From Photobucket, by Tony Lastoria

Cleveland Indians 2012 Top Prospects No. 5: Tony Wolters

As the offseason nears its end, we’re profiling the top prospects in the Indians organization. Today, we continue our countdown with No. 5: Tony Wolters.

Another quality middle infield prospect for the Tribe, Wolters might be one of the most interesting ones. Francisco Lindor gets the hype and Ronny Rodriguez could be an offensive force, but Wolters has a surprisingly well-rounded game too.

Wolters was Cleveland’s third-round pick in the 2010 MLB draft out of high school. He doesn’t have any one outstanding tool,—unless you count his intelligence. Scouts rave about how Wolters is the prototypical “baseball rat.” That is essential to Wolters’ success, as he is just 5’10″ and 165 pounds.

Due to his size and attitude, Wolters has drawn many comparisons to Dustin Pedroia. Those comparisons are probably a bit of a stretch, as Wolters is unlikely to make the same offensive impact that Pedroia does, but that it’s not out of the question.

In 2011, Wolters slahed .292/.385/.363 for Low-A Mahoning Valley. He also stole 19 bases, but hit only one home run and extra-base hits. Obviously his power has a lot of developing to do. Pedroia, by contrast, slashed .257/.435/.535 in his first year in the minors. Wolters demonstrated a lot more speed last year by swiping 19 bags in 23 attempts while Pedroia stole just 11 bases in 20 attempts his entire two-year minor league career—not that there would be any shame in falling short of the bar Pedroia set.

While Wolters currently plays shortstop, second base is a more likely long-term spot for the teenager. His defense at short is only average, and obviously he will probably climb through the ranks with Lindor who is rated as a future Gold Glover at shortstop.

Wolters is yet another left-handed hitter, but he has no issues facing pitchers of either handedness. Of course, Wolters is still three or four years away from the majors, so he could be joining a completely different Tribe team then. Regardless, whenever he breaks into the bigs he will produce.

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