It's that time again. Another month has passed and we have ten more prospects for you from the top four levels of the Cleveland Indians minor league system. These will be ranked #21 through #30 so far in 2013 with the top ten being found here and 10-20 located here.
1. Jose Flores – RP – AA Akron – 2007 International Free Agent
For the second season in a row, Flores has been listed among the Indians top relief prospects. After destroying for the Mudcats in 2012, he has been even better so far for the Aeros, striking out more than 10 per nine innings and holding both an ERA and WHIP near 1.00. He should definitely see time in Columbus in the near future, giving the Clippers almost as good of a bullpen as the parent club has.
2. Preston Guilmet – CP – AAA Columbus – Drafted Round 9 in 2009
Guilmet has been used as a closer at every level, ever since being drafted in 2009. He has also been incredibly successful at every level. Since 2010, he has never held an ERA above 3.00, has struck out more than 9 batters per nine innings and has saved 83 games. This season is no different as he faces his (hopefully) final step in his minor league career. At AAA he already has 14 saves (on pace for a career high) and has struck out 25 in just 22.2 innings. All this time he has just allowed 17 hits and 9 earned runs. Prospects like Guilmet can only make a strong bullpen even stronger and he should be expected to make an impact in 2014 at the latest. He has already proven himself against Major League hitting by saving one of two attempts this Spring for the Indians. He pitched in 6 games overall this Spring and allowed just two runs.
3. Jerrud Sabourin – 1B – Advanced A Carolina – 2011 Undrafted Free Agent
Sabourin is essentially the third ranked first baseman in the Indians system, behind Jesus Aguilar and Chun Chen. He ranks third on the Mudcats in batting average despite a .324 average. He is also one of five players with 15 or more RBI. Sabourin has advanced a level each year and improved each of his rate stats every year, to the point that they are more than respectible this year. While he isn't much of a power hitter, he takes his fair share of walks and has hit 10 doubles of his 46 hits.
4. Dylan Baker – SP – A Lake County – Drafted Round 5 in 2012
In just his second season, Baker is already looking very strong for the Captains. In seven starts (and one relief appearance), Baker has given up just 18 earned runs (3.89 ERA) and struck out 36. He has already shown his durability, pitching a complete game and is yet to give up a home run in 2013.
5. Logan Vick – RF – A Lake County – Drafted Round 11 in 2012
Vick is one of the top hitters for the Captains, second on the team with 16 RBI and 22 runs scored. It is early, but he looks to be another good prospect from the strong 2012 draft (one of six players already listed from that draft). Vick plays a very high demand position for the Indians as a natural outfielder and at the age of 22, still has time to develop into an even better player.
6. Francisco Valera – RP – AAA Columbus – International Free Agent 2008
The Indians obviously have some confidence in Valera who was brought straight to AAA from Lake County after three seasons at the rookie league level. In Columbus, he was used in long relief and threw three innings, allowing just a single hit while striking out three. He was successful in 'A' ball as well, striking out 16 batters in just above 17 innings while holding an ERA of 1.56.
7. J.D. Reichenbach – RP – Advanced A Carolina – 2010 Undrafted Free Agent
After a subpar year in 2012, Reichenbach looks to have returned to form as the pitcher who struck out 76 for Lake County in 2011. This season he has made great leaps forward, holding a career low ERA (2.38) and WHIP (1.10) a month into the season. He is one of the Indians top relief prospects, although he may be too low on the depth chart to ever see time with the Tribe.
8. Jake Sisco – SP – A Lake County – Drafted Round 3 in 2011
Sisco is another top starter pitching for Lake County. So far, 2013 is by far his best season of his three professional seasons and is at his highest level. Without increasing his strike out rate or decreasing his walk rate, he has managed to allow far less hits (1.20 WHIP) and runs (3.60 ERA). This could be due to luck somewhat, but at just 21 years old, advancements should be expected over his next couple of seasons. The 2011 draft was a strong one for the Tribe (including the picks of Cody Allen and Francisco Lindor) and Sisco could very well be one more above average player to come out of that class.
9. Justin Toole – Wherever you want – AA Akron – 2009 Undrafted Free Agent
The path has been very long for Justin Toole, but it may finally be reaching its conclusion. Toole graduated from the University of Iowa in 2009 and signed with the Independent Sioux City Explorers after he wasn't drafted. The Indians signed him from there and he advanced to the Short Season Scrappers. Justin is most famous for playing all nine positions for at least one inning in a single game in 2012 for the Mudcats (he gave up two home runs and struck out two during his one inning as pitcher). On a more day to day basis, he has played more than 100 games at second base and more than 50 at each first and third. He has spent almost 30 games in the outfield and close to 50 at short stop while just pitching in two games and catching the one inning last year. He is the ultimate utility man (he is batting .364 with five walks in 40 PA since advancing to Akron) and hopefully my nickname for him will stick as the "Nine Toole Player."
10. Bryce Stowell – RP – AAA Columbus – Drafted Round 22 in 2008
Stowell is in his fourth season with the Aeros and is playing like it is finally time to move him up. At 26 years old, his time as a prospect is running out, but his 2.21 ERA and career K/9 of over 13 at AA show that he has at least learned how to get AA hitters out. Nothing much is expected of a 22nd round pick, so any benefit gained from Stowell would be a bonus. Stowell was promoted to Columbus today.