Cleveland Indians: Top 10 Prospects

Cleveland Indians

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

1.Adam Miller, rhp
2.Chuck Lofgren, lhp
3.Trevor Crowe, of
4.Tony Sipp, lhp
5.Brian Barton, of
6.John Drennen, of
7.Scott Lewis, lhp
8.Brad Snyder, of
9.Wes Hodges, 3b
10.David Huff, lhp
Best Hitter for AverageTrevor Crowe
Best Power HitterRyan Goleski
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineTrevor Crowe
Fastest BaserunnerJose Constanza
Best AthleteBrian Barton
Best FastballAdam Miller
Best CurveballScott Lewis
Best SliderAdam Miller
Best ChangeupSean Smith
Best ControlScott Lewis
Best Defensive CatcherWyatt Toregas
Best Defensive InfielderAsdrubal Cabrera
Best Infield ArmAsdrubal Cabrera
Best Defensive OutfielderJonathan Van Every
Best Outfield ArmRyan Goleski
CatcherMatt McBride
First BaseVictor Martinez
Second BaseJosh Barfield
Third BaseAndy Marte
ShortstopJhonny Peralta
Left FieldTrevor Crowe
Center FieldGrady Sizemore
Right FieldShin-Soo Choo
Designated HitterTravis Hafner
No. 1 StarterC.C. Sabathia
No. 2 StarterAdam Miller
No. 3 StarterJeremy Sowers
No. 4 StarterCliff Lee
No. 5 StarterJake Westbrook
CloserTony Sipp
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Bartolo Colon, rhpAngels
1998Sean Casey, 1bTigers
1999Russell Branyan, 3bPadres
2000C.C. Sabathia, lhpIndians
2001C.C. Sabathia, lhpIndians
2002Corey Smith, 3bWhite Sox
2003Brandon Phillips, ss/2bReds
2004Grady Sizemore, ofIndians
2005Adam Miller, rhpIndians
2006Adam Miller, rhpIndians
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Tim Drew, rhpOut of baseball
1998C.C. Sabathia, lhpIndians
1999Will Hartley, c (2nd)Out of baseball
2000Corey Smith, 3bWhite Sox
2001Dan Denham, rhpIndians
2002Jeremy Guthrie, rhpIndians
2003Michael Aubrey, 1bIndians
2004Jeremy Sowers, lhpIndians
2005Trevor Crowe, ofIndians
2006David Huff, lhpIndians
Danys Baez, 1999$4,500,000
Jeremy Guthrie, 2002$3,000,000
Jeremy Sowers, 2004$2,475,000
Michael Aubrey, 1b$2,010,000
Dan Denham, 2001$1,860,000
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Cleveland Indians

After making over an older, overpaid roster in 2002, general manager Mark Shapiro and his rebuilding plan reaped rewards right on schedule. The Indians won 93 games and just missed the playoffs in 2005, with a promise of better things to come.

Instead, Cleveland stumbled. The Tribe went 13-12 in the season's first month and never got back into the American League Central race. The Indians dropped to 78 victories and fourth place in the division, 18 games behind the Twins.

The major step backward was mostly the result of inconsistency on the mound, particularly in the bullpen. Rookie Jeremy Sowers replaced Jason Johnson in the rotation and showed promise, but two other farm system products, Fausto Carmona and Fernando Cabrera, failed to shoring up the bullpen. Cabrera went 3-3, 5.34 and couldn't convert any of his four save opportunities.

The Indians' handling of Carmona was curious at best and highlighted their big league pitching problems. Carmona opened the season as the No. 1 starter at Triple-A Buffalo, then earned a spot in the Cleveland rotation before moving to the bullpen. After the Indians traded closer Bob Wickman to the Braves, they briefly anointed Carmona closer before using him in middle relief. When Carmona struggled mightily with 1-9, 5.64 numbers, he headed back to Buffalo as a starter and resurfaced in the Tribe rotation at the end of the year.

Though the club has the nucleus of a strong rotation in C.C. Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Cliff Lee and Sowers, the bullpen still needs an overhaul and there is no clear-cut closer on the roster. Tony Sipp, who spent 2006 in Double-A, may get the next opportunity.

Offense wasn't an issue, as the Indians plated 870 runs and in fact outscored their opponents by 88. Grady Sizemore came into his own as an elite center fielder, while Travis Hafner continued to establish himself as one of the game's most dangerous mashers.

One positive the Indians took out of a disappointing year was getting a look at several position players later in the season, giving Ryan Garko, Franklin Gutierrez, Joe Inglett, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy Marte a chance to contribute. Kouzmanoff showed enough to be used as the primary chip to acquire Josh Barfield in a November trade with the Padres. Cleveland also added position-player talent when it fell out of the race, dealing Ben Broussard, Eduardo Perez and Wickman to get shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and catcher Max Ramirez.

Down on the farm, Kinston won the high Class A Carolina League title behind strong pitching, particularly from lefthanders Chuck Lofgren and Scott Lewis. Akron came within one game of winning its second straight Double-A Eastern League championship. The Indians spent most of their early draft picks in June on college players with solid if not spectacular ceilings, starting with polished lefthander David Huff in the supplemental first round.

While Aeros ace Adam Miller is the only real blue-chip prospect in the system, the club has a lot of pieces in place to contribute to the majors in 2007, as well as the depth to make trades if the Indians can get off to a better start. But life has gotten a lot tougher in the AL Central, as Cleveland discovered.