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Trade Deadline Activity
Additions: OF James Ramsey from Cardinals; IF Zach Walters from Nationals
The best way to describe Cleveland's farm system right now is quietly impressive. It's not a top-15 system at the moment, but the ceilings of players in lower levels could improve the franchise significantly over the next couple of years.
Francisco Lindor is an absolute wizard with the glove, and after the Tribe traded Asdrubal Cabrera on Thursday, it’s seemingly only a matter of time until the 20-year-old takes over as the team’s everyday shortstop.
Last year's top pick, Clint Frazier (No. 5 overall), has struggled to adjust to full-season ball with a 29.3 percent strikeout rate in 406 plate appearances. However, the 19-year-old, red-headed outfielder has shown improvement over the last two months, with a .281/.370/.481 batting line, seven home runs and a 45-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his past 35 games.
As for this year’s draft, the Indians added one of the top college bats in Bradley Zimmer (No. 21 overall), high-probability left-hander Justus Sheffield (No. 31), polished college hitter Mike Papi (No. 38) and a projectable right-hander in Grant Hockin (No. 61).
They also added one of the best power bats from the high school class in Bobby Bradley (third round), who is batting .369/.454/.631 with 16 extra-base hits (five home runs) and 31 RBI through his first 25 professional games in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
The Indians also have received breakout performances this season from several position prospects, including outfielder Tyler Naquin (.795 OPS in Double-A), high-ceiling catcher Francisco Mejia (.726 OPS in Short Season New York-Penn League) and 22-year-old shortstop Erik Gonzalez (.774 OPS, 18 SB between High- and Double-A).
The organization also did a good job getting hitters with realistic MLB futures at the trade deadline, as it received outfielder (and former first-round pick) James Ramsey from the Cardinals in the Justin Masterson deal, and infielder Zach Walters from the Nats in exchange for Cabrera.
Unfortunately, the Indians’ crop of pitching prospects isn’t nearly as impressive or projectable as their young hitters. Overall, the Tribe’s top arms are back-end types like Cody Anderson, or guys who lack the command/control profile to stick in a rotation (Mitch Brown, Dylan Baker, Dace Kime).