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2020 Updated Top Pr...
 
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2020 Updated Top Prospects Lists

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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
High-A rising star
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 253
 

Here's some observations regarding the 2 prospects obtained in the Lindor/Carrasco trade (RHP Josh Wolf and LHH CF Isaiah Greene) from Ben Clemens of Fangraphs, and Eric Longenhagen through Clemens.

Mets Acquire Lindor, Carrasco in Blockbuster Trade | FanGraphs Baseball

To round out their return, Cleveland acquired two minor leaguers. Josh Wolf was the Mets’ second round pick in 2019, and he pitched in a handful of games that year after signing. I asked Eric Longenhagen about the prospect return, and he shared that Wolf has an atypical build and arm action for a starter, but that Cleveland has historically been good at altering deliveries to account for that. He sits 94-97 with a breaking ball that flashes plus, and Eric speculates that a new delivery might unlock better action and feel for a changeup that he sometimes throws. That said, he still projects as a reliever, though an impact one, and there’s certainly starter upside in there somewhere.

Isaiah Greene was a 2020 draftee, New York’s pick in the compensatory round. Again per Eric, the scouts who were highest on Greene see him as having good feel for contact with a frame that portends power in the future. He’s still raw in the field, with a scattershot arm, though he’s only 19 and didn’t play much in 2020 due to a pandemic-shortened senior season. Eric’s greatest concern is with his swing, a long, loopy contraption that will likely require a re-work. He appeared to start an overhaul in Fall instructs, our only look at him as a pro.

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Per The Athletic's Keith Law, Wolf has mid-rotation upside, but has the risk of any 19 yr old pitcher and is 4 years away from the bigs.  He notes that Greene could be the sleeper in the deal.  He showed excellent defense with good instincts in Instructionals, and hit well off pitchers who were mostly older.


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 253
 

I was just going over the bottom half of Fangraphs' Top Prospects list for the Indians and looked a bit more closely at Eric Longenhagen's write up of RP Nick Mikolajchak, who is listed as the Indians 24th best prospect.  Longenhagen describes quite a dramatic evolution of Mikolajchak's stuff from the beginning of '20 Instructs to the end.  At the beginning, Longenhagen had reports that Mikolajchak's FB sat at 90-92, and at the end it was sitting 95-97, which he was reportedly blowing by hitters.  And he was getting more spin-related movement on both his FB and CB. 

And if Fangraphs' Big Board is accurate as it pertains to spin rpm, Mikolajchak's FB spin is now 2,350 RPM, and his CB spin is now 2,900 RPM, which I believe are above average and elite, respectively.  For comparison purposes, 2,350 RPM is higher than the spin of all but 19 of the pitching prospects on Fangraphs' Big Board (and equal to that of Triston McKenzie and Ethan Hankins).  And Mikolajchak's CB spin of 2,900 RPM is better than all but 1 prospect.

His pitching profile now appears to be one of a power RP somewhat similar to James Karinchak, with the added benefit that he may have a serviceable CH and better control.  So, if Longenhagen's scouting report is anything close to accurate, Mikolajchak would appear to be potentially not only a fast riser, but also a bullpen candidate for the Indians at the start of the season, or sometime during the season. 

All that said, I'm not saying the Mikolajchak has a FB/CB combo equal to Karinchak's.  I don't know, for example, what velo differential there is between the 2 pitches.  And I'm not suggesting that the shape/quality of his CB is comparable to Karinchak's.  But, the description of Mikolajchak's pitches seems to have some eerie similarities.  I'm looking forward to seeing if that's the case. 


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Willie Hood
(@willhoo99)
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Mikolajchak was hitting 92-94, t95 out of college. He was a college swingman/spot starter. No surprise about an uptick in velo. His CB was a AA pitch when I saw him, but more impressive was his advanced control, which I graded as AA. The combination of that trifecta should enable the righty to move quickly as suggested.


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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I don't have any of the commentary on these Indians' prospects, but McKenzie, Jones, SS Andres Gimenez, and Freeman make Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, as follows:

26.  McKenzie

45.  Jones

66.  Andres Gimenez SS

82.  Freeman

I'd be interested in seeing the basis for McKenzie's ranking.  Per LetsGoTribe.com, BA expects Gimenez to make an immediate impact and Jones will likely be given a chance to win a spot in the OF this season.  If anyone else has any insight on BA's rankings, please post.

