The Cleveland Indians have three prospects committed to participate in the Arizona Fall League. Current rosters are still preliminary, so it’s possible things could get shaken up a bit before play opens Oct. 8.
The Indians team up with prospects from the Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox to form the Surprise Saguaros. The Indians haven’t selected any pitchers to head to the AFL yet, but they have four spots on the staff they can fill if they’re interested. Here’s a snapshot of the players slated to head to the desert this fall.
Tyler Naquin – The 15th overall pick in 2012, Naquin had a rough go of it in his first taste of Double-A. The Texas A&M product hit .225/.271/.300 in 18 games for Akron. The 22-year-old was much more comfortable prior to his promotion, hitting .277/.345/.424 with nine home runs and 14 stolen bases in High-A. A center fielder with a big arm, Naquin will hope to start living up to the expectations of a top pick in the AFL.
Tony Wolters – When a catcher is involved in a position change, they’re typically on their way out from behind the plate. Wolters did just the opposite. After spending his first three professional seasons in the infield, Wolters switched to catching this year. The AFL will give the 21-year-old some extra reps behind the dish. He hit .277/.369/.353 over 80 games for High-A Carolina this season. The Indians are stacked in the middle infield, and Wolters did catch some in high school.
Joe Wendle – Made a splash at High-A Carolina this season after a solid professional debut. The 23-year-old hit .295/.372/.513 with 16 home runs in 2013. In 107 games, the second baseman struck out 79 times. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 Draft, Wendle hit .327 with an .844 OPS in his professional debut last year.
Wendle is a sleeper amongst Cleveland’s middle infield prospects, but he’s won over at least one big fan, Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor. Here’s what Lindor told reporter Guy Cipriano of the back in July:
“Man, that guy is awesome. I have nothing bad to say about him. He’s a great person. It’s unbelievably fun to watch him play and the way he goes about his business and takes care of his body and takes care of teammates. I can see him being in the bigs. The Cleveland fans should be exciting about him.”