Cleveland Indians 2014 Top 20 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
Twitter: @Jaypers413

Every year around this time I like to rank each team’s top overall prospects. My criteria are based on A: Past Performance and B: Future Potential (50% of each per prospect)

Disclaimer: I am not a professional scout, nor did I attend any minor league games this year. These lists are the product of my own research of online scouting reports and statistics, and are compiled purely for entertainment purposes.

Send your questions or feedback to me on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify for these lists, a prospect must have no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.


1. Francisco Lindor SS

2. Clint Frazier OF

3. Trevor Bauer P

4. Tyler Naquin OF

5. Dorssys Paulino SS

6. Cody Anderson RHP

7. Jose Ramirez 2B

8. Francisco Mejia C

9. Luis Lugo LHP

10. Sean Brady LHP

11. Jesus Aguilar 1B

12. Ronny Rodriguez SS

13. Mitch Brown RHP

14. Enosil Tejada RHP

15. Tony Wolters C

16. Adam Plutko RHP

17. Dylan Baker RHP

18. Kyle Crockett LHP

19. Anthony Santander OF

20. Joe Wendle 2B

Interview with Cleveland Indians 1st Round Pick Tyler Naquin

By Andrew Martin

Tyler Naquin grew up literally surrounded by baseball. When he was just getting interested in the game his father converted two acres of pasture at their Spring, Texas home into a baseball diamond. It proved to be a fortuitous decision, as Naquin has developed into one of the best young prospects in baseball.

Naquin is a left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing outfielder out of Texas A&M University, who was taken this year by the Cleveland Indians with the 15th overall pick in the first round of this year’s MLB Draft. He is considered an on-base machine and a plus defender, with a cannon for an arm. He hit .348 during his career as an Aggie and was tabbed by Baseball America the best hitter and having the best outfield arm of any player in this year’s draft. While he is not considered a power hitter, many believe he can eventually develop into a 15-20 home run lead-off guy down the road.

Assigned to short season Mahonging Valley in the New York-Penn League, Naquin is already off to an impressive start to his professional career. I was recently able to catch up with this exciting prospect prior a game and got him to open up about his background and baseball.

Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
To be honest I just watched mainly the Astros. I really liked watching Craig Biggio and I also liked Ken Griffey, Jr. when he was with the Mariners. I had a jersey of Griffey, so probably him.

Is there a particular player you model your game after?
A lot of Ichiro, just from the throwing standpoint. A lot of Jacoby Ellsbury. Mainly those two guys.

How did you end up at Texas A&M?
I was recruited by Texas, Baylor, Arkansas, and schools like that. A&M was the closest one to my house and I hadn’t had any recruitment letters or anything from them, and my coach sent them an email and said, “Hey, Naquin hasn’t signed with anybody,” and they said “Alright, come on and visit,” and that’s how it ended up.

What was your draft experience like?
It was an emotional roller coaster to be honest. I was projected 20th to the 30th pick, and getting picked 15th, you just kind of… I didn’t really know what to say at that moment.

How far in advance of the pick did the Indians contact you to let you know you were being considered?
I had no clue.

How difficult is it to transition from metal to wooden bats?
It’s fine. It takes two or three weeks to really hone in and get back in the groove of things after not playing. With a wooden bat, you just find a model you like and start swinging.

What is one piece of advice you have received since starting your pro career that has helped the most?
Don’t be a numbers guy. I’ve never been a numbers guy and numbers will take care of themselves. Just go out there and stay healthy and let your ability take over. You’re here for a reason; to just play hard every day.

What was your experience like in Cleveland after they drafted you?
They flew me, my mom, and my dad up. My brother wasn’t able to go. They flew us three up and put us in a suite. We signed a contract and went to a game. I was on the radio, television, and types of great stuff. They took real good care of us. I did my physical up there in the big league complex and met a lot of guys like Johnny Damon, a bunch of guys like that, so it was awesome.

Be sure to check out Tyler Naquin’s Baseball Cards.

Cleveland Indians 2012 Mid-Season Top 5 Prospect Rankings

As we are now halfway into the season and the signing deadline for 2012 draft picks has passed, here is my revised list of top 5 prospects in the Cleveland Indians organization.