Four Cleveland prospects land on Baseball America’s Top 100 - Let's Go Tribe


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 253
 

Baseball Prospectus has come out with its Top 101 Prospects list.  The Indians' have 5 prospects on the middle and back end of the list.  They are as follows:

48.  Valera

52.  Jones

73.  McKenzie

87.  Arias

100.  Espino

I previously posted BP's list of Top Indians' prospects and provided their respective grades.  The above players are 1 through 5 on that list.

BP acknowledges that there is less movement on this Top 101 list compared to last year's due to a lack of developmental information.  While that is stating the obvious, it's still a point that should probably be made about this and other lists that are released this season, and a reason why such lists shouldn't be overly relied upon as a fair guide to the rankings of each team's prospects - at least as it compares to prior years.

Here's the link to BP's list, which is behind a paywall.

2021 Prospects: The Top 101 - Baseball ProspectusBaseball Prospectus


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MadThinker88
(@madthinker88)
Draft Prospect
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Posts: 15
 

FYI for those that follow the various opinions on the Tribe's minors..

--------------------------

Posted: 1-23-21
Source: Prospects1500 (Free/ open source)
Top 50 listed out with writeups. List also broken into Tiers.
I have personally been impressed by the work of this website/ group of writers over the past few years & highly recommend people give them read/ follow.

This post was modified 3 months ago by MadThinker88

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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
High-A rising star
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 253
 
Posted by: @madthinker88

FYI for those that follow the various opinions on the Tribe's minors..

--------------------------

Posted: 1-23-21
Source: Prospects1500 (Free/ open source)
Top 50 listed out with writeups. List also broken into Tiers.
I have personally been impressed by the work of this website/ group of writers over the past few years & highly recommend people give them read/ follow.

RHP Carlos Vargas and LHP Sam Hentges are ranked 38th and 39th in Prospects1500's Cleveland Indians 2021 Top 50 Prospects list.  That's pretty out of whack from the general consensus as well as my personal opinion.  I don't know whether they're ranked this low because of the perception that they're both strictly RPs, but this list has other RP options ranked quite a bit higher.  On ceiling alone, I think both should be ranked quite a bit higher.  Additionally, there is no mention of Vargas' new delivery (that might make his high-velo FB less hittable) or Hentges' bump in velocity.


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Keith Law came out with his Top 100 MLB Prospect for 2021 yesterday.  Unlike past years, he didn't precede this list with a ranking of top prospects for each team.  I'm assuming this is due to the general lack of prospect information for the past season.

Top 100 MLB prospects of 2021: Keith Law's rankings revealed – The Athletic

Six Indians make Law's Top 100 this year; McKenzie, Naylor, Valera, Freeman, Jones, and Rocchio.  McKenzie and Law are ranked higher than expected, and Jones (and maybe Valera) lower.  Their rankings, and some commentary, are below.

12.  McKenzie - Law seems to view McKenzie as potentially a TOR SP if he can stay healthy. but acknowledges that he may be a 5-6 inning type of SP due to his narrow frame.

42.  Naylor - This is the highest ranking I've seen.  Law sees Naylor sticking as a C, and that he may become a plus defender.

76.  Valera - His relatively low ranking appears to be due to his proclivity to chase outside the zone, although this is something that may be cured as he faces more pitching.

78.  Freeman - Law notes that Freeman has added some muscle, and while he believes this will allow him to make hard contact, his contact-oriented swing will inhibit that strength translating to power.  In that regard, Freeman reminds me a bit of Michael Brantley, who eventually found a way to situationally tap into his power. But, he's a rare hitter.

86.  Jones - Law sees Jones as a 3-true-outcome hitter.  He's not impressed with his 2-strike approach, and is one of the few analysts that appears to dock him for his inability to hit LHPs, at least to date.  I have similar concerns on this point.

99.  Rocchio - Law projects Rocchio as being a better LHH, and that he might develop some power from that side.


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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Keith Law has come out with his farm system rankings and, in a rather large surprise, ranks Cleveland just below the Tampa Bay Rays, as the 2nd best system in baseball.  The link is behind a paywall.

