In our last of our series previewing which prospects you might be able to see in Triple-A International League action this season, we take a look at the International League West division, home to several highly thought of prospects.
Parent Club: Cleveland Indians
It’s looking like the most prospect-rich club in the high minors for the Indians will be their Double-A affiliate in Akron but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some interesting players in Columbus.
The biggest name for Clippers’ fans will be the return of 23-year-old righty Trevor Bauer. Though no longer considered the phenom he was coming out of college as the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bauer still brings some legitimate big-league stuff to the table. He is still trying to find his control as he walked 73 batters in 121 1/3 innings at this level in 2013. If spring training is any indication, Bauer has yet to overcome this challenge, walking five batters in seven innings.
Chen Lee (also known as C.C. Lee) is also expected to be in Columbus but is more likely to be coming out of the bullpen. He’s a 27-year-old, two-pitch, sinker/slider pitcher who posted some excellent numbers in the minors before getting a shot in 4 1/3 big league innings in 2013.
There are a few players with some prospect shine on them heading to Columbus in 2014. Second baseman Jose Ramirez is probably the best of the bunch, being able to play three infield positions but spending most of his time at second base. He won’t strike out much but should make an attempt to walk more and take advantage of his excellent speed that enabled him to steal 38 bases in Double-A Akron last year. While he doesn’t have much power, his defense, speed and contact ability should allow him to reach the majors again in 2014.
Right fielder Carlos Moncrief is looking to follow up a very strong Double-A season in 2013. He’s already 25 and really needs to continue his forward momentum. Last year, his .824 OPS was excellent and showed very good strikeout and walk rates while stealing 15 bases and hitting 17 home runs.
23-year-old Jesus Aguilar is a slugging Venezuelan who probably needs to translate his 16 home runs and 28 doubles from Double-A a year ago into more dingers in Triple-A. Aguilar had a very good OBP of .349 (despite striking out 107 times) and he’s going to need to show that he can hit higher level pitching with more thump before scouts will be convinced that he can make it as a major league first baseman.
Wait long enough and you might see top prospect Francisco Lindor in Triple-A Columbus. While he’s slated to start in Double-A, he had a terrific time in big-league spring training, hitting .316/.350/.579 with two doubles and a home run. He could definitely make it to Columbus quickly if he proves to be beyond Double-A pitching.