April Prospect Report

The first prospect report of 2013 featured upper level prospects who were likely to make their Major League debuts this year. They weren't necessarily the prospects with the highest ceiling however. This is the first top ten based on stats from the 2013 season. Only a few of the teams are in season now, so just Columbus Clippers, Akron Aeroes, Carolina Mudcats and Lake County Captains will be included in this list. As always, a player is not considered a prospect once they have played a single game in the Majors and players are only eligible to be ranked once per season. Special notice should go to Jesus Aguilar who was ranked 5th in the first set of ten prospects and now leads all Indians minor leaguers with 22 RBI for Akron.

Francisco Lindor2 1. Francisco Lindor – SS – Advanced A Carolina – Drafted Round 1 in 2011

Lindor is considered not just the Indians top prospect, but one of the best short stops coming up in all of Minor League Baseball. He is so good, the Indians are already considering moving Dorssys Paulino (another great short stop prospect) to second or third so they can both play on the same team together. This also pushed another top infield prospect, Tony Wolters to be switched to catcher. 

So far early this Spring, Lindor is batting .321 with 3 triples and 7 steals (stats through 4/21) If he continues his progression at this pace he could finish the year in Akron and be starting in Columbus as early as 2014. As of now he definitely seems the heir apparant for Asdrubal Cabrera. I've saw him play in a few games in Spring Training and he is definitely Major League ready defensively and is closer than his current level would make him seem with the bat. 

2. Cody Anderson – SP – Advanced A Carolina – Drafted Round 14 in 2011

Anderson was the ace for the Lake County Captains lase season and has been even better so far this year in Akron. This is his third season with Cleveland and he looks to be one of the Indians top starting pitching prospects. In three starts he has allowed just four runs (2.25 ERA) and is 2-0. While the Indians have a glut of middle infield prospects, they aren't very deep in starting pitching at the minor league level, so Anderson should be particularly exciting. He will likely spend the entire season in Carolina, so he is still a few years away from the pros, but will be one to watch over the next few years.

3. Joseph Wendle – 2B – Advanced A Carolina – Drafted Round 6 in 2012

Just drafted last season, Wendle is yet to play a significant amount in the minors, but is already an exciting prospect. So far this year he is batting over .400 in a very impressive Mudcat offense, most of which is also on this top ten list. He has been a productive member of that offense, knocking in and scoring ten runs each. In 75 MiLB games since being drafted last season, he has a .342 average and 100 hits. He has played some at third base as well as second over the past two seasons, but is significantly better defensively at second.

Matt Langwell 4. Matt Langwell – P – AAA Columbus – Drafted Round 11 in 2008

The only member of the Clippers to make this month's list, mostly because the rest of the team is ineligible as they have already played in the Majors. Langwell started in the starting rotation, but was bumped out after injuries and roster moves stacked the Columbus rotation. In 5 games (8 innings), he is yet to allow a single run, and has only allowed 6 base runners (3 walks, 3 hits). With at least four starters ahead of him on the depth chart (Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Huff, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer), he is unlikely to see the Majors this year as a starter, but could be used as a short term reliever if an Ubaldo Jimenez start forces the Indians to use 8 innings of relief pitching in a single game.

Tyler Naquin 5. Tyler Naquin – OF – Advanced A Carolina – Drafted Round 1 in 2012

Similar to Wendle, Naquin was drafted last season and is now a big part of the Mudcats offense. He is batting just over .300 this season with 10 RBI and 10 runs of his own. Naquin played well this Spring for the Indians and should see an early call-up to AA as the most advanced player from the 2012 draft.

6. Michael Peoples – RP – A Lake County – Drafted Round 14 in 2012

Peoples has come up quick as a right handed reliever, holding an ERA of 1.65 in 32 career innings (0.00 ERA in 9 this year). Most impressively, he has struck out 12 batters already this year, giving him a K/9 of 12 (do the math on that one). He has also walked just two, giving him 6-1 K-BB ratio. He did have some issues defensively last season with three errors out of six fielding chances, but so far he fielded two balls in 2013 and is yet to make an error.

7. Toru Murata – SP – AA Akron – 2011 International Free Agent

Murata is going into his third season with the Indians at the ripe old age of 27 and has become a starter after initially being used in relief. This has been his best season (at least early on) at his highest level, averaging almost 6 innings and 5 strike outs per start. At his age, he will need a quick promotion to AAA before he gets to far past his prime to be a real Major League prospect.

Giovanny Urshela 8. Giovanny Urshela –  3B – AA Akron – 2008 International Free Agent

Urshela is one of the Indians top third base prospects at this point. He was the starting third baseman for his home country of Colombia in the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier and is now one of the top hitters on the Aeroes. Through less than a month he already has 5 doubles and 8 RBI. To go along with his production he has a line of .300/.333/.433, one of the best on the team. 

9. Eric Haase – C – A Lake County – Drafted Round 7 in 2011

Haase is having the best year to this point of his minor league career, batting almost .300 with 7 early season RBI. This is also the highest level Haase has played at. The Indians are incredibly weak at catcher below the Yan Gomes level, so any positive is huge for the organization.

10. Jacob Lee – SP – Advanced A Carolina – Drafted Round 9 in 2012

Lee was used mostly as a reliever in his first half season last year, but has been moved to the starting rotation and has impressed. He leads all Mudcats with his 16 strike outs and in his two years has struck out 63 in just 60 innings pitched.  The large amount of recent draft picks (from 2011 and 2012) on this list are from a combination of a weak upper level of the Indians system and great draft picks over the last two years. 

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since its inception in 2011. He also writes for The Outside Corner and the Comeback and hosts the Tribe Time Now podcast. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians. Follow on twitter @BurningRiverBB