August 18, 2014

Tribe’s Naquin hits the ground running in Akron

aeros17cut-04Indians prospect outfielder Tyler Naquin is providing a slash line of .375/.423/.458 (.881 OPS) with two doubles and three runs batted in through his first six games with Double-A Akron.

The 2012 first-rounder went 0-for-3 in his first contest with the Aeros, but has since recorded a hit in each game, including seven hits over the last three. After batting .277/.345/.424 (.769 OPS) with 42 extra-base hits and 14 stolen bases in 108 games for High-A Carolina, the 22-year-old was received a promotion to Double-A ball.

Naquin is presently projected by many to be a fourth outfielder. While he undoubtedly has the arm strength and range to handle right field at the major league level, his ability to hit for power continues to be a bit of a concern. Until he develops this facet of his game, it is expected that his value will be tied to his ability to stay in center field. Naquin is anticipated to debut with the Indians at some point during the 2015 season where he will be 24 years old.

 
(Image: Michael Chritton/Akron Beacon Journal)

MLB News: Indians’ Trevor Bauer makes ESPN’s “falling prospects” list

Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer is listed as one of eight prospects who are listed by ESPN’s Keith Law as having disappointing seasons, forcing him well down the list heading into the 2014 MLB season.

“While Didi Gregorius hasn’t exactly lit up the National League, so far he’s provided a better return to Arizona than Bauer has to Cleveland, which is more a function of how bad Bauer’s been since the trade,” says Law. “Bauer has two major issues — his velocity is way down, and he can’t make an adjustment when it’s clear that he can’t locate near the strike zone. Bauer was still sitting in the 92-93 range in his few outings in the majors, but in Triple-A he has been more in the 89-90 range, which, for a guy who hit 97 mph regularly in college but never had great life on the fastball, is a serious problem.”

Law says that Bauer is heading for a fifth-starter-at-best career path if the previously headstrong starter does not let the Indians attempt to coach him into a more refined thrower. Bauer throws a bevy of pitches, so reinventing himself is not out of the question. He will, however, be staring down the barrel of a career that no longer allows him to simply entice batters to swing and pitches that would otherwise be balls.

In a recent edition of WFNY’s “The Diff,” Bauer was categorized as a potential No. 2 starter with control issues. Heading into the 2013 season, Bauer was ranked the 17th-best prospect in all of baseball. He was acquired this past off-season in a three-team deal which saw the Indians send outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds.

[Related: Tigers 5, Indians 1: Offensive slumber and Don Kelly do in Tribe]

MLB News: Francisco Lindor continues to play well in Carolina (Video)

Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Lindor was instrumental in the Carolina League’s All-Star game 12-2 romp over the California league earlier this week.

Lindor, batting second and starting at shortstop for the Carolina League team, had two at-bats which include the two-run double above and a walk.

The 19-year-old shortstop has certainly held his own during his first taste of High-A ball with the Carolina Mudcats, tallying slash line of .300/.375/.400 with one homer run and 23 RBI, and 18 stolen bases… all while playing MLB–caliber defense. While he is still several years away from making an impact with the big league squad, his progress since being selected in the first round of 2011 is promising.

[Related: Francisco Lindor could be MLB’s top prospect by end of 2013]

Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor among top-20 MLB prospects

Following a season wherein the Cleveland Indians farm system was fairly barren, it should be refreshing for Tribe fans to see that shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer are named among the top-20 prospects in all of baseball per MLB.com.

Lindor, 14th overall, slots in right behind the games’ top prospect, Texas’ Jurickson Profar, at the shortstop position. Still multiple years from seeing the big leagues, the 19-year-old Lindor is coming off of a season with the Lake County Captains that featured 24 doubles, 27 stolen bases and 83 runs scored — exceeding expectations at the plate – to go with superb glove work that continues to make the team’s front office salivate.

“His ability speaks for itself,” Atkins told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “I think the fact that he dealt with some of the ebb and flow of a natural season the first time [was good]. The most games he’d ever played before last year was in the 40s, and last year he played close to 200 if you count the two instructional leagues. It’s really unbelievable.”

