For the last few years, since making the historic C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee trades, the Cleveland Indians have been banking on an improved minor league development system. This improved development had two key aspects: making the most out of the incoming prospects from those two mega-deals and drafting better than the early part of the 2000s.
Quite early on, Indians fans gave up hope on the returns from those two deals. In fact, only 4.5 years since the Sabathia trade and 3.5 since the Lee deal, only Michael Brantley and Carlos Carrasco figure to be cogs on the 2013 Indians, while the futures of back-ups Matt LaPorta, Jason Donald and Lou Marson are in jeopardy.
So moving forward, the key had to be efficient drafting. And while it’s a bit too early to tell, obviously, on draft picks from 2008-12, we can begin to make some conclusions based on what major analysts are saying. If prospects are performing to their expectation and draft position, we’d see them regularly in Indians prospect rankings, but if not or if they performed inconsistently, we’d likely see abnormal turnover in the rankings from year-to-year and analyst-to-analyst.
And as we approach 2013, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. And that’s not good news at all for the future of the Indians franchise. [Read more...]