Dave Gershman still sees Nick Weglarz as one of the Indians' top prospects despite his injuries and setbacks. (Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE)

Dave Gershman Ranks Top 12 Indians Prospects for 2012

Dave Gershman, my esteemed colleague over at Beyond the Box Score, has been working on top prospect lists for each MLB team. Last week, he unveiled his picks for the most promising youngsters in the Cleveland Indians organization.

Rather than offer a straight numerical ranking of each team’s prospects, Gershman identified his top 12 picks from each organization, then split them up into four categories based on how he projects their careers to pan out.

Players in the first tier are those who Gershman sees as “Major League Star(s)” or “Number One Starter(s).” Only one Indians prospect made this group, and his identity shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: it’s Francisco Lindor. This is consistent with how other prospect raters have seen the 18-year-old shortstop in relation to the rest of the team; Lindor was the only Tribe prospect to earn better than a ‘B-‘ grade from John Sickels or to place on Jonathan Mayo’s Top 100 list.

Three Indians prospects appear in Gershman’s second tier, designated as above-average position players or No. 2 starters: infielder Tony Wolters, outfielder Luigi Rodriguez, and right-handed pitcher Dillon Howard.

Finally, three more Tribe players appear in the third tier, for prospects who project as roughly league-average players: right-hander Felix Sterling, catcher Jake Lowery, and infielder Ronny Rodriguez. And five prospects—southpaws Nick Hagadone and Elvis Araujo, right-hander Jake Sisco, catcher Chun-Hsiu Chen, and outfielder Nick Weglarz—place in the fourth tier, for below-average position players, back-end starters, or relief pitchers.

Gershman’s picks are interesting compared to some others we’ve seen. He’s more bullish on Luigi Rodriguezthan his peers—Kevin Goldstein put him as far down as eighth. Gershman also likes Sterling and Lowery more than other raters do. The most interesting name is Nick Weglarz, who didn’t appear at all on Goldstein’s, Sickels‘, or Baseball America‘s lists.

There aren’t any huge omissions on Gershman’s list; all of the consensus top prospects (to the extent that this system has consensus top prospects) are represented. However, he seems relatively pessimistic about Hagadone and Sisco, and the absences of Scott Barnes, Cord Phelps, and Chen Lee are interesting.

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Tags: Francisco Lindor Nick Weglarz

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