MLB 2021 farm system rankings by Keith Law – The Athletic

I thought Law might place the Indians in the middle of the top 10.  The fact that the Padres have traded away a large swath of prospects, and the Braves have traded a few and promoted others, has also helped Cleveland's rise.

In addition to the 6 Indians' prospects that Law has ranked in his Top 100, he notes that a number of high draft high schoolers from the last few years have risen in the ranks and are now playing in full-season leagues where they can be better projected to impact the major league team.  Law also comments about the extreme depth of the system, including the "ridiculous" number of SS the team has. 

Law's Top 10 teams are as follows:

1.  Tampa Bay

2.  Cleveland

3.  Toronto  

4.  Miami

5.  Arizona

6.  Atlanta

7.  San Diego

8.  Minnesota

9.  San Francisco

10.  Los Angeles

 

The rankings of the AL Central teams are as follows:

2,  Cleveland

8.  Minnesota

12.  Detroit

15.  Kansas City

22.  Chicago


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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Well respected ESPN analyst Kiley McDaniel has released his 2021 Top 100 MLB Prospects list.  The link below is behind a paywall.

Kiley McDaniel's top 100 MLB prospects for 2021 (espn.com)

Three Indians are on the list, Jones, Valera, and McKenzie.

33.  Nolan Jones - FV (55) - McDaniel notes that Jones has 3 plus-plus (70 grade) skills, i.e., pitch selection, raw power and arm, and bat control that is below average.  The result should be HRs, walks, and strikeouts.  McDaniel believes he should be able to stick at 3B.

56.  George Valera - FV (50) - McDaniel sees Valera as having average contact rate skills, which may be a bit more optimistic than the prevailing viewpoint.  But, I tend to agree with him.  He also believes Valera will be an above-avg defensive corner OF.

59.  Triston McKenzie - FV (50) - He's projected to have solid-average stuff and above-average command of 4 pitches, which will result in a MOR SP if he can keep his health.  When you account for McKenzie's superior extension on his delivery (7.4 ft), I think his stuff will be better than solid-avg, as long as his velo can average 93+ mph. 

 


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DetDawg
(@detdawg)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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Here is Keith Law's Top 20 Prospects for the Indians.  The top 6 were previously listed in Law's Top 100 MLB Prospects and discussed in a prior post.

Law seems to view Jose Tena more favorably than other analysts, as he also did last year, ranks Carlos Vargas lower.  and doesn't even include Sam Hentges in the rankings.  He doesn't seem to have up-to-date velo on Hentges, as he notes a top velo of 95 mph.  I believe Hentges had a bump in velo to 98-99 last year.  Nevertheless, Law thinks Hentges will get a cup of coffee (as a starter) with the Indians in '21.  Daniel Johnson isn't in the Top 20 either, and a lack of pitch recognition will prevent him from becoming an everyday player.

Lenny Torres is Law's sleeper prospect for 2021.

Cleveland's 2021 prospect rankings: Keith Law on the top 20 – The Athletic

1.  Triston McKenzie

2.  Bo Naylor

3.  George Valera

4.  Tyler Freeman

5.  Nolan Jones

6.  Bryan Rocchio

7.  Gabriel Arias

8.  Lenny Torres

9.  Daniel Espino

10.  Ethan Hankins

11.  Jose Tena

12.  Aaron Bracho

13.  Angel Martinez

14.  Gabriel Rodriguez

15.  Tanner Burns

16.  Carson Tucker

17.  Owen Miller

18.  Isaiah Greene

19.  Junior Sanquintin

20.  Carlos Vargas


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MadThinker88
(@madthinker88)
Draft Prospect
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 15
 

Last year I located 12 different rankings of the various farm systems.  At this point I have seen 5 different ones (including 1 from a new source).  Here is were CLE sits (with each one).

Baseball America:  CLE = 10     Tampa = 1, Washington = 30

Baseball Prospectus: CLE = 10   Tampa = 1, Washington = 30

Keith Law/ The Athletic: CLE = 2  Tampa = 1, Washington = 30

Kiley McDaniel/ ESPN: CLE = 9  Tampa = 1, Washington = 30

Prospects1500:  CLE = 6  Tampa = 1, Washington = 30  (The new source)

 

If anyone else sees a list, please add the site name & CLE rank.  Thanks


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