Remember, a prospect must have fewer than 130 ABs or 50 IP in the Major Leagues to qualify.
(Stats through 7/20/2012)

1) Francisco Lindor – SS
Highest Level: Low-A Lake County Captains
2012 Stats:
MILB: .267, 20(2B), 3(3B), 5HR, 31RBI, 19SB

2) Tyler Naquin – OF
Highest Level: Short-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers
2012 Stats:
MILB: .286, 4(2B), 2(3B), 0HR, 10RBI

3) Jesus Aguilar – 1B
Highest Level: High-A Carolina Mudcats
2012 Stats:
MILB: .292, 22(2B), 2(3B), 11HR, 47RBI

4) Dillon Howard – P
Highest Level: Rookie League AZL Indians
2012 Stats:
MILB: 0-3, 6.75ERA, 17.1IP, 10BB, 14K, .292BAA

5) Ronny Rodriguez – SS
Highest Level: High-A Carolina Mudcats
2012 Stats:
MILB: .268, 15(2B), 3(3B), 12HR, 48RBI

Send your questions or feedback to J.P. on twitter @Jaypers413

Interview With Cleveland Indians Outfield Prospect Jordan Smith

By: Andrew Martin

Currently in first place in the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians are starting to emerge from rebuilding mode and they have many reasons for optimism. The influx of young talent the team has brought up in recent seasons has helped return the Indians to winning ways. However, outfield continues to be an area needing more depth, as evidenced by the recent signing of 38 year old Johnny Damon.

One young player the Indians are counting on to remedy this by moving quickly through their system is Jordan Smith.
A big left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing corner outfielder, Smith was drafted in the 9th round of the 2011 MLB draft out of St. Cloud State College in Minnesota, where he played third base. Because of his athleticism and big arm, the Indians decided to move him to the outfield to give the organization the potential for more impact options. Smith rewarded the Indians faith by having an excellent first professional season last year, collecting a .300 batting average and 47 RBI in 65 short-season games. He is already off to a quick start at A-ball in 2012 and if he keeps producing like this, he should place himself in an excellent position to join the Indians outfield before long.

Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
My favorite team growing up was the Minnesota Twins, but my favorite player was Cal Ripken, Jr. I just looked up to him. He was a good shortstop and hitter; just somebody you could really look up to, especially since he played every day.

Prior to being drafted, what was your favorite baseball moment or memory?
I would say when we competed in Nationals, 12 and under, AAU. We finished third in Nationals and that was just a fun time. My dad was my coach.

How did you first find out that the Indians were interested in you?
You get letters and whatnot, but if I made a list of the top ten that were interested, I wouldn’t put the Indians on that list. They were kind of just the sleeper team. On draft day they called and said I had been selected by them.

What was draft day like for you?
I was in the Cape. We were at a practice and I had my phone on me, and then it kind of got a little more intense. I set my phone in the grass and when I went back to my phone I had like 200 missed calls and texts. I saw one from the Indians that said they had drafted me in the ninth. It was a pretty exciting moment.

After you signed with Cleveland, did you do anything fun or exciting for yourself or your family?
I went back to Minnesota. I was in Massachusetts during the draft and then I flew back to Minnesota. We signed at my house in Minnesota and then had a little draft party with family and friends. No new vehicles or anything.

What has been the hardest part about adapting to life as a professional baseball player off the field?
I would say the being away from home. Just missing your family and missing your friends. But it’s definitely a good time. Good guys and good coaches.

2012 Cleveland Indians Top 15 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413 on Twitter
JP’s FreedomCardboard Blog

2012 Cleveland Indians Top 15 Prospect Rankings

Every year at this time I like to rank each team’s top prospects. My criteria is based upon both past performance and future potential to his parent team. This is my ranking of the 2012 Cleveland Indians Top Prospects. If you have any questions about my rankings, feel free to shoot me a message on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify, a prospect must have fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings in MLB

#1 Francisco Lindor SS
Born: 11/14/1993
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers
2011 Combined Stats: .316, 2RBI (4 Hits In 19 At-Bats) (1st Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft)

#2 Tony Wolters 2B
Born: 6/9/1992
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers
2011 Combined Stats: .292, 10(2B), 3(3B), 1HR, 20RBI, 19SB

#3 Dillon Howard RHP
Born: 7/1/1992
Highest Level Reached: 2nd Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#4 Felix Sterling RHP
Born: 3/15/1993
Highest Level Reached: Low-A Lake County Captains
2011 Combined Stats: 4-6, 4.12ERA, 67.2IP, 33BB, 66K, .236BAA

#5 Nick Hagadone LHP
Born: 1/1/1986
Highest Level Reached: MLB Cleveland Indians
2011 Combined Stats: MINORS: 6-4, 2.79ERA, 4 Saves, 71IP, 22BB, 77K, .212BAA
MAJORS: 1-0, 4.09ERA, 11IP, 6BB, 11K, .118BAA

