The Indians have a balanced system with good bats, good arms, and fantasy upside at all levels. At the tippy top there’s Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. Both should arrive in the next two years and the one you like better depends on whether you’re more of a speed freak or a power geek. You really can’t go wrong with either at this point. 2015 was the debut of Francisco Lindor, who exceeded expectations with his bat and was as advertised with his slick fielding at short. Given how hard it is to find offense at the position, it will be interesting to see how strongly fantasy players believe in his rookie year numbers and how high he’ll go in 2016 redrafts. I’m guessing pretty high. The Tribe had, in my humble opinion, a great 2015 draft and walked away with good players at great values. Their low minors is well stocked and it was honestly difficult to choose which players to profile down there.

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All year we’ve been ranking the top prospects closest to the majors. With September call-ups quickly approaching, this post is a little different. Instead of limiting the list to players with their rookie eligibility intact, this will include any players currently in the minor leagues regardless of their at bats or innings pitched totals. There’s a catch, though. It’s only going to list players who are currently healthy and on their team’s 40-man roster. If you see a big name omitted, it’s probably because they aren’t currently on the 40-man. That can still be manipulated of course, but if a player is already on the roster, it increases the chances they’ll get a look next month. I also decided to weed through it for players that I thought could actually have some relevance in fantasy. With guys like Domingo Santana, Trea Turner, and even Aaron Altherr already up, this isn’t exactly the sexiest group. But there are some nice players in here, and if they can find playing time, they could also help your fantasy team down the stretch. When looking at who to pick up, I’d recommend focusing on teams that are out of the playoff hunt and who may be more inclined to give their younger players a look. Zeroing in on injuries (or potential ones) is also a good move. I bolded a few of the names that I think are interesting gambles…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (18) | 2013 (20) | 2012 (29) | 2011 (7) | 2010 (3)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL Central
AAA: [79-65] International League – Columbus
AA: [73-69] Eastern League – Akron
A+: [62-74] Carolina League – Carolina (2015: Lynchburg)
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Lake County
A(ss): [33-42] New York-Penn League – Mahoning Valley

Graduated Prospects
Trevor Bauer, RHP | T.J. House, LHP | Jose Ramirez, SS | Roberto Perez, C

The Gist
Several of Cleveland’s younger players made waves during the 2014 season. Corey Kluber pitched his way to a Cy Young award, Michael Brantley broke out in a big way (h/t Grey), and Carlos Carrasco rode a down and up season that included a trip to the bullpen. He ended up as one of fantasy’s best starters over the final two months. You could even throw Jose Ramirez into the mix, who held his own at shortstop for the Tribe down the stretch. Looking ahead, this is a system headlined by top prospect Francisco Lindor, who should be in Cleveland at some point in 2015. Beyond Lindor, it’s a farm that is strong “up the middle” (catcher/middle infield/center field) and there is plenty of impact talent lurking in the low minors. It’s worth noting that two of the top five prospects were 2014 draftees.

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Last week was about speculating which players might be getting the call this September and providing any kind of fantasy value in redraft leagues. With September now a week old, we have the names of the players who have indeed been added to rosters. With all of these call-ups, it’s important to remember that playing time could be sparse and their impact in a 12-team standard mixed league may be minimal. However, those of us who are playing in deeper leagues or keepers may have been rostering some of these players already. In that case their call-ups are more meaningful. They can add depth to the fantasy roster and sometimes it’s just fun to get a look at someone you’ve been hoarding in your NA spot or on your farm. Additionally, just because September 1st has come and gone doesn’t mean more players can’t be added as the month progresses and the MiLB playoffs come to an end. We’ll take a look at the pitchers next time, but for now let’s dive into some of the bats that got the call to the majors this past week…

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On Razzball Radio last week, where you finally got to see my perfectly circumferenced face, that looks like almost any chubby latino catcher that you can think of (to name a couple: Ramon Castro, Josmil Pinto), I got into my win-now approach. I traded high impact prospects (Gregory Polanco and Anthony Rendon) for a more immediate influence, (Robinson Cano).

I often wind up with no top prospects by year’s end, but still wind up with a sundry of “B” prospects that turn into more i.e. Mookie Betts and Joc Pederson last year for nothing! It’s about this time of the year that I start delving into C prospects in dynasty leagues for warm bodies to displace my empty prospect slots. Often, guys that come up will have initial contact problems, so I look for guys that can elevate their BABIP through both power (ISO) and speed (SPD). An extreme example is Yasiel Puig. He had contact problems last year, but he’s a monster in the power and speed departments ensuring an elevated BABIP. This year he’s put that together with a rational HR/FB ratio and a really nice contact and discipline jump. He’s elite.

It seems like I’m always seeing current and former Mets when I do this. This year is no different thanks to Andrew Brown and Eric Campbell (current Mets) as well as Nick Evans and Mike Jacobs (former) – all on this list due to their wOBA’s and ISO. While we might find more eventual, longer-term impact in AA, for this post, let’s look at the AAA minor league leaderboard (as of 5/30), including the Mexican League ranked by wOBA combined with BABIP (weighed by ISO and SPD)… just trust me:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (20) | 2012 (29) | 2011 (7) | 2010 (3) | 2009 (7)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [92-70] AL Central
AAA:  [71-73] International League — Columbus
AA:  [68-73] Eastern League — Akron
A+:  [57-83] Carolina League — Carolina
A:  [54-83] Midwest League — Lake County
A(ss):  [30-44] New York-Penn League — Mahoning Valley

Graduated Prospects
Yan Gomes (C); Cody Allen (RHP); Danny Salazar (RHP); Nick Hagadone (LHP)

The Run Down
The Tribe are coming off a surprisingly successful campaign in 2013, winning 92 games and earning a spot in the postseason.  Big league acquisitions had a lot to do with that success, but a fair amount of it needs to be attributed to homegrown talent, too.  At age 26, Jason Kipnis isn’t quite a youngster anymore, but he was drafted and developed by this org, and his breakout year can’t be ignored.  The same can be said for graduating prospects, Yan Gomes and Danny Salazar, both of whom offered value in the fantasy game (Gomes was actually acquired via Toronto, but you get the idea).  What remains on the Cleveland farm is a nice collection of talent, including two top-50 prospects, and perhaps a couple more in the 50-100 range.  Pitching is the glaring weakness here, and only one pitcher makes this top 10.  Of course, when considering that shortage on the pitching side of things, it’s probably important to also consider that the Tribe graduated Salazar, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister in the last two seasons.  Not too shabby.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (29) | 2011 (7) | 2010 (3) | 2009 (7) | 2008 (19)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [68-94] AL Central
AAA:  [75-69] International League — Columbus
AA:  [82-59] Eastern League — Akron
A+:  [63-77] Carolina League — Carolina
A:  [71-68] Midwest League — Lake County
A(ss):  [30-45] New York-Penn League — Mahoning Valley

Arizona Fall League PlayersScottsdale Scorpions
Shawn Armstrong (RHP); Trey Haley (RHP); T.J. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?