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, 2008.

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1. Adam Miller, rhp
2. Chuck Lofgren, lhp
3. Beau Mills, 3b/1b
4. Wes Hodges, 3b
5. Aaron Laffey, lhp
6. Nick Weglarz, of
7. Jordan Brown, of
8. David Huff, lhp
9. Ben Francisco, of
10. Jensen Lewis, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Jordan Brown
Best Power Hitter Beau Mills
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jordan Brown
Fastest Baserunner Jose Constanza
Best Athlete Brad Snyder
Best Fastball Adam Miller
Best Curveball Scott Lewis
Best Slider Adam Miller
Best Changeup David Huff
Best Control David Huff
Best Defensive Catcher Wyatt Toregas
Best Defensive Infielder Adam Davis
Best Infield Arm Josh Rodriguez
Best Defensive Outfielder Brad Snyder
Best Outfield Arm Brad Snyder
Catcher Victor Martinez
First Base Ryan Garko
Second Base Asdrubal Cabrera
Third Base Beau Mills
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta
Left Field Nick Weglarz
Center Field Grady Sizemore
Right Field Franklin Gutierrez
Designated Hitter Travis Hafner
No. 1 Starter C.C. Sabathia
No. 2 Starter Fausto Carmona
No. 3 Starter Adam Miller
No. 4 Starter Chuck Lofgren
No. 5 Starter Aaron Laffey
Closer Rafael Perez
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Sean Casey, 1b Tigers
1999 Russell Branyan, 3b Cardinals
2000 C.C. Sabathia, lhp Indians
2001 C.C. Sabathia, lhp Indians
2002 Corey Smith, 3b Newark (Atlantic)
2003 Brandon Phillips, ss/2b Reds
2004 Grady Sizemore, of Indians
2005 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
2006 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
2007 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 C.C. Sabathia, lhp Indians
1999 Will Hartley, c (2nd) Out of baseball
2000 Corey Smith, 3b Newark (Atlantic)
2001 Dan Denham, rhp Athletics
2002 Jeremy Guthrie, rhp Orioles
2003 Michael Aubrey, 1b Indians
2004 Jeremy Sowers, lhp Indians
2005 Trevor Crowe, of Indians
2006 David Huff, lhp Indians
2007 Beau Mills, 3b/1b Indians
Danys Baez, 1999 $4,500,000
Jeremy Guthrie, 2002 $3,000,000
Jeremy Sowers, 2004 $2,475,000
Michael Aubrey, 2003 $2,010,000
Dan Denham, 2001 $1,860,000
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Cleveland Indians

While their season ended in disappointing fashion, the Indians completed their rebuilding project by returning to the top of the American League Central. The organization had been pointing toward that goal since Mark Shapiro took over as general manager after the 2001 season, the last time Cleveland had gone to the playoffs. Shapiro's administration immediately tore down an expensive roster and began assembling younger talent.

The Indians won 93 games in 2005 and looked well on their way back, but a faulty bullpen contributed to a 78-84 finish in 2006. Their young core matured last season and showed that the step back in '06 was the anomaly.

What will linger in Cleveland fans' memories, however, is how much better it could have been. The Tribe knocked off the Yankees in the AL Division Series, then pushed the Red Sox to seven games in the AL Championship Series. The most frustrating part was that the Indians had Boston on the ropes with a 3-1 series lead with a chance to clinch at Jacobs Field. But Josh Beckett turned the tide in Game Five, starting a run of three straight wins for the Red Sox that dashed the Indians' hopes of their first World Series title since 1948.

"I'm disappointed obviously we weren't able to finish it off," manager Eric Wedge said. "I'm proud as I could be of our players. We fell short, but I think we learned a great deal in this postseason."

The good news is that the remade Indians are equipped to go on the same kind of run they enjoyed from 1995-2001, when they went to the playoffs six times in seven years. While a primary focus of Shapiro's rebuilding efforts centered around homegrown contributors such as Fausto Carmona, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and C.C. Sabathia, the pro scouting department helped build the club as much, if not more, than the amateur department.

Recognizing the talent of Grady Sizemore while he was in Class A or Travis Hafner when he was in Triple-A paid huge dividends. So did stealing Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mariners in a trade for Eduardo Perez.

After graduating several players to the big leagues, the farm system is at a crossroads. The system still has depth, but aside from oft-injured righthander Adam Miller, no true blue-chip prospects are waiting in the wings.

And aside from holdovers liked Miller, no new faces outside of Double-A first baseman Jordan Brown separated themselves from the pack in 2007. The system was wracked by injury and lack of performance last year, as lefthander Tony Sipp had Tommy John surgery, outfielder Brad Snyder went down with a broken thumb in July and the two top draft picks from 2005 (outfielders Trevor Crowe and John Drennen) were disappointments.

Double-A Akron and high Class A Kinston were again powerhouse clubs in the minor leagues, though both teams lost in the postseason. Kinston's 87 victories were the third-highest total in the minors..

The Indians had just one pick in the first three rounds of the 2007 draft, selecting slugger Beau Mills 13th overall. Two of their later-round picks have a lot of upside, as the club went over slot to sign Florida high school lefthander Chris Jones (15th round) for $350,00 and Oregon prep two-way standout Joey Mahalic (32nd round) for $123,000.

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