Cleveland Indians logoCleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians' Top 10 Prospects Rankings, Spring Forecasts

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterMarch 4, 2013

Cleveland Indians' Top 10 Prospects Rankings, Spring Forecasts

1 of 11

    Although their farm system ranks comfortably in the bottom third among all organizations, the Cleveland Indians do have high-upside prospects in Francisco Lindor and Dorssys Paulino. Beyond that, however, it lacks potential impact prospects and is littered with too many raw, high-risk players.

    The Indians’ lack of pitching prospects is especially dismal, just as it’s been for some time now. And although they added a potential ace in Trevor Bauer this offseason, there’s no telling how he’ll ultimately perform in the major leagues. For the record, I’m still a believer.

    After the three aforementioned players, there’s a substantial drop-off within the Indians' system, as a majority of their top prospects are still multiple years away from reaching the major leagues.

    Here’s a look at the Cleveland Indians’ top-10 prospects headed into spring training.

10. Jose Ramirez, 2B

2 of 11

    Position: 2B

    DOB: 9/17/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 5’9”, 165

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: Nov., 2009 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Turned in impressive full-season debut at Low-A Lake County in 2012, batting .354/.403/.462 with 54 runs scored, 15 stolen bases and 26/24 K/BB in 67 games; 5’9” doesn’t involve much projection; switch hitter with a simple swing and direct path to the ball; lots of hard contact; strong top hand and bat-to-ball ability.

    Potential for a legitimate plus hit tool; drives the ball despite undersized frame; can be overaggressive at the plate; projects for below-average power.

    Natural second baseman; arm is weakest tool, though sufficient for the position; smooth, clean actions; above-average speed lends to similar range; solid glove and hands; second-base-only prospect; value will always be tied to his hit tool.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Ramirez will head to minor league spring training, but could very well see some at-bats in big league camp as the month progresses.

     

    2013 Outlook

    He may be undersized and lack projection, but Ramirez will move up to High-A next season and could keep moving up the ladder if he continues to rake.

9. Cody Allen, RHP

3 of 11

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/20/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 220

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 23rd round, 2011 (St. Petersburg College)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Opened 2012 season at High-A Carolina, but finished in the major leagues; registered a 1.87 ERA, 11.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 43.1 minor league innings; 3.72 ERA in 29 big league frames.

    Fastball has some weight and sits in the low-to-mid-90s with ease; jumps out of his hand; throws a hard, plus curveball; misses plenty of bats and should also post a high K/9; refined command could make him a solid big league closer.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    With Chris Perez out for the next three to four weeks with a shoulder strain, Allen will likely compete for a spot in the Tribe’s bullpen and maybe even as the team’s closer.

     

    2013 Outlook

    Whether or not Allen opens the year in the major leagues, the right-hander will likely spend most of the 2013 season in bullpen and could serve as the team’s closer if it decides to trade Chris Perez.

8. Luigi Rodriguez, OF

4 of 11

    Position: OF

    DOB: 11/13/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 160

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Sept., 2009 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Incredibly raw, but has some intriguing tools; batted .268/.338/.406 in full-season debut at Low-A Lake County; hit tool leaves plenty of room for improvement; bat can drag through the zone at times.

    Too much swing-and-miss with current approach; can struggle against quality velocity; physically strong for his size for some pop, but doesn’t project for more than average power.

    Rodriguez is an excellent defensive center fielder highlighted; easy plus speed gives him similar range; should be able to remain in center field; reads and routes were vastly improved this past season; arm is decent and a clean fit in center.

    It may take some time for his bat to catch up to his defense, but when it does, he could be a solid, up-the-middle talent in the major leagues. 

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Rodriguez is still plenty raw and in need of refining his offensive skill set, so expect him to get in additional work this spring in minor league camp.

     

    2013 Outlook

    After spending the entire 2012 season at Low-A, the 20-year-old is ready to make the jump to High-A in 2013.

7. Danny Salazar, RHP

5 of 11

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/11/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2006, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Logged only 14 innings before needing Tommy John surgery in early 2011; made a strong return in 2012 and reached Double-A for the first time; registered a 2.36 ERA with 76/27 K/BB in 87.2 innings over two levels.

