Cleveland Indians Top 10 Prospects

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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, 2011.

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Ben Badler
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1. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b
2. Alex White, rhp
3. Jason Kipnis, 2b
4. Drew Pomeranz, lhp
5. Nick Weglarz, of
6. Jason Knapp, rhp
7. LeVon Washington, of
8. Tony Wolters, ss
9. Joe Gardner, rhp
10. Nick Hagadone, lhp
Best Hitter for Average Lonnie Chisenhall
Best Power Hitter Nick Weglarz
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jordan Henry
Fastest Baserunner Delvi Cid
Best Athlete LeVon Washington
Best Fastball Jason Knapp
Best Curveball Drew Pomeranz
Best Slider Josh Judy
Best Changeup T.J. House
Best Control Matt Packer
Best Defensive Catcher Roberto Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Kyle Bellows
Best Infield Arm Giovanny Urshela
Best Defensive Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera
Best Outfield Arm Abner Abreu
Catcher Carlos Santana
First Base Matt LaPorta
Second Base Jason Kipnis
Third Base Lonnie Chisenhall
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera
Left Field LeVon Washington
Center Field Grady Sizemore
Right Field Shin-Soo Choo
Designated Hitter Nick Weglarz
No. 1 Starter Alex White
No. 2 Starter Drew Pomeranz
No. 3 Starter Carlos Carrasco
No. 4 Starter Fausto Carmona
No. 5 Starter Jason Knapp
Closer Chris Perez
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 C.C. Sabathia, lhp Yankees
2002 Corey Smith, 3b Dodgers
2003 Brandon Phillips, ss/2b Reds
2004 Grady Sizemore, cf Indians
2005 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
2006 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
2007 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
2008 Adam Miller, rhp Indians
2009 Carlos Santana, c Indians
2010 Carlos Santana, c Indians
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Dan Denham, rhp Angels
2002 Jeremy Guthrie, rhp Orioles
2003 Michael Aubrey, 1b Orioles
2004 Jeremy Sowers, lhp Indians
2005 Trevor Crowe, of Indians
2006 David Huff, lhp (1st round supp.) Indians
2007 Beau Mills, 3b/1b Indians
2008 Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b Indians
2009 Alex White, rhp Indians
2010 Drew Pomeranz, rhp Indians
Danys Baez, 1999 $4,500,000
Jeremy Guthrie, 2002 $3,000,000
Drew Pomeranz, 2010 $2,650,000
Jeremy Sowers, 2004 $2,475,000
Alex White, 2009 $2,250,000
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Cleveland Indians

The highlight of the Indians' 2010 season came when top prospect Carlos Santana made his major league debut on June 11. The 24-year-old catcher hit .260/.401/.467 before his season ended in gruesome fashion Aug. 2. A home-plate collision with Ryan Kalish ended with Santana getting carted off the field and requiring surgery on his left knee.

Even when it had Santana in its lineup, Cleveland struggled. The Indians finished 69-93 on the heels of going 65-97 in 2009, their two worst back-to-back years since 1914-15. The losing on the field has coincided with an accompanying decline in attendance, and the 1.39 million fans who came out in 2010 were a record low for Jacobs Field and the team's lowest mark since 1992.

After the season, general manager Mark Shapiro moved up to team president and assistant GM Chris Antonetti took over for Shapiro, a move the club had announced in February. Major changes in how the club operates aren't expected, as Antonetti already was heavily involved in the team's decision-making process and the rest of the front office remained largely in place.

Cleveland had difficulty creating and preventing runs in 2010, ranking 26th in baseball in runs scored and 24th in runs allowed while getting few contributions from truly homegrown players. Fausto Carmona led the pitching staff, but he was signed back in 2000 out of the Dominican Republic.

Tony Sipp, a 45th-round draft-and-follow from 2004, was an effective set-up man. Trevor Crowe, a 2005 first-round pick, had the lowest OPS (.634) among regular American League outfielders. David Huff, the team's top pick (sandwich round) in 2006, had a 6.21 ERA in 15 starts.

The Indians have had more success trading for young players than signing and developing them—Chris Perez emerged as a somewhat wild but effective closer, and Carlos Carrasco came up in September and showed the potential to be a mid-rotation starter—part of the reason they have found themselves near the bottom of the American League Central the last two seasons.

Based on the on-field success of recent top picks, Cleveland's draft drought could end soon. Lonnie Chisenhall, the club's 2008 first-round pick, has become one of the game's best third-base prospects and ranks No. 1 on the Indians list. The Indians' picks from the first three rounds in 2009—righthander Alex White, second baseman Jason Kipnis and righthander Joe Gardner—all dominated in their first full seasons.

Though many of their premium choices in 2010 signed too late to play much, Baseball America rated the crop headlined by lefthander Drew Pomeranz and outfielder LeVon Washington as the best draft in the game. Cleveland spent $9.4 million on bonuses, more than all but four other teams.

While the Indians got a strong showing from White, the development of several other starters hit some speed bumps. Promising righthanders Alexander Perez and Hector Rondon had Tommy John surgery. Kelvin de la Cruz and Nick Hagadone, who missed significant time in the past with arm injuries, battled their deliveries and struggled to take the next step forward.

Their return to contention might still be a few years away, but the Indians hope the ability to develop their own draft picks will give them a more stable pipeline of talent for the big league club. That's preferable to relying on getting young talent by trading away their best big leaguers—Cliff Lee, Victor Marintez, C.C. Sabathia—as they've had to in recent years.

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