Several Prospects Have Sit Outside the Indians Top 10
It’s the time of year again where I pile on a mountain of extra work to bring you my rendition of the Cleveland Indians top prospects just to have you yell at me over Twitter. [Editor's Note: That's @BoverouxMedia for the record.]
This year, I’m cutting down my usual top 15 prospects to 10, but we begin, as usual, with the guys who just missed the cut.
Mitch Brown, RHP
Mitch Brown debuted on my list at number five last year, but a disappointing 2013 campaign bumps him out of the top 10. Seeing action in both Arizona and Lake County, Brown stumbled to a 6.78 ERA in 67 innings. He still struck out almost a batter an inning, but issued too many free passes as well.
We’re still discussing a 19-year-old coming from a cold weather state, so he has less instruction and innings than your typical California native, so Brown’s 2013 numbers shouldn’t become the norm.
A four pitch mix and mid-90’s heat shows that Brown still deserves attention, but he might not be as fast as a riser as initially suspected.
Jesus Aguilar, 1B/DH
A fan favorite to many, Jesus Aguilar can tend to be over-hyped like any prospect who’s best tool is power can be. I’ve been more bullish on Aguilar than many, but still like his chances of contributing to the Indians’ lineup.
I like Aguilar most in a role concurrent with Jason Giambi‘s, making a spot on the 2015 Opening Day roster likely. Aguilar provides plus power and the ability to play first base on occasion, though his lack of #veteranpresents will likely upset many.
In his prime, Aguilar could provide a few good years as an everyday player. He won’t be exceptional, but he can provide a solid batting average, OBP and 20+ home runs.
Dylan Baker, RHP
In recent drafts, the Indians have targeted a large number of power arms with a 50/50 shot of sticking in the rotation. My favorite of those is Dylan Baker. Mostly because he’s from freaking Alaska, but he’s good at baseball too.
The Indians have kept Baker as a starter with good box score results, but he hasn’t quelled many doubts that he’s an option in the rotation long-term.
Coming out of junior college, Baker was seen as having command issues that he controlled better in 2013, as evidenced by his 3.9 BB/9 in Lake County. But, that also came with a lessened K-rate, as it fell to 7.3. His electric fastball, curveball combo is capable of more.
The most likely factors in forcing Baker to the ‘pen are his high effort delivery and lack of a third pitch. Regardless, he becomes one of the better bullpen prospects in baseball if/when the Indians give up on the starter experiment.
Ronny Rodriguez, SS
Each year I evaluate Ronny Rodriguez I ask myself if he can properly harness his tools, and each year he hasn’t. A middle infielder with 20/20 potential will always intrigue scouts and fans alike, but a middle infielder that struggles to get a .300 OBP is usually written off (see: Gordon, Dee).
2013 was Rodriguez’s worst, as he struggled to find his power stroke, ending up with a .376 SLG in Akron. Rodriguez has always been one of the younger players at his respective level, but now the Indians will take it slower with him.
I have lost almost all faith in Rodriguez adjusting his approach, but think he still makes a nice trade chip for a team looking for a lottery ticket.