The Cleveland Indians are trying to continue their resurgence in the AL Central by keeping some players coming from their farm system. There are a few potential impact guys in the high minors as well as those who are further down in the system. The club tends to be very aggressive when promoting players which, to be honest, I’m not sure if I think it helps or hinders development. It’s definitely one of the things that we’ll be tracking here at Grading on the Curve over the 2014 season.
We’d like to thank Geordy Boveroux from our FanSided sister site Wahoo’s on First for his help with the list and his comments. You can find him on twitter at @BoverouxMedia
Triple-A: Columbus Clippers (International League)
Double-A: Akron RubberDucks (Eastern League)
High-A: Carolina Mudcats (Carolina League)
Class-A: Lake County Captains (Midwest League)
Short-Season A: Mahoning Valley Scrappers (New York-Penn League)
Complex-Rookie: AZL Indians (Arizona League)
LeVon Washington – OF
Date of Birth: July 26, 1991
Height/Weight: 5’11″/170 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2010 draft
|2013||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-Rk||CLE||61||271||230||42||80||20||6||5||32||16||4||37||54||.348||.444||.552||.997|
Analysis: Washington has had a hard time getting on track in his professional career, dealing with injuries every year. He took a little bit of a step forward while stepping back in 2013, playing in only 51 games. While he reached High-A Carolina in 2012, the Indians held him back in 2013, keeping the 22 year old in Class-A Lake County. His numbers speak to a player who made some big strides in terms of his ability to make contact and get on base and despite a fairly high 54 strikeouts, Washington walked 37 times and had an outstanding .425 OBP and showed excellent extra-base pop. Geordy writes: “Seriously, #WASHTIME will happen. I swear. Just needs to stay healthy, but has always had on-base and speed combo to be a terror at the top of a lineup.”
2014 Prognosis: If he can stay healthy, Washington will terrorize pitchers in the Carolina League.
Sean Brady – LHP
Date of Birth: June 9, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’0″/175 lbs
Acquired: 5th round of the 2013 draft
Analysis: While he doesn’t stand out in terms of raw stuff, this 5th rounder is making some big strides due to his advanced makeup and control. Despite a fastball that sits in the high-80s/low-90s, Brady has very advanced breaking stuff with a good curve and change. The biggest stat to look at in his 2013 line is his 30:6 K/BB ratio. Geordy says: “Slightly undersized at only 6’0”, but looked stellar in a 32 inning sample size of rookie ball after being drafted.”
2014 Prognosis: Look for this lefty to move quicker than some of the other 2013 high school pitchers, particularly compared to those who were taken this (relatively) low in the draft. Depending on how he does in Spring Training, Brady could see Class-A ball fairly early in the season.
Jesus Aguilar – 1B
Date of Birth: June 30, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’3″/250 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of Venezuela in 2007
Analysis: While not as great of an athlete as many scouts want to see climbing through an organization, Aguilar can flat out hit. He’s a big-bodied first baseman who can drive the ball and, while the home run numbers aren’t flashy, he is putting up significantly above-average numbers and has done it in Double-A, where many power hitters get separated out. Importantly, Aguilar saw a big drop in his strikeout totals which could indicate some necessary development. Unfortunately, the axiom is fairly true: there’s no such thing as a first-base prospect. Unless the plus-raw-power ticks up in game situations, Aguilar might not hit enough at first base to make it in The Show. Geordy says: “Nice power, but nothing impressive for a 1B/DH guy. May not be an everyday player, but can be a great pinch hitter.”
2014 Prognosis: With a strong season at Double-A Akron under his belt, I would wager that a trip to Columbus might be in order for Aguilar.
Tony Wolters – C/IF
Date of Birth: June 9, 1992
Height/Weight: 5’10″/177 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2010 draft
Analysis: There’s upside and downside to Tony Wolters’s 2013 positional shift. The upside is that the reviews on his adjustment to catching have been pretty good. The downside is that the extra attention that he has probably been paying to his defense has resulted in a step back with the bat. While his OBP was very good and his strikeout numbers were way down, his power was completely sapped by this (apparently) more contact-conscious approach. Geordy says: “Took the position switch to catcher not only in stride, but kept on sprinting with it. On top of that, he almost doubled his walk rate from his poor 2012 performance while cutting down on strikeouts.”
2014 Prognosis: Wolters could move up to Double-A after a solid season behind the plate in High-A Carolina. That said, he’s only 21 and there’s no hurry to rush him up through the minors, especially if the Indians want him to really focus on his new position.
Dace Kime – RHP
Date of Birth: March 6, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’4″/200 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round of the 2013 draft
Analysis: Kime was drafted out of college and made his debut with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in Short-Season A ball. He’s got a decent velocity, sitting in the low-90s but the Indians really like his supplemental repertoire that includes a curve, a change and a cutter. Geordy says: “Looked great in the New York Penn League like any college arm should. Walked a few too many guys in the small sample size, but control isn’t much of a concern moving forward.” I agree with Geordy here. He doesn’t have any of the “lack of control” red flags in his stat line: hit batters and wild pitches to go along with walks. It’s very likely that the walks come from Kime not being entirely sure where the movement is going to take the ball.
2014 Prognosis: Kime is going to get a chance to pitch in full-season ball as a 22 year old in 2014. His Spring Training results will determine which level he begins at.