Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released his top-20 prospect list for the Cleveland Indians, which is fantastic for those of you who are looking forward to a few years down the road, like most Indians fans should be at this point.
The list is very intriguing for a few reasons.
The number of prospects who are 19 or younger is very interesting:
Francisco Lindor (18, No. 1), Dorsyss Paulino (17, No. 2), Mitch Brown (18, No. 8), Luigi Rodriguez (18, No. 12), Jorge Martinez (18, No. 13), Kieran Lovegrove (18, No. 16), D'vone McClure (18, No. 17), Jose Ramirez (18, No. 18) and Felix Sterling (19, No. 20) all fit into this category.
The number of prospects who are pitchers:
Scott Barnes (No. 4), Dillon Howard (No. 7), Brown (No. 8), Jake Sisco (No. 15), Lovegrove (No. 16), Corey Kluber (No. 19) and Sterling (No. 20) are the pitchers on the list.
The number of middle infield prospects on the list:
Lindor (No. 1), Paulino (No. 2), Tony Wolters (No. 3), Ronny Rodriguez (No. 5), Martinez (No. 13) and Ramirez (No. 18) fit the bill.
The issues that arise from these three intriguing points:
If nine of the 20 top prospects are 19 or younger, that means that 45 percent of the Cleveland Indians' top prospects are three to four years away from arriving to the majors.
If seven of the 20 top prospects are pitchers and two of the names are Scott Barnes and Corey Kluber (who have had some success at upper levels of the minors yet have been hit hard in the majors), it means that the Indians' immediate pitching depth seems very weak.
Kluber could be a back-end of the rotation option in 2013, and Barnes was dominant in Triple-A as a starter before joining the Tribe as a relief pitcher, but the remaining five starters on the list were mostly in short-season ball, years away.
If six of the top 20 prospects are middle infield prospects, where are they all going to play?
With Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis currently on the Indians roster (as two of their top players), the Indians can seem to take their time on pushing this group; however, what happens if they all continue to hit well but can't produce as corner outfielders or a third basemen (where Lonnie Chisenhall should be long-term, anyway)?
Do they trade a couple of these players to upgrade elsewhere, such as by dealing for more starting pitching prospects?
The Indians look like they have a talented middle-of-the-order talent in Jesus Aguilar (No. 11) and having a number of solid, offensive-minded middle infielders is a great thing. The top 20 Cleveland Indians prospects will probably rank in the lower third of the league, though. There isn't really any top-tier talent at the top of the list who will provide any immediate help.
Given the Indians' hellacious 2012 season and extreme free fall from first place since late June, there isn't much reason for excitement from this list. While Lindor ranks 14th overall on Mayo's top 100 list, he was playing in Low-A in 2012.
If he is in High-A in 2013, Double-A in 2014 and Triple-A in 2015, you'd have to think that he won't really be making an impact in the Tribe lineup until mid-2015 or the 2016 season. That is a long wait for the only, true elite talent on the top 20 list.
So, how do you feel about this list and the future of the Indians?