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2020 Updated Top Prospects Lists
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
66. Andres Gimenez SS
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.