2012 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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1. Francisco Lindor, ss
2. Dillon Howard, rhp
3. Nick Hagadone, lhp
4. Chen Lee, rhp
5. Luigi Rodriguez, of
6. Zach McAllister, rhp
7. Tony Wolters, ss
8. Austin Adams, rhp
9. Scott Barnes, lhp
10. Zach Putnam, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Francisco Lindor
Best Power Hitter Jesus Aguilar
Best Strike Zone Discipline Jordan Henry
Fastest Baserunner Luigi Rodriguez
Best Athlete LeVon Washington
Best Fastball Austin Adams
Best Curveball Trey Haley
Best Slider Chen Lee
Best Changeup Matt Packer
Best Control Mike Rayl
Best Defensive Catcher Roberto Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Francisco Lindor
Best Infield Arm Ronny Rodriguez
Best Defensive OF Tyler Holt
Best Outfield Arm Carlos Moncrief
Catcher Carlos Santana
First Base Matt LaPorta
Second Base Asdrubal Cabrera
Third Base Lonnie Chisenhall
Shortstop Francisco Lindor
Left Field Michael Brantley
Center Field Grady Sizemore
Right Field Shin-Soo Choo
Designated Hitter Jason Kipnis
No. 1 Starter Ubaldo Jimenez
No. 2 Starter Justin Masterson
No. 3 Starter Carlos Carrasco
No. 4 Starter Dillon Howard
No. 5 Starter Josh Tomlin
Closer Chris Perez
Year Player, Pos 2011 Org
2002 Corey Smith, 3b White Sox
2003 Brandon Phillips, ss/2b Reds
2004 Grady Sizemore, of Indians
2005 Adam Miller, rhp Yankees
2006 Adam Miller, rhp Yankees
2007 Adam Miller, rhp Yankees
2008 Adam Miller, rhp Yankees
2009 Carlos Santana, c Indians
2010 Carlos Santana, c Indians
2011 Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b Indians
Year Player, Pos 2011 Org
2002 Jeremy Guthrie, RHP Orioles
2003 Michael Aubrey, 1B Nationals
2004 Jeremy Sowers, LHP Indians
2005 Trevor Crowe, OF Indians
2006 David Huff, LHP Indians
2007 Beau Mills, 1B/3B Indians
2008 Lonnie Chisenhall, SS Indians
2009 Alex White, RHP Rockies
2010 Drew Pomeranz, LHP Rockies
2011 Francisco Lindor, SS Indians
Danys Baez, 1999 $4,500,000
Jeremy Guthrie, 2002 $3,000,000
Francisco Lindor, 2001 $2,900,000
Drew Pomeranz, 2010 $2,650,000
Jeremy Sowers, 2004 $2,475,000
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Cleveland Indians

No matter which side of the ace-pitcher trade market the Indians have been on in the last four years, they haven't come out on top.

In July 2008, Cleveland had a sliding major league club, veterans on the verge of free agency and a farm system in decline. It also had two of baseball's best pitchers in CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, and would trade both of them within a year to rebuild with young talent. So far, the returns have disappointed.

At the 2008 trade deadline, the Indians dealt Sabathia for Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley and minor league arms Rob Bryson and Zack Jackson. Neither LaPorta nor Brantley has made much of a difference, and Bryson and Jackson made none.

One year later, Cleveland shipped Lee to the Phillies in another deal that has yielded little impact talent. Carlos Carrasco flashed mid-rotation potential, but he had Tommy John surgery in September and will miss the entire 2012 season. Jason Donald and Lou Marson fit best as backups, while minor league righthander Jason Knapp has had two shoulder surgeries.

Last season, the Indians raced off to the best record in the American League at 30-15 but had fallen to 52-51 when they reversed roles at the deadline. They added Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies at the cost of their 2009 and 2010 first-rounders, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, as well as a pair of prospects, righthander Joe Gardner and first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride. Cleveland limped to an 80-82 finish as Jimenez went 4-4, 5.10 in 11 starts.

The Indians have made some successful trades in recent years. Acquiring Carlos Santana from the Dodgers for Casey Blake in 2008 was a steal. Chris Perez was part of a package from the Cardinals for Mark DeRosa in 2009. Justin Masterson, Cleveland's top starting pitcher, and lefty bullpen option Nick Hagadone arrived from the Red Sox in a 2009 trade for Victor Martinez.

Which side of the trade market will Cleveland find itself on in 2012? The offense has an intriguing nucleus with Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera headed into their primes, Shin-Soo Choo poised for a bounceback year and homegrown hitters Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis ready for their first full big legue seasons. The rotation, on the other hands, is full of question marks, including Jimenez.

If things don't click for the Indians, they'll likely have to turn back to trade market. The trades of White and Pomeranz and graduations of Chisenhall and Kipnis have left the system thin of talent. Cleveland's strength in the minors is its depth of relief pitching, but Hagadone, Chen Lee, Zach Putnam and Co. aren't going to provide the foundation for a contender.

The Indians' best prospects are years away from contributing. They paid $4.75 million for their first two picks in the 2011 draft, shortstop Francisco Lindor and righthander Dillon Howard, but they're high schoolers with a combined five games of pro experiences. Similarly, Dominican outfielder Luigi Rodriguez and shortstop Tony Wolters have played just 34 games in full-season leagues.

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