    The 22-year-old is undersized at 6’0", 190 pounds, but showcases a power arm; repeats delivery with consistency; still undecided whether he profiles more as a starter or reliever.

    Lightning-quick arm generates a plus fastball in the mid-to-high-90s with late life; slider projects to be a second plus pitch with sharp break; changeup is fringy and underdeveloped; more of a show-me offering at the moment; command has been better than expected.

    Will continue to be developed as a starter, but electric fastball-slider combo could make him a dynamic big league reliever.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    After a strong showing at Double-A last season, Salazar will use the spring to prove to the organization that he’s ready for a debut in the major leagues at some point this season.

     

    2013 Outlook

    Salazar may return to Double-A to open the 2013 season. However, with an impressive spring, the right-hander could head to Triple-A instead. Either way, he’s likely to reach the major leagues this season.

6. Tyler Naquin, OF

6 of 11

    Position: OF

    DOB: 4/24/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 175

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Texas A&M)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Projectable frame at 6’2”, 175 pounds; enjoyed mediocre professional debut at Short-Season Mahoning Valley, batting .270/.379/.380 in 36 games; left-handed bat is mature, though not necessarily projectable; lacks the power for a corner outfield position.

    Hit tool could be average, but I’m skeptical that he can really swing wood; works counts in his favor; consistently barrels fastballs, but poor pitch recognition regarding breaking balls; primarily upper body swing; loose, active hands allows him to lace line drives across entire field; bat is mostly attractive as a center fielder.

    Natural outfielder capable of playing all three positions; arm is loudest tool and a legitimate cannon; baits runners to test him; prospect stock is tied to his ability to remain in center; tweener profile otherwise; if bat never develops, Naquin could still be a viable fourth outfielder.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Naquin’s first spring training will be spent in minor league camp, where he’ll work to refine his overall game before a likely full-season debut.

     

    2013 Outlook

    Naquin will open the year in Low-A with a chance to move quickly if he showcases a more consistent bat and slightly improved power.

5. Mitch Brown, RHP

7 of 11

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 4/13/1994 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2012 (Century HS, Minn.)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Cold-weather pitcher who proved to be surprisingly advanced in professional debut; 6’1”, 175 pounds, which will allow him to add strength, though he’s not overly projectable; pure arm strength; efficient delivery with clean, repeatable mechanics; stuff is advanced for his age and lack of experience; needs to consistently pound lower half of strike zone to be effective at higher levels.

    Fastball sits in the low-90s on downward angle; can reach back for a few more ticks when necessary; curveball has plus potential, but can be too slurvy; doesn’t always repeat release point; cutter is presently average with potential to add a grade.

    Have to love the 18-year-old’s pitchability; shows mound presence and always has a plan; huge gap between present and future; upside of a mid-rotation starter.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Brown will participate in minor league spring training, where he’ll work to improve his secondary arsenal and command.

     

    2013 Outlook

    Brown is a candidate to open the 2013 season in extended spring training before heading to Low-A for his full-season debut.

4. Ronny Rodriguez, SS-2B

8 of 11

    Position: SS-2B

    DOB: 4/17/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 170

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Oct., 2010 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Spent entire age-20 season at High-A Carolina, where he batted .264/.300/.452 with 19 home runs and 88 strikeouts in 126 games; benefited from hitter-friendly California League; excellent athlete with a host of impressive, but raw tools; aggressive swings result in consistent, hard contact; strong, quick hands yield plus bat speed; above-average power potential.

    Eliminating some of the swing-and-miss in his game should improve utility of hit and power tool; struggles to recognize breaking balls from right-handers.

    Athleticism is obvious at both middle infield positions; strongest defensive attribute is plus arm; more than enough for left side of infield; rushes footwork at the position, which results in too many throwing errors; actions seem forced at times; may end up at second base despite arm strength. 

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Rodriguez will participate in big league camp as he presumably auditions for a potential spot on the Tribe’s infield in 2014 or 2015.

     

    2013 Outlook

    The 20-year-old will make the jump to Double-A this season, where he’ll likely continue to show above-average power, but may see his plate discipline challenged once again.