#6 Luigi Rodriguez OF
Born: 11/13/1992
Highest Level Reached: Low-A Lake County Captains
2011 Combined Stats: .304, 10(2B), 4(3B), 3HR, 19RBI, 18SB

#7 Ronny Rodriguez SS
Born: 4/17/1992
Highest Level Reached: Low-A Lake County Captains
2011 Combined Stats: .246, 28(2B), 7(3B), 11HR, 42RBI, 10SB

#8 Elvis Araujo LHP
Born: 7/15/1991
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers
2011 Combined Stats: 9-1, 3.36ERA, 69.2IP, 25BB, 63K, .245BAA

#9 Chen Lee RHP
Born: 10/21/1986
Highest Level Reached: Triple-A Columbus Clippers
2011 Combined Stats: 6-1, 2.40ERA, 1 Save, 71.1IP, 23BB, 99K, .210BAA

#10 Jake Sisco RHP
Born: 12/9/1991
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League AZL Indians
2011 Combined Stats: 2-4, 5.24ERA, 34.1IP, 17BB, 31K, .303BAA

#11 Levon Washington OF
Born: 7/26/1991
Highest Level Reached: Low-A Lake County Captains
2011 Combined Stats: .218, 9(2B), 4(3B), 4HR, 20RBI, 15SB

#12 Chun Chen C
Born: 11/1/1988
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Akron Aeros
2011 Combined Stats: .262, 24(2B), 3(3B), 16HR, 70RBI

#13 Jorge Martinez SS
Born: 3/29/1993
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League AZL Indians
2011 Combined Stats: .256, 10(2B), 2(3B), 4HR, 30RBI

#14 Jake Lowery C
Born: 7/21/1990
Highest Level Reached: Short-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers
2011 Combined Stats: .245, 23(2B), 1(3B), 6HR, 43RBI

#15 Scott Barnes LHP
Born: 9/5/1987
Highest Level Reached: Triple-A Columbus Clippers
2011 Combined Stats: 8-4, 3.45ERA, 99IP, 36BB, 107K, .230BAA

Disclaimer – I did not attend any minor league games this year, nor do I claim to have any scouting experience. These lists are the product of my own research of statistics and online scouting reports.

2011 Major & Minor League Baseball Brawl Video Timeline

With the 2011 season over and the playoffs about to start, here is a look back at the year that was in Major League and Minor League Baseball brawls and benches clearing incidents. If you see any that we are missing, please send us the link on our twitter page @MinorLeagueBlog. Enjoy the videos.

3-8-2011 – Milwaukee Brewers vs Los Angles Dodgers

4-26-2011 – Hagerstown Suns vs West Virginia Power

5-11-2011 – Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners

5-13-2011 – Greenville Drive vs Charleston River Dogs


Former Big League Pitcher Jerry Dipoto Now A Front Office Wizard

In his big league career, Jerry Dipoto accounted for 27 wins in eight seasons on the mound for Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, and Colorado Rockies in the mid to late 1990′s and managed to beat thyroid cancer along the way. The 43 year old, recently served as the Arizona Diamondbacks interim general manager before becoming the senior vice president of scouting and player development, following the club’s hiring of Kevin Towers as GM in September of last year. The work Dipoto has done with the Diamondbacks has not only helped them reach the playoffs this season, but has given them one of the deepest farm systems in baseball featuring the likes of Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Matt Davidson, Bobby Borchering, Ryan Wheeler, A.J. Pollock, and more all within striking distance of the major league level. That list doesn’t even include Paul Goldschmidt labeled by some as the minor league player of the year for 2011 who was a big part of the Diamondbacks playoff push. In the story link below, Dipoto talks about building the Diamondbacks into the organization it is today, and his colleagues talk about how the former pitcher is establishing himself as a future major league baseball general manager.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jerry Dipoto is the man with a plan —

Bob Feller Greatly Missed By Cleveland Indians Beat Writers

There is an empty seat this season in the Progressive Field press box. When Cleveland Indians Hall Of Famer Bob Feller died in December of 2010 it marked the end of an era. Feller was one of the most involved retired players from any organization, attending Indians games up until the midway point of the 2010 season. During the many years following his playing days, Feller occupied a seat in the Indians press box where he became friendly with most of the Indians working press. This year Feller’s seat remains empty in tribute to Feller. In the story link below the writers who became friends with Feller share their memories of the legend and talk about how the press box is not quite the same without him. It’s a great read.

Bob Feller greatly missed at Progressive Field —

2011 Cleveland Indians Top 15 Prospects Post Season Report Card

With the 2011 minor league season complete we check in on the progress of each of the Cleveland Indians preseason Top 15 prospects as ranked by our prospect ranker J.P. Schwartz. The post season grading report was done by the publisher of Top Prospect Alert, not Mr. Schwartz, and reflects only the 2011 season and not future upside or downside of the individual prospect. Our 2012 preseason rankings will be published in the coming months.

