Tribe's Farm System: Fertile Soil or Landfill?

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 Tribe's Farm System: Fertile Soil or Landfill?
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Let's take a closer look at the Cleveland Indians' farm system and their recent drafts.

The so called experts claim we have one of the better collections of minor league talent. This is based on records of minor league teams and how the prospects are ranked.

The axiom is "build through the draft and add free agents as needed to strengthen the club."

Before we get started, let us take a peek at the current 25-man roster.

Homegrown Cleveland drafted players are marked with an * and undrafted free agents with a #. Note: Latin Players are not covered by the MLB draft and are all free agents who can sign with any club.

C Victor Martinez#, 1B Ryan Garko*, SS Jhonny Peralta#, OF Ben Francisco*,  P's Fausto Carmona#, Jensen Lewis,* Rafael Perez#, Jeremy Sowers*, Scott Lewis*.

The other 16 players on the 25 man roster were acquired via trade or free agency.

How well have we drafted? Let's review the drafts since 2000.

 

2000

48 selections of which 6 have played in the majors. 12% success rate.

Round 1 Pick 37  Derek Thompson  LHP  He was a supplemental pick from Philly for their signing of Mike Jackson. Played 4 games for LA Dodgers.

Round 2 Pick 55  Brian Tallett He was drafted with the Phills pick they forfeited by signing Jackson. His stats entering 2009: 9-9, 162 games played. Currently he's a Blue Jay.

Round 8 Pick 246  Joe Inglett 5 homers 62 RBI in 550 at bats in three years. Cut by the Jays at the end of 2008.

Round 14 pick 426 Ryan Church Currently an OF for the Mets. Best year 15 HR, 72 RBI .272 BA in 2007.

Round 30 pick 906 Brian Wilson RHP Did not sign and was drafted by Giants in 2003. He was an All-Star in 2008 with 41 saves. OOOPS! What would we have done with him instead of Borowski?

Round 41 pick 1234 Eric Crozier He had a b.a .of .152 in 33 at bats with 2 homers and 4 rbis in his one season with the Jays.

 

2001

53 picks including, first-round picks. One player has played in the Majors (1 percent).

9th round 277 overall - Luke Scott - Currently a starting OF-DH with the Orioles. Best year 2008: 23 homers, 65 RBI and a BA of .257.

Of interest, the Indians passed three times on 3B David Wright. He was picked 38th in round 1 by the Mets. OOOPS!

 

2002

54 picks (3 first rounders) three played in Majors (5 percent)

Round 1 pick 22 Jeremy Guthrie cut by the Tribe, currently starting for the Orioles.

Round 2 pick 63 Brian Slocum pitched in 10 games for the Tribe in 2007 and 2008 with no record. 

Round 5 pick 154 Ben Francisco -  Currently a starter in the OF for the Tribe. 2008: 15 homers, 54 RBI and a BA of .266.

 

2003

52 picks (3 first rounders) 4 played in Majors (7 percent)

Round 1 pick 11 Mike Aubrey 1B has had a cup of coffee in the majors and is currently at AAA Columbus.

Round 3 pick 78 Ryan Garko, the Tribe's starting 1B.

Round 6 pick 168 Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B The Padres starting 3B, traded for Josh Barfield. Best year 2008: 24 homers, 84 RBI, BA of .260. So far, this was a bad trade for the Tribe.

Round 16 pick 468 Aaron Laffey last seen as part of the Tribe's Arson Squad bullpen.

 

2004

50 picks, 1 in Majors (2 percent)

First round pick 6th overall - Jeremy Sowers LHP, a part time starter for the Tribe.

 

2005

52 picks 1 in Majors (1 percent)

Round 3 pick 102 Jensen Lewis RHP - Current member of the Arson Squad Tribe bullpen.

Of note pick 1261 of the 42nd round did not sign with the Tribe. His name? Tim  Lincecum Cy Young winner 2008 OOOPS!

 

2006-2007-2008

No players in majors Too early to make a call.

 

Overall, 15 players made the majors and six are currently with the Tribe. Five of the six are in the Majors.

My take: The Indians have done a horrible job drafting players but a good job in collecting other team's draftees: Lee, Sizemore, Cabrera, Choo, etc. Their record in Latin America is much better.

Some late round picks in the draft are high school players who have committed to college over the Majors and teams take a gamble they can sign them. Lincecum was an example of this.

As a Tribe fan let's hope that the 06-07-08 drafts pan out and make up for the horrible job we've done so far in the 2000's.

Please feel free to comment and in closing: Let's Go Tribe!

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