick up, but it's complicated with a lot of moving parts, and his command fell apart last season. His fastball is a plus pitch from the left side, working at 91-93 mph with life and peaking as high as 95. He didn't always trust his fastball in 2013, though, while his delivery issues made it hard for him to work down in the zone. Barnes can show an 84-86 mph slider with plus, late bite at times, giving him a knockout weapon against lefthanders. He also has a seldom-used straight changeup. The Indians believe in Barnes' potential as a seventh- or eighth-inning reliever enough to keep him on the 40-man roster. He'll go back to spring training with another shot at the big league club.
An alum of George Washington High, the same New York high school that produced Manny Ramirez, Rodriguez signed for $100,000 in the 15th round in 2012. He did some catching as an amateur but quickly converted to first base full-time after signing. Rodriguez garners comparisons with Jesus Aguilar and faces the same challenges as a hefty, righthanded-hitting first baseman. He struggled to handle low Class A Lake County early in 2013 but rebounded to lead short-season Mahoning Valley with nine home runs. Nicknamed "Rhino," Rodriguez has plenty of raw power and the bat speed and strength to get around on good fastballs, though there's some length to his swing as well. His approach improved over the course of the season as he stopped trying to pull everything. The team was encouraged with his ability to hit breaking pitches the other way, and he also showed a willingness to take his walks once teams started pitching around him. Rodriguez impressed with his work ethic and intelligence, and he'll return to Lake County for another go in 2014.
After receiving the largest bonus in the Indians' 2008 draft class at $1.25 million, Haley has been a tease. He may have the best pure stuff of any pitcher in the system, but he frustrates evaluators with an inability to stay healthy or throw the ball over the plate. His velocity picked up when the Indians moved him to relief in 2011. He can touch triple digits and sits easily in the mid-90s with late sinking action. He has a second plus pitch in his true curveball, a swing-and-miss pitch when he's able to set it up, and he can mix in some tight sliders as well. The Indians had Haley ditch throwing from the windup and go exclusively from the stretch at Double-A Akron in 2013 in an effort to help him throw strikes, yet his control issues were as bad as ever with a walk rate of nearly eight batters per nine innings. Haley throws with a violent delivery, landing hard on his front foot and finishing with a head whack. He doesn't help himself by often trying to overpower every hitter, and the Indians have encouraged him to throw more curveballs even early in counts. Haley has a laundry list of injuries in his past, including a sports hernia operation in 2012, but thus far he has avoided anything major. The Indians won't give up on his potential as an impact reliever until his time runs out.
Armstrong went into the spring of 2008 as the top high school pitcher in North Carolina, but a sore arm diminished his velocity and he turned down the Astros as a 33rd-round pick to go to East Carolina. An up-and-down junior season for the Pirates saw his draft stock fall again, and he lasted until the 18th round in 2011 when Cleveland snagged him. Armstrong finally seemed to put it all together in 2012, but a hand injury set him back in 2013. He tried to return too quickly and his velocity didn't come all the way back until the end of the year. After pitching at 88-91 mph early on, he was back up to the low 90s with sink in the fall, touching 96. Armstrong has a usable hard slider that rates as his best secondary pitch, and he can also throw a cutter and a changeup to attack lefthanded hitters. He's got a physical frame, and he tweaked his delivery to incorporate his lower half and stay more on line to the plate, helping his velocity pick up. Armstrong throws slightly across his body, and he needs to repeat his delivery more consistently. After posting a 1.59 ERA in the Arizona Fall League, he'll try to keep that momentum going as he returns to Double-A Akron in 2014. Armstrong could be a middle relief option for Cleveland in the near future if things come together.
Brady was one of the few standouts in a weak high school pitching crop in the state of Florida in 2013. Despite staying on the board until the fifth round, he landed the second-largest bonus in Cleveland's draft class at $800,000. He dominated in the Rookie-level Arizona League after signing, allowing two earned runs or fewer in all 10 of his starts. For a high school pitcher, Brady is less about projection and more about present stuff. He'll touch 92 mph with his fastball but pitches at 88-91. While he lacks plus velocity, he gets the most out of his tailing fastball thanks to his ability to command it to both sides of the plate. His curveball has the better chance to be a plus pitch. It has top-to-bottom break and he can use it as a chase pitch or for an early-count strike. His changeup is his third option and shows promising fade and sink. Coming into the draft, the Indians loved Brady's clean delivery and arm action, along with his advanced feel for pitching. He's a fierce competitor, and he took a leadership role on the staff with the AZL team. His upside may only be that of a mid-rotation starter, but he could move quickly for a high school arm. He'll open his first full season at low Class A Lake County.
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