This will be the second to last installment of the Minor League rankings for the 2012 season. The players listed are technically 31-40 on the Indians Minor League prospect list according to this site. No players from the 2012 draft have been included in any lists so far, but instead will be featured in their own article later on. The same standards have been used for this month as in May, July and August.
1. Cole Cook – P – AAA Columbus – Drafted Round 5 in 2010
With the Indians in desperate need of young pitching at a high level, Cole Cook has been thrown into the light. Moves taking starting pitchers from Columbus and moving them to Cleveland have opened up spots in AAA allowing Cook to show the amazing stuff he has been throwing all season. Breaking some of the Indians conservative standards, Cook has jumped four levels in 2012, playing in Lake County, Carolina, Akron and Columbus. Overall he held an ERA of 2.64 (78.1 IP) across 43 games mostly in relief. This was Cook’s first season as a reliever and once he made it to Columbus, he was used as a starter again. He is the kind of talent that shouldn’t be wasted in the bullpen unless he proves inable to pitch deep into games as a starter. Cook could possibly see time with Cleveland as early as late 2013, but will more likely advance in 2014.
2. Anthony Vizcaya – P – R DSL Indians – 2011 International Free Agent
This 18 year old Venezuelan has stood out in a very impressive DSL rotation. Vizcaya has started 12 games allowing a total of seven runs. His WHIP of 0.851 is even more impressive than his ERA of 0.94. While there is certainly some adjustments that have to be made for the league he played in, he still finished second among all DSL pitchers in ERA, so his numbers are legitimate in that way. Vizcaya is just in his first professional season, but is already showing some promise. With any luck he could be the next Fausto Carmona and the Indians need one of those, because there is no Fausto Carmona anymore.
3. Enosil Tejada – P – A Lake County – 2009 International Free Agent
Tejada has been extremely successful in each of his first three years with the Indians organization. Since his first season he has been used exclusively as a reliever, this year holding a WHIP under 1.00 and an ERA of 1.39. In his one starting season he struck out 78 batters in just over 70 innings. While he has been used as a closer, picking up 23 saves over the past two years, he still averages more than an inning a game, so it is not inconceivable that he could be transitioned back into a starter. He was so successful in his half a season at Lake County this year, it would be hard to believe that he won’t spend most of 2013 with the Mudcats in Advanced A ball.
Bryson has been around a long time (drafted in 2006), but has finally gotten to the next level, dominating for the Western Division champion Aeoros from the bullpen. Bryson pitched in a career high 43 games and threw 65.1 innings, the most since 67.1 in at A level the year he was traded. If Bryson can make it to the Majors and produce, there will be no way to look at the Sabathia trade other than as a complete win for the Indians. Michael Brantley is a starting centerfielder, who could some day be an All-Star and win multiple Gold Gloves, while the Brewers only had Sabathia for one season and they didn’t win the World Series. The Indians had no chance at the playoffs that year and C.C. was going to sign with the Yankees after the season no matter what. If Bryson makes it to the top it will just be a little extra icing on the cake.
5. Rafael Homblert – RP – SS Mahoning Valley – 2009 International Free Agent
If there is one thing the Indians have in excess it is relief pitching. Homblert is another great reliever coming up, who after two years in the Rookie Leagues has finally gotten control of his command and is ready to move. Homblert spend the entire Short Season with the Scrappers holding a 2.34 ERA in just over 30 innings. On the season he only walked eight while striking out 21, a huge step up after walking 42 over his past two seasons. He should be moving to Lake County for 2013 and could possible skip a level at some point seeing as he played three full seasons at the lower levels. He is still just 21 so he has a few years to work with before he is considered an old man in the minors.
6. Jordan Cooper – P – A+ Carolina – Drafted Round 9 in 2010
In his third year with the Tribe, Cooper set career highs in wins, games played and strike outs while setting career lows in ERA, WHIP and home runs allowed. Cooper was used primarily as a reliever in Carolina, but did start seven games. Cooper has been right on schedule to this point and should play for Akron next year. Assuming he can continue his present rate of success, he could be in Cleveland as early as late 2014.
Lawson is in his sixth season in the minors and his second since coming over during the offseason for lefthanded starter Aaron Laffey. He is another player that vastly benefited from a second season at one level. This year in Akron he crushed opponents, running a slash line of .327/.408/.459 each of those numbers being at least 60 points higher than his last season at that same level. Lawson also brought his counting stats up this year, scoring 20 times and knocking in 23 during just 60 games. Most importantly, he has just 13 errors in his last 158 games at a prime defensive position over the past two seasons. His promotions at the minor league level will be directly tied to Cord Phelps, the regular starting second baseman in Columbus. Because there is no room on the Indians roster for Phelps, whose position is in the firm grasp of Jason Kipnis, Phelps has been stuck in AAA. With the block of Kipnis being entrenched at second, these players will need to find some more versatility to make it to the Major League level.
8. Anthony Santander – OF – R AZL Indians – 2011 International Free Agent
Santander was signed the same day as star infielder Dorssys Paulino, so he may have been overlooked, but he definitely deserves respect on his own merit. In the short Arizona Summer League, Anthony batted .305 and knocking in 32 (second on the team behind Jorge Martinez). Santander also showed some power on a team almost completely devoid of it. He was third on the team in extra base hits with 20 and fourth in home runs. Santander is the third offensive player to watch from this years AZL Indians team following the two listed last month (Paulino and Martinez).
9. Breily Puerta – RP – R AZL Indians – 2010 International Free Agent
The AZL Indians definitely had some pitching issues this year, but Puerta was a bright spot. He threw 35 innings in relief, striking out 35 and allowing just 14 earned runs. Used often when the starting pitcher struggled early, he pitched almost two innings per outing and managed to grab four wins by keeping the Indians in games that they otherwise wouldn’t have been. This is his second year with the Indians and both have been tremendous. It will be very interesting to see if his prowess can continue at the next level in 2013.
10. Delvi Cid – CF – A+ Carolina – 2006 International Free Agent
One thing that is lacking in the Indians minor league system is speed in a prospect that has any chance of making it big and here Cid looks like a bright spot. Playing the entire season for the Mudcats, he tallied 32 steals (down from 71 in 2010 with Lake County) while just being caught 10 times. Most impressively during his second season at advanced A Cid has improved all the other parts of his game. In less than 20 more games Delvi raised his batting average by 84 points (to .281) and his slugging percent by .179 (to .431). These improvements along with career highs in doubles, triples and home runs show a great upward trend. Although he is still years away, defensive minded, speed outfielders are always in demand and we will hopefully be seeing Cid in Cleveland in the future.