Bauer, listed 17th, is likely to crack the big league lineup from Day One, the target of the big offseason trade that involved long-time right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. He went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, but had subpar results though his four outings with the Diamondbacks. Earlier this month, Bauer told WFNY that he does not expect to be handed anything in terms of a spot in the starting rotation and that he hopes to capitalize on the opportunity provided.

[Related: Trevor Bauer: Eccentric or just smarter than the rest of us?]

Baseball America: Indians “Stray From Consensus,” Sign Dominican Outfielder

The Cleveland Indians have reportedly signed Hector Caro, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, to a $1.1 million deal.

Caro, a right-handed hitter who presently projects to be a 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound left fielder with raw power, has reportedly shown flashes of potential, but as reported by Baseball America, is allegedly being overvalued by the Indians.

“Cleveland appears to have strayed significantly from the industry consensus in its evaluation of Caro,” wrights BA’s Ben Badler, “a player several teams did not consider to be one of the top prospects in Latin America and was not ranked among the Top 20 international prospects for July 2. While Caro’s bonus is surprising based on his scouting reports from several organizations, sources had told Baseball America before July 2 that the Indians were expected to give him a seven-figure bonus.”

Badler adds that Caro has a swing that “needs improvement” and will be limited to left field due to speed and arm strength. The team has not yet announced this signing.

[Related: Proud Canadian Nick Weglarz Relishes Moment in Spotlight for Akron Aeros]

Keith Law Ranks Francisco Lindor 35th Among All MLB Prospects

ESPN’s resident prospect guru has released his Top 100 list for 2012 and the Cleveland Indians have a lone representative among a list featuring names like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. 

Francisco Lindor, the team’s first-round draft selection in 2011 slots in 35th overall, apparently being weighed down by the fact that he’s only 19-years of age. Per Law:

The Puerto Rican-born Lindor was one of the youngest prospects in last year’s draft, and was also one of its only true shortstops, making him a top-10 pick in a loaded class.

Lindor has four tools for certain, with power the only real question. He has very soft hands and easy actions at shortstop, with range in both directions, a plus arm, and quick feet that should also result in strong stolen base totals. At the plate, he keeps his hands inside the ball extremely well and has good hand speed, projecting to hit for average and doubles power down the road. He grew over the course of his senior year in high school and started to hit for more power with the metal bat, but is most likely a 10-15 homer guy unless he has another unexpected spurt.

Lindor plays with a ton of energy and gets good marks all around for his makeup, making him a likely candidate to jump into the top 20 after his full-season debut in 2012.

Alas, despite the Indians being labeled as having one of the worst farm systems in the majors, Lindor appears to be the one to watch as the next wave of Cleveland prospects matures and moves throughout the various levels. 

In five games with Mahoning Valley (A) last season, Lindor hit .316 with two runs batted in and a stolen base. Starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz, traded last season for Ubaldo Jiménez, is ranked 45th. Right-handed pitcher Austin Adams barely missed the cut.

Your Top 10 Indians Prospects for the 2011 MLB Season

Every year, Baseball America provides us with the list of players who – if all goes as planned – will be the future of the Cleveland Indians franchise.  Or, as the cynics like to call, “the list of future New York Yankees!!”  Get it?  Because they have higher annual payrolls!

Well, thankfully, this year is no different. As the rest of baseball is chatting about winter meetings, Rule 5 and the upcoming free agency period, and since we have already been told that the Indians will not be participating much in either free agency or (subsequently) winter meetings, we can take a looksee as to what players Baseball America considers to be the foundation for the future at the corner of Ontario and Carnegie.

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Tribe on the Offensive

Indians 13, Orioles 8 (box)

Fausto Carmona should be thrilled and Eddie Mujica should simply be thankful that it is simply the way the rules are written.  Mujica had a Joe Borowski Special, with a “BS” and a “W” next to his name in the box score.

The pitching through the first seven innings was borderline awful.  Though only giving up seven hits, Carmona and Mujica gave up a combined eight earned runs.  Four walks and a home run by Carmona, followed by Mujica allowing three of his inherited runners in the seventh made for quite a box score for the former 19-game winner – one whom was given a five-run lead going into the third.  Thankfully, Brendan Donnelly and Jensen Lewis held down the back end making for one bizzare game.

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