This series is based on a voting exercise from Justin Lada, Joe Coblitz and Willie Hood on the top 10 players at each position in the Cleveland Indians’ farm system. Each position rank is worth a point in voting (#1 rank is 10 points, #2 is 9, #3 is 8, etc.).

The positions covered in this series will breakdown this way: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner outfield, centerfield, right handed starting pitchers, left handed starting pitchers, and relievers.

Top 10 catchers

Top 10 first basemen

Top 10 second basemen

Top 10 third basemen

Top 10 shortstops

Top 10 corner outfielders

Top 10 centerfielders in Cleveland’s system

10. Billy Wilson (4 points)

Age: 24
Throws: Right
Bats: Left
Highest level reached (most games played): A Lake County

Wilson puts a ball in the air for the Indians in 2019 extended spring training. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Wilson had a great rookie season in 2018, showcasing power and speed in Arizona, but upon promotion to Mahoning Valley he struggled greatly and things didn’t get better when he moved to Lake County in 2019. He remains an excellent defender with a quick bat and quick feet, but given his advanced age and little success in low A, Wilson’s prospect status is seriously questionable.

9. Alex Call (5 points)

Age: 26
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Highest level reached (most games played): AA Akron

Call scores a run for the Indians during a 2019 rehab assignment in extended spring training. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Call was the return for Yonder Alonso from Chicago in the 2018 off-season and, following a rehab assignment in Arizona, played about half a season with the Rubberducks in 2019. He is a pure centerfielder and a very good defender there, not committing an error in 77 games in 2019. His speed makes him dangerous on the bases, although he isn’t an aggressive base stealer. While he has a little power, it shows more in the form of doubles than home runs and he’s unlikely to become a big slugger at this point.

Call will likely begin 2021 in Columbus and, by default, be one of the first options for the big leagues should a need occur (it will), but doesn’t appear to be big league starter material at this point. Even if he is just an MLB bench outfielder, he would make the Alonso trade well worth while as Alonso was release by Chicago after a -1.0 WAR season.

8. Luis Durango Jr. (7 points)

Age: 17
Throws: Left
Bats: Left
Highest level reached: N/A

Luis Durango Jr. was signed as part of the 2019-2020 International signing bonus, receiving a $500,000 signing bonus. The speedy outfielder is the son of former big leaguer Luis Durango Sr. The younger Durango started in centerfield for the U-15 Panamanian national team that received the silver medal in the World Cup. The left-handed-hitting Durango displays a contact-oriented approach at the plate with double-plus speed. He is a sound defender with his speed, allowing him to range all over the outfield; he shows a fringe-average arm in centerfield. Panama’s native required Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm this Summer and will need 9-12 months to recover.

7. Jorge Burgos (9 points)

Age: 18
Throws: Left
Bats: Left
Highest level reached: DSL Indians

Burgos sitting this high in the rankings is a function of two factors: first, that the Indians aren’t particularly deep in outfield prospects and second, that he’s largely unknown and has a very wide range between floor and ceiling. In his first season, he stole 10 bases on 13 attempts and hit five triples, showing that he’s aggressive, even if it was just taking advantage of poor DSL defenses. He should make his first appearance in the US in 2021, most likely in extended spring and the Arizona Summer League.

6. Quentin Holmes (13 points)

Age: 21
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Highest level reached: Low-A Lake County (112 games)

Holmes runs to field a ball in center during 2019 Indians MiLB spring training practice. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Holmes is kind of a forgotten prospect to outside observers to the organization. He was a raw, cold weather prep pick who can fly and hasn’t really accumulated much in the way of hitting development despite swing changes. He’ll be 22 in in the 2021 season and still has speed, but a lot of other tools need to be developed. Because of the speed carrying much of his defensive prowess, he makes this list but there are a lot of unknowns to be filled in about his baseball future.

5. Julian Escobedo (14 points)

Age: 22
Throws: Left
Bats: Left
Highest level reached: SS Mahoning Valley

Escobedo takes a lead off second during a 2019 AZL Indians Blue game against San Diego. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Escobedo could be the poster child when discussing the illegitimacy of AZL stats. After hitting .327/.424/.495 with 12 extra base hits in 28 games, he was decimated in short season batting .129/.213/.176 in a similar amount of playing time. His early success may have been a function of his advanced college experience while his failures with the Scrappers certainly had something to do with an infinitesimal .155 BABIP. This means his real value lies somewhere in the middle and I would guess it would be closer to his Arizona numbers. He’s very fast and a good defender, so he’ll always be valuable and if he can get some better luck, his offensive numbers should turn around soon.

4. Will Brennan (22 points)

Age: 22
Throws: Left
Bats: Left
Highest level reached: SS Mahoning Valley

Brennan gets a hit for the 2019 AZL Indians Blue against the White Sox. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Brennan had a similar experience to Escobedo, rocking the 2019 AZL Indians Blue before struggling in Mahoning Valley, but he ranks higher largely due to a batting profile that doesn’t post as big of a risk of extreme ups and down. One of the hardest hitters to strike out for the Indians in the system, he walked 25 times to 17 strike outs in 2019, an ability that keeps his OBP up even if his average isn’t. Brennan’s power isn’t spectacular, but he has a great line drive swing that leads to many gap doubles. Defensively, he isn’t as good as Escobedo, in fact he may be the worst on this list, but this isn’t an insult as these are generally fantastic fielders.

3. Steven Kwan (26 points)

Age: 23
Throws: Left
Bats: Left
Highest level reached: High-A Lynchburg (123 games)

Kwan makes a throw to home during 2019 Indians MiLB spring training fielding practice. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

While he’s not a burner, Kwan (pictured at top) has plenty of range and instincts to play center with enough speed to make it work. He puts the ball in play, avoiding strikeouts but does so without much power and a flat swing. He does a good job using the whole field too. He makes the list because he has a relatively safe fourth OF projection. There’s minimal risk in his profile and seems like a safe bet to make the big leagues someday as a minor contributor. The players below him lack that safe, somewhat minimal impact. While the two in front of him provide much more impact, albeit much more significant risk.

2. Alexfri Planez (27 points)

Age: 19
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Highest level reached: AZL Indians Red

Planez hits a fly ball during a 2019 Indians extended spring training game in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

After seeing Planez roam the outfield during 2019 Indians extended spring training, he was one of the most highly anticipated players for the AZL that year, but a broken hamate bone cost him nearly the entire season. Planez has a big swing and is reminiscent of Grady Sizemore in his all out play in the outfield as well as his incredibly high strike out rate, low walk rate and good power. His great success as a 16 year old will help make up for his recently lost time and he should go straight to Lake County in 2021.

1. Petey Halpin (30 points)

Age: 18
Throws: Right
Bats: Left
Highest level reached: N/A

Halpin warms up in right field during a 2020 Indians instructional league game at Cincinnati. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Drafted in the third round of the 2020 MLB Draft, Petey Halpin received a $1.525 million signing bonus to forego his commitment to the University of Texas. The young centerfielder is an exciting blend of present talent and upside. The California native was one of the youngest players selected in the draft, a common theme that fits the organizational philosophy.

Halpin shows an advanced approach at the plate; he re-worked his batting stance, opening up his front leg and freeing his swing. His bat is generally considered an above-average tool combined with average power with potential for above-average power as he matures. On the bases and in the outfield grass, Halpin features above-average to plus speed. Defensively, this speed allows the young outfielder to cover a lot of ground. He displays a strong plus throwing arm suitable for rightfield. Overall, the young outfielder is an exciting addition to a system void of outfield talent.

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