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Cleveland Indians 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings via Baseball America (2009)
2009 (7) | 2008 (19) | 2007 (10) | 2006 (9) | 2005 (7) | 2004 (6)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [65 – 97] AL Central
AAA: [57 – 85] International League
AA: [89 – 53] Eastern League
A+: [60 – 78] Carolina League
A: [71 – 66] South Atlantic League
A(ss): [49 – 27] New York Pennsylvanian
R: [24 – 32] Arizona League

The Run Down
After a season of trading away their major league assets and marketability (Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and Mark DeRosa to name a few), the organization still looks like it’s in rebuilding mode. There is still some quality talent on the major league squad (Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera).  However, their team and fans should expect much of the same struggles that 2009 saw in 2010. There is some great young talent nearly ready for the majors in Carlos Santana (2010 Fantasy Outlook and his Scouting the Unknown), the major league ready Carlos Carrasco (Scouting the Unknown), and the freshly graduated Matt LaPorta; not to mention the once stud prospect, Andy Marte, at third base. Oh, and don’t forget about the speedy Michael Brantley (Top 300 Fantasy Player Rankings, Top 60 Outfielders #50). There are things to be excited for in Cleveland, it’s just not winning a pennant (or a football game). With one of the top ranked minor league systems in the majors, again, the Indians look poised for a youth invasion.

Arizona Fall League Players – Peoria Saguaros
Pitchers – Conner Graham; Josh Judy; Zach Putnam
Hitters – (C/1B) Matt McBride; (3B) Carlos Rivero; (2B) Josh Rodriguez; (OF) Nick Weglarz

Graduated Prospects
#2 (OF) Matt LaPorta; #8 (LHP) David Huff; #10 (2B) Luis Valbuena; #15 (OF) Trevor Crowe; #17 (LHP) Tony Sipp; #3 (STL – RHP) Chris Perez

Players of Interest 2010
Hitters
#3 (PHI) Lou Marson | C | AAA | 23 | .277/.361/.360 | 314 AB | 21 XBH | 2 HR | .083 ISO | 59:40 K:BB | .335 BABIP | 53.1 GB% | 19.7 LD% | 27.2 FB%
Received in the Cliff Lee trade this past season, Marson projects long term to be the backup for Carlos Santana. Marson truly is the ideal prototypical catcher. He is able to call a good game, keep the opposing teams running game in check, plays excellent defense, handles the strike zone well when batting and projects to hit somewhere between .250 and .275 with a league average OBP. But Marson is just keeping the seat warm until Carlos Santana is ready. For fantasy, Marson is somewhere between a good backup and a league average catcher.

#3 Nick Weglarz | LF | AA | 21 | .227/.377/.431 | 339 AB | 35 XBH | 16 HR | .204 ISO | 78:75 K:BB | .253 BABIP | 45.9 GB% | 14.3 LD% | 39.4 FB%
Weglarz’s slash line looks terrible due to a couple of reasons, maybe even three. Item one, he hurt his back in July. Item two, he had a stress fracture in his left shin in August. Item three, his extremely low batting average on balls in play (.253). Considered one of the most patient prospects in the minors, Weglarz is similar to Jaff Decker of the San Diego Padres. Both players are able to control the strike zone, hit for power, however, both players have questions about their physical stature and where they are going to play defense. Weglarz may need to return to Double-A to start the season and with any sort of improvement in his BABIP and ability to stay healthy, which has been a problem in the past, he should make a cameo in September.

#25 Jordan Brown | 1B | AAA | 27 | .336/.381/.532 | 417 AB | 52 XBH | 16 HR | .196 ISO | 64:30 K:BB | .370 BABIP | 43.5 GB% | 20.9 LD% | 35.7 FB%
With Grady Sizemore occupying that spot and Brown’s poor defense, he should, and usually does, play first base. He also doesn’t have above average power. His strengths are his ability to make consistent contact and drive the ball to the gaps. His BABIP would predict a lower slash line in 2010, however, John Sickels believes he could be this year’s Garrett Jones. With Russell Branyan oft-injured, Matt LaPorta yet to prove himself, and being cellar dwellers, the Indians may give Brown a chance in his age 27 season. He’ll start the season at Triple-A barring any injuries.

Pitchers
#13 Hector Rondon | RHP | AA/AAA | 21 | 8.4 K/9 | 1.8 BB/9 | 146 1/3 IP | 3.38 ERA | 3.11 FIP | 1.18 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 8.8 H/9 | .319 BABIP | 37 GB% | 15.8 LD% | 42.3 FB%
Rondon possesses a 90 to 94 mph fastball, a slightly above-average changeup and a fringe-average slider. His fastball has great late movement that can top out near 96 mph. At just 21, Rondon was playing with prospects several years older than him and handling the adversary quite well. As one can expect at their first stop at Triple-A, Rondon’s numbers lagged, or dropped off from previous stops in the minors. Definitely a fly ball pitcher, he is able to control the free passes (1.8 BB/9) while keeping the ball in the park (.7 Hr/9). Could be a dominant reliever or a mid-rotation innings eater. Either way, he’s a name you’ll want to watch this summer.

Jeanmar Gomez | RHP | AA | 21 | 8 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 123 1/3 IP | 3.43 ERA | 3.86 FIP | 1.27 WHIP | .8 Hr/9 | 8.5 H/9 | .302 BABIP | 46.3 GB% | 15 LD% | 35.3 FB%
When you throw a perfect game (May 20, 2009), people are bound to notice. He throws a 88 to 91/92 mph fastball, with an average but inconsistent slider and a change that has some splitter-like action. Relying heavily on deception, Gomez isn’t going to make people’s jaws drop or mouths drool, but can provide serviceable performances and organizational depth. He’ll start the year in the Triple-A and may see a late season call up.

Josh Judy | RHP | AA | 23 | 11.5 K/9 | 3.8 BB/9 | 49 1/3 IP | 3.10 ERA | 2.59 FIP | 1.07 WHIP | .4 Hr/9 | 6.4 H/9 | .320 BABIP | 47.8 GB% | 10.3 LD% | 36 FB%
Used as a reliever, Judy has a deceptive 90 to 95 mph fastball that he throws with a hard slider. He keeps the ball in the park, punches out batters impressively (11.5 k/9, 188 K’s in 168 IP), and has a 1.88 GO/AO ratio. Judy could easily see action out of the Indians bullpen in 2010.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
#6 Lonnie Chisenhall | 3B | A+/AA | 20 | .258/.325/.472 | 481 AB | 56 XBH | 22 HR | .214 ISO | 96:44 K:BB | .296 BABIP | 42.4 GB% | 15.2 LD% | 41.7 LD%
Chisenhall is easily the best ranked prospect in the organization behind Carlos Santana:

  • Ranked #25 overall hitter by John Sickels
  • Ranked #26 overall prospect by Keith Law
  • #25, #17, #25 overall prospect by Baseball America Editors

His swing is considered one of the best in the minors and could easily produce above average numbers at each stop on the way to The Show. Most scouts aren’t worried about his strikeouts getting out of control or his spotty, but, improving defense. He was a shortstop at college and transitioned to third last year. The promotion to Double-A rocked his world as he slashed .183/.238/.387 in 93 at-bats. Now, that is a small sample size to draw upon, however, the peripherals show that there isn’t anything to worry about as his ISO stayed similar (.216 at High-A and .204 at Double-A) and he has a slightly below average BABIP at .275. His age and level of play puts him on the fast track to the majors. He’ll be getting more attention this summer in a Scouting the Unknown. Look for him to start in Double-A. This is a good thing as this puts him on the fast track to the majors with his movement only impeded by fringe players to begin with.

#16 Abner Abreu | RF | A | 19 | .305/.351/.488 | 246 AB | 27 XBH | 7 HR | .183 ISO | 68:11 K:BB | .399 BABIP | 49.3 GB% | 21.6 LD% | 29 FB%
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: his ceiling is tremendously high, his power is absolutely astonishing but he cannot control the strike zone and has too many strikeouts. Abreu’s at-bats are low because he dislocated his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield in June. Nevertheless, the extremely high BABIP would indicate that his poor strike zone judgment would eventually catch up with him. Remember that his ceiling is high, but his downside is low, as well.

Pitchers
#22 Zach Putnam | RHP | A+/AA | 21 | 8.9 K/9 | 2.6 BB/9 | 80 2/3 IP | 4.13 ERA | 2.74 FIP | 1.29 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 9 H/9 | .332 BABIP | 53.6 GB% | 16.5 LD% | 25 FB%
Pitching in relief this past year, Putnam throws a 90 to 94 mph sinking fastball, a slider, and split-finger that is his out-pitch. He also has a change and a curve but doesn’t use them in the bullpen. He’ll get a chance to start at Double-A in 2010, but the Indians aren’t sure where he’ll end up. In the ‘pen, he could provide the Tribe with another power arm that could go more than an inning, or a groundball backend starter. Putnam is definitely one of the more interesting prospects that I have found this off season.

#3 (BOS) Nick Hagadone | LHP | A/A+ | 23 | 11.8 K/9 | 4.8 BB/9 | 45 IP | 2.80 ERA | 3.00 FIP | 1.11 WHIP | 0 Hr/9 | 5.2 H/9 | .265 BABIP | 55.5 GB% | 7.6 LD% | 18.5 FB%
Ignore his age as he had Tommy John surgery in 2008 and returned on a strict pitch count in June 2009. Received as a part of the Victor Martinez trade, Hagadone has a 92 to 98 mph fastball, a power slider, and the potential for an above-average defense. Everyone really likes his potential, but I am hesitant to put any sort of hype into Hagadone as his control is sketchy (4.8 BB/9) and he hasn’t pitched many innings in the minors due to his injury. With only 5 innings at High-A, Hagadone has a lot to prove in 2010. His ability to keep the ball on the ground will help his status, he just needs to do this over a full season. At this point, I would reserve any more comments or judgments until further data becomes available.

Chen-Chang Lee | RHP | A+ | 22 | 10.5 K/9 | 3 BB/9 | 83 1/3 IP | 3.34 ERA | 2.94 FIP | 1.14 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 7.2 H/9 | .314 BABIP | 46.7 GB% | 11.5 LD% | 36.1 FB%
If Hagadone does what Lee has done in 2009, in 2010, he’ll be receiving my praises. Lee throws a 92 to 93 mph fastball that has topped 96 mph. He also has an average slider and a developing split-finger to combat lefties. His future is in the bullpen and he’ll need to prove himself at Double-A to cement his future as a possible Tribe bullpen member. Think a solid middle-reliever and nothing more.

From Around The Web

  1. majortommy says:
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    What is the plan for Santana? I have read the posts and am eying him as a late round sleeper/flyer (hoping for Soto type rookie numbers, with a few less homers) but it obviously comes down to playing time. Originally wanted Posey( who is killing it this year) but unless he gets time at first he is stuck behind crapolina.

    p.s. would love it if he came out of camp as the starting first baseman, holly Kung Pow Panda from last year catcher eligibility with almost 600 ABs!

  2. Sos says:
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    ***ALERT RAZZBALL NATION***

    Had my 12 team draft the other night down at the Marriot conference room (yeah, we’re classy like that) and I was armed with my top 300, positional rankings, Bud bottle, etc and feeling good. Like every other year, I figured I had these suckers right where I wanted them. The draft started and all seemed to be going according to plan…ho hum a Longo here, a Grandy there…then Quentin goes early. Like really early. Wierd I think to myself. Then Span goes early to the same guy. Then another guy who always takes pitching early is doing the opposite. What, he just grabbed Slowey?! Hey, Napoli was gonna be my catcher jerk! Why isn’t anybody drafting closers?!? What is going on here! I’m starting to get suspicious but I shake it off, must be coincidence. Then, the one guy goes “Who is Krispie Young?” and proceeds to spell it out in the Razzball way. NOOOOOOOOO!!!! Much to my dismay, I go back and look at his computer screen and who’s mustachioed face is staring back at me?? I was like, (gulp) “you read Razzball?” And he’s like “yeah it’s great.” Then the other dude nearby was like “I read it too. It’s hilarious!” Then another conceded that he enjoys it as well. What the what!?!

    As drafts are approaching, be aware that it’s no longer safe to assume your buddies are clueless. I’ve enjoyed their senseless drafting for a few years now since finding this site and benefited greatly (in top 3 last 3 years). I never guessed in a million years that these guys would put enough effort into it to discover Razzball but now I’m fearful. They were ziggin and zaggin and beboppin and scattin all over the place! Oh well, congrats Grey. Figured it would happen eventually….

  3. Steve says:
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    Thorough work as usual Stephen. I think you’ve missed something though.

    Abner? Judy? – The Tribe are clearly #1 in the nation when it comes to the names of their prospects.

  4. Stephen says:
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    @majortommy: Carlos Santana’s ETA is all dependent upon his performance at Triple-A to start this year. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect anything until at least June if not later.

    @Sos: Hehe.

    @Steve: Thank you for the compliment. I was thinking of all the names they have too. I even left some off that were even more off the wall. Like Jess Todd.

  5. Steve says:
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    @Stephen: Chen-Chang sounds like a noise they’d play over the PA when he Ks someone.

    And Judy “punches out batters”. Snigger. I missed that one.

  6. Buddo Chezuski says:
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    going off of Majortommy’s comments….so if you had to choose between Posey or Santana to draft late in a keeper league, who is the better choice? Seems like Santana will play more this year but who will be better in 2, 3, 4 years?

  7. Tony says:
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    @Sos: ya dude i know from just a guy in my league talking he’s read an article or two, but there’s a difference between an article or two and FOLLOWING…. if those dudes are reading religiously that sucks! I know i have about 3-4 owners who are very well informed in my league, they aren’t drafting by razzballology BUT they know enough they have SOLID strategies very similiar to a hardcore razzer…. and then the rest know enough to compete at a pretty high level. Its crazy, there’s just alot of information out there! So your league was about like an RCL! HA!

  8. Tony says:
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    oh and great to see the TRIBES preview, loved it…. big tribe fan, its all down hill since the debacle where we were up 3-1 on boston, we have CC, cliff lee, and fausto to go and can’t get one FUKKKKKKING WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seriously????????????? Two CY YOUNGS and a guy having his career year can’t get one WIN?

    Then boston goes on to manhandle the rockies which cleveland woulda done the same…. ughhh…. so disappointing.

    Now we’re “rebuilding” as we always say in cleveland, the cavs are “rebuilding” next when lebron leaves town this summer….

  9. Chris says:
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    i was offered this trade i have prado and blanks i am thinking this is a no but if i countered with prado and blanks for carlos gonzalez instead of beltran would you do that? I would drop Marc Rzepczynski, Tor SP to even this out

    Review Send Martin Prado, Atl 2B from 2B to Tigers
    Send Kyle Blanks, SD OF from Bench to Tigers
    Receive Kelly Johnson, Ari 2B from Tigers to Bench
    Receive Carlos Beltran, NYM OF from Tigers to Bench
    Receive David Freese, StL 3B from Tigers to Bench

  10. majortommy says:
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    @Buddo Chezuski: Posey will be the better raker. He projects for more power and a higher average. Santana has a higher probability of playing sooner and will be good, but Posey in my opinion(don’t listen to me, I cut Mauer in my keeper for Chris Davis because of a back issue. This after keeping him since his rookie year) has the best chance at being special in the next 4-5 years.

  11. Stephen says:
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    @Steve: To be honest, I don’t think I noticed them like that when I wrote them.

    @Tony: It costs a lot of money to keep a great team together. But I understand your pain. The Twins in the 90’s were absolutely terrible, and that is when I stated to like baseball.

    @Chris: If this is a keepers league, I would substitute Beltran for Carlos Gonzalez. Other than that, I think it would be fairly even. I am conservative and would hold Blanks, but if you can get Gonzalez, go for it.

    @majortommy: @Buddo Chezuski: I actually Like Santana just a bit more. I think Posey will have the better average with slightly more gap power while Santana will have more power with a slightly lower avearge. Truthfully, at this point in their careers they are a push. If you are drafting for this year, I wouldn’t draft either unless you know one of them will have the starting gig for the whole year. Remember Wieters? Yeah, that is what you should expect for both and hope for more. If you really want to draft and hold, draft Santana.

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