ESPN's Keith Law has his ranking posted today. It's an ESPN Insider article that is currently available as a free preview. I really enjoy reading his stuff (despite/because of his ego, I'm not sure). He's got just two Indians in the Top 100 (Miller at #29 and Weglarz at #62).
He fielded questions in his chat this afternoon about the rankings, including these two mentions of the Indians' system:casey Johnson (san mateo ca): was chuck lofgran close to cracking his list? hows his future looking? We went to High School together AND im a huge Indians fan
Keith Law: (1:21 PM ET ) Not really close - his numbers took a big dive this year, and his breaking ball isn't going to be good enough for him to start in the majors (unless it improves, that is). Lefties with good changeups have a hard time cracking big-league bullpens, because most teams want lefties who get left-handed hitters out.
John (Chi): Two questions: When you were in Toronto, did you ever read any Robertson Davies? If not, I really suggest Fifth Business. Second, your rankings seem to suggest the Indians farm cupboard is pretty bare? What're your thoughts on their system?
Keith Law: (1:37 PM ET ) It is pretty bare. I know it's all chic to say that they're the new "model franchise," but their drafts have kind of sucked for a long time now, and their farm system has not been all that productive outside of prospects they acquired in trade. That speaks well to a pro scouting process, but I don't know that that alone is a recipe for long-term success.
Law's comment about the Indians' poor drafting is, I'd have to say, fair - particularly for 1st round picks: here's the full list.
I realize that the MLB draft is very difficult to predict and that the Indians have been unlucky with injuries to some of these guys (e.g. Aubrey), but my worry - and I know this is mostly anecdotal - is that they may have a propensity to draft easily projectable/low risk (e.g. Huff) over high ceiling/high risk types. Maybe it's just that the Huff pick still unnecessarily bothers me, but this worry of mine tends to align itself with the common evaluation (e.g. Tony Lastoria's fine content linked here earlier) given to the Indians' system as one that is deep yet lacks impact players. Despite this (and acknowledging that many of the Indians' top prospects are in the Major Leagues already) I remain very optimistic about the overall health of the club.
Spring Training is merely weeks away! Pitchers and catchers report on the 15th!