#1 Lonnie Chisenhall GRADE: B+
Chisenhall, through September 14th, is batting .240 with 11 Doubles, 7 Home Runs and 15 RBI’s in 54 games with the Indians. For the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, Chisenhall batted .267 with 15 Doubles, 3 Triples, 7 Home Runs and 45 RBI’s in 66 games.

White was dealt to the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. He went a combined 2-1 with a 1.80ERA in eight starts between Columbus and the Rockies Double-A Tulsa Drillers. At the big league level through September 14th, White is 3-1 with a 6.32ERA in seven starts with the Rockies.

Pomeranz was dealt to the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. In the minors, Pomeranz went a combined 4-3 with a 1.78ERA in 20 starts between the High-A Kinston Indians, Double-A Akron Aeros, and the Rockies Double-A Tulsa. At the big league level with the Rockies, through September 14th, Pomeranz was 1-0 with a 0.00ERA in one major league start.

#4 Jason Kipnis GRADE: A
Kipnis batted .280 with 16 Doubles, 9 Triples, 12 Home Runs, and 55 RBI’s for Triple-A Columbus. He also tallied 12 stolen bases on the season. Through September 14th, Kipnis was batting .280 with 5 Doubles, 6 Home Runs, and 12 RBI’s in 22 big league games with the Indians.

#5 Jason Knapp DID NOT PLAY
Knapp missed the 2011 season following Tommy John Surgery.

Gardner was dealt to the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. Gardner went a combined 10-11 with a 4.31 ERA between Double-A Akron and the Rockies Double-A Tulsa.

#7 Corey Kluber GRADE: C+
Kluber went 7-11 with a 5.56 ERA for Triple-A Columbus. He walked 70 and struck out 143 in 150.2 innings of work. Opposing hitters batted .263 off Kluber on the year. Through September 14th, Kluber was 0-0 with a 0.00ERA in 1.1 innings at the big league level with Cleveland.

#8 Nick Hagadone GRADE: B
Hagadone went a combined 6-4 with 4 Saves and a 2.79ERA between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. He walked 22 and struck out 77 in 71 innings of work. Opposing hitters batted just .222 off Hagadone this season. Through September 14th, Hagadone was 0-0 with a 7.94ERA in 5.2 innings out of the Indians bullpen.

#9 Kelvin de la Cruz GRADE: B-
De La Cruz went 5-6 with a 4.19ERA for Double-A Akron. He walked 57 and struck out 95 in 86 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .227 off De La Cruz on the season.

#10 Levon Washington GRADE: C
Washington batted .218 with 9 Doubles, 4 Triples, 4 Home Runs and 20 RBI’s for the Low-A Lake County Captains. He stole 15 bases on the year. Washington walked 49 times and struck out 89 times in 79 games.

#11 Nick Weglarz GRADE: D
Weglarz batted .179 with 8 Doubles, 3 Home Runs, and 12 RBI’s in an injury plagued 41 games for Double-A Akron. It was his third consecutive season at the Double-A level.

#12 Robbie Aviles GRADE: C
Aviles went 0-2 with a 6.52ERA in 9.2 innings for the Rookie League AZL Indians. He walked 2 and struck out 7.

#13 Jordan Henry GRADE: C
Henry batted .256 with 7 Doubles, 2 Triples, and 33 RBI’s for Double-A Akron. He drew 69 walks and struck out 75 times in 119 games. Henry also had 33 stolen bases on the season.

#14 Tony Wolters GRADE: B
Wolters batted .292 with 10 Doubles, 3 Triples, 1 Home Run and 20 RBI’s in 69 games for the Short-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. He also stole 19 bases.

#15 Felix Sterling GRADE: A-
Sterling who is one of the youngest players in professional baseball, went a combined 4-6 with a 4.12ERA between the AZL Indians and Low-A Lake County. He walked 33 and struck out 66 in 67.2 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .236 against Sterling on the season.

Albert Belle’s Twin Brother And Former LSU Tigers Star Terry Belle Killed In Auto Accident

Sad news out of Arizona as Terry Belle, the former LSU Tigers baseball player and twin brother of former Cleveland Indians All Star Albert Belle was killed in an auto accident while driving with his children, who were not seriously injured, this past Saturday. The Belle brothers stared at LSU from 1985-1987 and went to consecutive College World Series in 1986 and 1987. Terry Belle was 45 years old.

Scottsdale driver in Paradise Valley accident identified —