Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cleveland Indians top ten prospects at Baseball America

*On January 6th, Baseball America came out with their yearly Cleveland Indians top ten prospects. Carlos Santana, Nick Hagadone, Jason Knapp, Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco were all acquired in recent trades that saw the Indians deal away Victor Martinez (Hagadone), Cliff Lee (Knapp and Carrasco), CC Sabathia (Brantley) and Casey Blake (Carlos Santana). Four of the top ten are draftees: Lonnie Chisenhall (1st round, 29th pick, 2008), Nick Weglarz (3rd round, 94th pick, 2005), Alex White (1st round, 15th pick, 2009 draft) and Jason Kipnis (2nd round, 63rd pick, 2009 draft). Hector Rondon is the lone non-roster free agent, when he was signed out of Venezuela in 2004.

A lot, I'm sure, will be made that five of the top eight were acquired in the dismantling of the roster that nearly went to the World Series in 2007. The only problem I would have with that is that there aren't MORE prospects listed from those deals. Matt LaPorta should be on the list, but he'll be a major leaguer this season. Three of the home grown talent were drafted in the past two years. This either signifies an improvement in drafting, or hasn't given Chisenhall, White and Kipnis time to become busts.

I always take BA's top ten with a grain of salt. What I really look forward to is there future line-up, in this case, in 2013. I must admit, it looks promising.

There are no surprises with regards to the position players, other than Grady Sizemore still being with the club in 2013 (not going to happen). The lineup really showcases both power and speed, is rock solid up the middle, and could be the best lineup this club has seen since the 90's. Seriously, try and put together a lineup:

1. Brantley
2. Cabrera
3. Santana
4. Sizemore
5. LaPorta
6. Choo
7. Weglarz
8. Chisenhall
9. Valbuena

If all these players pan out to some extent, the potential is devastating. Imagine Choo as a #6 hitter. If the Indians were to keep Sizemore, I'd likely try him in the clean-up roll. He has the same type of upward movement as Barry Bonds, and could explode in the four slot. Of course, it's more likely that Sizemore isn't on this team, but we can dream, right?

In my estimation, the rotation didn't showcase any surprises either. Hagadone, quite appropriately, is listed as the ace of the staff. There have been some reports that Hagadone will be coming out of the pen, but with White being developed as a closer, this would be a mistake. Hagadone has the best stuff in the organization, and should be developed as an ace. Knapp's stuff is supposedly nearly as electric as Hagadone. Knapp's injury notwithstanding, he should be a solid #2. Rondon, to me, is the wildcard here, and may be more sure a thing than Hagadone and Knapp. If Justin Masterson is our #4 starter, the Cleveland Indians will be playing in a world series. Better yet, if Carlos Carrasco is the get the point. I know, I know, it's only the future, but you never...ever...know...

For a much better prospect list, make sure to check out Indians Prospect Insider. Tony Lastoria posted his teaser today for his top 50, which he will begin posting tomorrow. Tony also publishes the most complete prospect book available on the Indians minor league system, and I highly recommend it.

Ahhh, least we have SOMETHING to talk about this offseason.

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