The Minor League seasons are wrapping up, with all but the Scrappers done with regular season play by September 2nd (the Scrappers end two days later). At this point, most players who have a Major League future have already been covered, but there are still a few players in need of recognition. These are the final ten players to be featured this year before we start over again in 2014.
1. Bryson Myles – OF – A+ Carolina – Drafted Round 6 in 2011
Myles is in his third professional season and has spent the entire year with the Mudcats. He has already set career highs in runs and home runs and is slugging 40 points higher than his career average. Myles is a slightly above average baserunner, stealing 53 bases in his first three years. He has also proven versatile in the outfield as he has played all three positions, including seven errorless games in center this year.
2. Nellie Rodriguez – 1B – SS Mahoning Valley – Drafted Round 15 in 2012
Rodriguez struggled early in the year with the Lake County Captains, but has excelled since being sent down to Mahoning Valley. With the Scrappers, he has hit seven home runs and knocked in 32 while batting .297. This is just his second season in the Indians system, so it is understandable that he wasn't ready for 'A' ball yet. He should be ready for Lake County by next season as Rodriguez will be entering his 20 year old season.
3. Richard Stock – C – A Lake County – Drafted Round 23 in 2012
Stock is yet another possible high level prospect pulled from the incredibly deep 2012 draft. He is the fourth catcher covered during the 2013 Prospect Reports, but is most likely to make a splash at the Major League level at that position. In just 47 games this year, he has hit 15 extra base hits and knocked in 27. He should be the starting catcher in Carolina next year and could possibly make it as far as Akron in 2014. Depending on other moves, Stock could be the next Indians catcher when Yan Gomes time runs out.
4. Francisco Lopez – SP – DSL Indians – 2012 International Free Agent
Lopez is in his fist professional season and has started completely on fire. For the Dominican Summer League Indians, Lopez has started seven games and saved another. In 35.1 innings, he has already struck out 41, taking advantage of the disparity among players in the DSL. Through those 11 games, he has allowed just eight earned runs, good for a 2.04 ERA. He should be advanced to either Arizona or Mahoning Valley, next year where the Indians will learn how real his rookie season has been.
5. Grant Sides – RP – A Lake County – Drafted Round 12 in 2011
Like Rodriguez, Sides was started at a higher level (Advanced A Carolina) where he struggled and then dropped back. At Lake County he had one of his best years so far, keeping an ERA of 1.25 in 14 games. Overall, between the two levels, he has held a K/9 above 10 for the second season in a row, one of the more important stats for a minor league pitcher. His failure at Carolina is a little worrying, however, as it was his second chance at that level. If he can't cut it with the Mudcats next season, it may be time already to give up on him, but there is obviously some talent there.
6. Edward Estrella – SP – DSL Indians – 2010 International Free Agent
Estrella has already spent more time with the DSL Indians than most players as the good are advanced quickly and the bad are released. Estrella was almost too successful as an 18 year old relief pitchers last season, so he was held back to transition into a starter. He made the move smoothly, pitching almost as efficiently as a starter as he did as a reliever last season. His one major improvement was in striking out batters where he has increased his K/9 by almost four batters per nine innings, striking out 52 in 63 innings.
7. Paddy Matera – 3B – A+ Carolina – Free Agent Signed in 2013
Matera can be considered a success story of sorts. After graduating from Lynn College in 2009, he went undrafted and signed with the most famous Independent baseball team, the Newark Bears. After three and a half seasons in the Independent Leagues, he finally was noticed by a Major League team when the Indians signed him and placed him with the Mudcats. He has excelled there, knocking in 31 runs and scoring 43 in just 60 games, primarily at third base. He is also fluent at second and short stop.
8. Breily Puerta – RP – SS Mahoning Valley – 2010 International Free Agent
In the unending list of talented relievers in the Indians minor league systems, the final mentioned this year will be Puerta. It is a little hard to evaluate Puerta who has spent three years in shortened minor league seasons and this year he has thrown just 29.2 innings. He has pitched well for the Scrappers in that limited time (2.43 ERA, 9.4 K/9) and is will be exciting to his his results in his first full season next year.
9. Claudio Bautista – 2B/3B – SS Mahoning Valley – 2010 International Free Agent
Bautista started this year with the Captains to get some extra at bats, then was sent to his proper level as soon as the Scrappers season started. With Mahoning Valley he has hit 19 extra base hits in 52 games. He created 57 runs (R+RBI-HR) between the two levels as a productive infielder. He is still just 19 and while he may not be a top prospect, he is definitely the kind of player that could become a serviceable utility player. Not only is he very familiar with third and second, he has played a few games at short stop over the past few years and could be used there in an emergency.
10. Ordomar Valdez – 2B – AZL Indians – 2010 International Free Agent
Valdez has essentially been the top offensive player for the Arizona League Indians that wasn't drafted in 2013 (there will be a separate report describing the feats of the latest draft class coming next month). In 35 games split between second and third he has set a career high with 19 RBI and a .295 batting average. This is Valdez's first year in American baseball (after two with the Indians DSL team) and his success will likely merit a promotion to Mahoning Valley next season.