The Minor-ity Report: Checking in on the Indians' Farm System

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With a good portion of the baseball season in the books, the Indians currently in first place. But what about the Tribe’s minor league system? Are the top names living up to their potential? What about the guys close to a call-up?

Welcome to The Minor-ity Report, a new Wahoo’s on First feature that will keep you up to date on the biggest names in the farm system.

From Photobucket, by Tony Lastoria

The top prospect in the system has been living up to his billing like it in his first full season of professional ball. He’s currently at Low-A Lake County and is one of the best players in the Midwest League despite being one of the youngest. Lindor has flashed every talent you could expect from a shortstop. Lindor’s bread-and-butter is his defense, and so far the hype about his glove seems justified: In 37 games Lindor has turned 27 double plays, and currently has an above-average range factor per game of 4.81.

Offensively too Lindor has been great, with a slashline of .302/.352/.456. Personally, I would like to see some more doubles from Lindor; only eight of his 51 hits have been two baggers along with three triples and four home runs. I don’t ever expect to see Lindor hit more than 15 homers in his prime, but I do expect him to have plenty of doubles from his gap hitting and above-average speed. Speaking of speed, Lindor has also been showing off his impressive wheels as well with 11 stolen bases in 15 attempts.

Put it all together, and it’s definitely a good professional start for the Tribe’s top prospect. I’m sure his power stroke will come with time, and one the Indians’ brass sees that it should earn him a promotion to High-A Kinston (probably later this year). That puts him on track to be at Double-A next year as only a 19-year-old. If Lindor continues this production, he could be a top-10 overall prospect by the time he’s ready to be called up.

For as great as Lindor has been, the Tribe’s other top shortstop prospect has struggled. He’s a level above Lindor at High-A Kinston and has really struggled at the plate with a .201/.284/.273 triple-slash. Wolters has 33 strikeouts in only 36 games and has been caught stealing more times (four) than he’s been safe (three).

It’s not all bad news for Wolters, as he has been turning it around as of late. His terrible April is mostly responsible for his slow start (he hit .130 the first of the season). May has been better to him, as he’s hitting .271 on the month. And in his last 10 games Wolters has hit five doubles, so he’s also starting to find a power stroke.

Defensively, Wolters has been splitting his time between second base and shortstop in Kinston. He’s been playing much better at the former position (4.95 RF/G) than the latter (3.93 RF/G), but it’s good for his development that he’s playing both positions since his future (at least in Cleveland) is as a utility player—and a very good one at that. Wolters the stereotypical baseball rat and he should be a very useful piece for the Indians once he starts to show some consistency.

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Tags: Chun-hsiu Chen Francisco Lindor Lonnie Chisenhall Matt LaPorta Tony Wolters

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