June 2013 Prospect Report

This is the fourth installment of the prospect rankings in 2013 and will feature the 31st through 40th best Indians prospects. The Dominican Summer League, Arizona Rookie League and Short Season A Ball all started during June, increasing the amount of prospects considered by almost double. Because of the late starts, the DSL Indians will be the only team of the three listed to be eligible this month, but every minor league team in the system will included next month. The amateur draft occurred this month as well, but, like last year, these players will be saved for a special edition at the end of the season.

1. Joe Sever – 2B – A Lake County – Drafted Round 21 in 2012
Sever was a late round draft pick last season, but has already played for Carolina. Across two levels, he is batting .294 with 25 RBI and 12 doubles in 57 games. Sever has been splitting time between first base, third base and his primary position of second. In all, he has committed just four errors this year, three of which have come at first base, a new position for him. He has spent most of his time there this year as the Indians appear to be moving Sever as Francisco Lindor, Dorssys Paulino and Joseph Wendle all sit in front of him at the middle infield positions. 

2. Shawn Morimando – SP – A+ Carolina – Drafted Round 19 in 2011
Not only does Morimando have an awesome last name, but he also has an ERA under 3.00 in thirteen starts. He has moved up one level each season he has been with the Tribe minor league system, skipping Mahoning Valley altogether. He doesn't seem to have missed a beat as he has improved at every level with this being his best season to date. He seem to be another gem from the great 2011 draft and should make an appearance in AA by the end of this season or the beginning of 2014.

3. LeVon Washington – CF – A Lake County – Drafted Round 2 in 2010
Washington was considered a top prospect at one point, but has dealt with injuries the past few years that forced him to go all the way back to Rookie Ball to get back into shape. He is now back with the Captains after making it as far as Carolina in 2012. He has missed time again this year, but is currently batting .351 with 12 extra base hits in 22 games. Washington has a quick bat, great speed (9 steals this year and 15 in 2011) and is a good defender. If he can stay healthy, he is just the kind of natural athlete that all managers want.

4. Jack Wagoner – RP – A Lake County – Drafted Round 33 in 2011
Wagoner is in his third season in the Indians minor leagues and is having his best year yet. He has been used exclusively out of the bullpen for the Captains so far this year and is faring well, with an ERA just above 3.00 in almost 30 innings. He has also shown a penchant for the strike out, k'ing more than 10 batters per nine innings. As a late round pick, the Indians are moving Wagoner slowly through the system, but he may eventually make it to the high levels as relief pitchers are among the most difficult players to judge.

5. Austin Adams – RP – AA Akron – Drafted Round 5 in 2009
Adams has been a top starting pitching prospect since he was drafted in 2009, but has had his own issues with injuries and missed all of 2012. He had been a starter (and a very good one) during his whole career, but has been switched to reliever this year, most likely to slowly work his innings back up and keep the wear off his arm. He seems to have lost nothing during his lost year with a K/9 of more than 13 and an ERA under 3.00 in 2013. If Adams can make it to AAA this year, he should be good enough to see time in Cleveland as soon as 2014, making him a great story and a possible great asset to the Indians.

6. Chris Wallace – C – AAA Columbus – Trade from Houston for Eric Berger
Wallace is one of very few players eligible for the list in Columbus and he is a new comer to the team arriving in April in exchange for the pitcher who was originally ranked 8th in this years prospect rankings. Wallace has played well since his arrival (first with Akron and now with Columbus), batting .302 overall with 15 RBI. He has only played 27 games with the Indians minor league programs

Matt Packer 7. Matt Packer – SP – AA Akron – Drafted Round 32 in 2009
Packer has been a long time coming, but is finally working towards that final step of making to the big leagues (or at least AAA). He had a shot last season for the Clippers, but blew it, allowing 21 runs in six starts. This year he is dominating at Akron yet again (his second great season in AA and fourth overall with the Aeros) and should get another chance with the Clip Show. As a 30+ round draft pick from five year ago, nothing is expected from Packer so anything he can give the Indians, even at the AAA level, would be a bonus.

8. Alexis De Los Santos – 3B – DSL Indians – 2012 International Free Agent
The Dominican Summer League is hard to judge for a few reasons. The disparity of talent makes the statistics look similar to the early years of baseball with many pitchers holding ERAs under 2.00 and some hitters looking like All-Stars to the detriment of the weaker players. Because of this, only a few players from this level will be featured. There have been a few good minor leaguers to come out of the Indians DSL team, including Danny Salazar, Jose Flores and Jesus Aguilar who are all ranked among this year's top prospects. De Los Santos has just played 10 games for the Indians, but already knocked in ten runs and walked seven times and is hitting over .300.

9. Ryan Merritt – SP – A Lake County – Drafted Round 16 in 2011
Merritt is the second best starter for the Captains (after Jake Sisco) and leads the team in innings, strike outs and wins. His ERA of over 4.00 may not be impressive on it's own, but two of the Captains top five starters and their most used reliever have ERAs over 6.00. Merritt looks good for a late round draft pick and should make it to Carolina at some point this year.

10. Erick Algarin – SP – DSL Indians – 2012 International Free Agent
Algarin is another DSL player and through just three starts is looking like the top starter for the Indians. He has thrown 12.1 innings and struck out 12, allowing just four earned runs over that time. His inclusion on this list needs to be taken in more warily than De Los Santos as last season there were three top pitchers from the DSL Indians featured and none of them are to be found in the Indians minor league system at all this year. It is possible they will play for either Arizona or Mahoning Valley who haven't started up yet, but considering the rate that players simply disappear from the Dominican Leagues, don't expect it.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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