3. Dorssys Paulino, SS

9 of 11

    Position: SS

    DOB: 11/21/1994 (Age: 18)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 175

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: July, 2011 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Paulino was highly impressive in professional debut, posting a 1.015 OPS with 26 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases as a 17-year-old in the rookie-level Arizona League; plate discipline was challenged following a promotion to New York-Penn League; 6’0", 170-pounder has room to add more strength.

    Wrists and forearms are loaded with quick-twitch muscles; plus bat speed; hit and power utility already present; feel for the strike zone and hard contact; plus runner; more likely to possess plus hit than power in the major leagues.

    Likely to stick at second base at the major league level; may see time at third base, but definitely not a shortstop; solid glove with improving defensive actions; average arm strength with a quick transfer and release; excelled in professional debut, but still plenty of uncertainty tied to his ongoing development.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Paulino will head to minor league spring training as he prepares to make his full-season debut in 2013.

     

    2013 Outlook

    Paulino’s bat is advanced enough to open the year at a full-season level as an 18-year-old. With a strong follow-up performance, he could possibly finish the year at High-A.

2. Trevor Bauer, RHP

10 of 11

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/17/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (UCLA)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    The third overall selection in the 2011 draft, Bauer opened the 2012 season at Double-A Mobile and posted a 1.68 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. He was promptly promoted to Triple-A Reno in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, where he registered a 2.82 ERA over eight starts.

    Bauer was called up to the majors in late June and registered a 6.06 ERA with 13 walks in 16.1 innings. Command issues and general tentativeness, as well his unwillingness to make changes requested by the Diamondbacks, resulted in a trade to Indians this offseason.

    6’1”, 185-pound right-hander who’s limber and athletic; employs an unorthodox, torque-oriented delivery; well-documented training regimen including pole-to-pole long toss before starts; cerebral hurler who utilizes physics to optimize delivery; head pulls off to glove side and prevents consistent release point; explosive, quick arm; everything is masked with deception.

    Fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s with some late arm-side action; flattens out when left up in the zone; curveball is an absolute hammer and a second plus pitch; delivery makes it especially deceptive and difficult to recognize out of his hand; loaded arsenal also features a tumbling splitter, slider and above-average changeup.

    Struggled in majors as he tried to nibble at the strike zone; didn’t trust his pure stuff; tried to fool hitters with deep arsenal; more concerned about executing perfect pitches; concerns about his makeup and coachability, shaky relationship with organization contributed to disappointing showing.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Bauer will enter the spring with a legitimate chance to break camp in the Tribe’s starting rotation, though he’ll have to show that last year’s command issues are behind him.

     

    2013 Outlook

    The right-hander has a legitimate chance to make the team’s Opening Day rotation, though the Indians may decide to send him to Triple-A to open the season. Either way, Bauer will likely spend a majority of the 2013 season in the major leagues.

1. Francisco Lindor, SS

11 of 11

    Position: SS

    DOB: 11/14/1993 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 175

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Montverde HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes

    Lindor received an aggressive promotion to Low-A for his full-season debut last season, where the switch hitter batted .257/.352/.355 with 24 doubles, 27 stolen bases and 78/61 K/BB in 122 games. His stats took a dive over the second half of the season, though, as he was noticeably worn down and running on fumes.

    Works deep counts and demonstrates feel for strike zone; advanced pitch recognition and approach; will collect plenty of extra-base hits, below-average power; potential for above-average hit tool from both sides; present bat control; above-average speed; advanced and instinctual base-stealer; mature secondary skills.

    Wizard in the field; potential to be elite defensive shortstop in the major leagues; does things at the position that no teenager should be able to do; plus glove; soft hands; above-average range; always gains momentum toward target; accurate, above-average arm; defense could play in the major leagues right now; could have a long career in majors even if bat doesn’t pan out; outstanding make-up and instincts.

     

    Spring Training Forecast

    Lindor will participate in big league camp, where he’ll have the opportunity to take a step closer to the major leagues with a strong showing.

     

    2013 Outlook

    The best defensive shortstop in the minor leagues will open the year at High-A, where his bat could emerge in a big way.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices