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
#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
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.