2010 Top Prospects: (sort of) Interesting hitters

I have qualified this list of "interesting" hitters more than I did with the equivalent list of pitchers.  This group consists largely of mediocre players near the big league level and guys with short track records but interesting ceilings deep in the minors.  The position prospects who spent the second half of the season at Lake County and Kinston were, largely, forgettable. With the crop of 2010 draftees filtering through, and a few young international players improving, that will likely change in 2011.

Ezequiel Carrera (23.1, AAA)

Carrera
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
441
693
20
70
7.5
15.5
5.95
-11
2009
405
857
18
79
14.6
15.3
7.68
+16
2008
494
737
30
130
9.3
17.4
4.68
0

Ezequiel should be the Indians fourth outfielder in the near future.  Carrera's calling cards are defense, speed, and decent on base abilities.  To the extent that he has any power at all, it comes from his feet in the form of hustled out doubles and triples.  Carrera does not profile as a starter, but as an outfield replacement capable of providing above-average defense at all three positions and speed on the basepaths, I would gladly accept him over Trevor Crowe.

Jordan Henry (22.1, AA)

Henry
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
530
767
16
44
14.3
16.2
5.38
+23
2009
306
743
12
49
16.0
12.1
2.78
+42

Henry is actually very similar to Carrera in style and skill, albeit with a bigger frame (6'3") and superior plate discipline.  At three stops in the system since being drafted in 2009, Henry has shown excellent patience (BB% >15%), base-running ability (51SB, 7CS), and defense (175 starts in CF).  Given his speed and size, Henry's total lack of power is somewhat surprising, but his high GB-rates (>50%) suggest there isn't a lot of power coming.  Nevertheless I think Henry has a higher ceiling than Carrera, as while they have the same skill set, Henry employs it more effectively.

Jared Goedert (25.1, AAA)

Goedert
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
548
890
65
249
9.7
20.4
4.93
+10
2009
359
657
28
124
9.5
13.1
1.35
+16
2008
541
709
34
118
10.5
14.4
1.22
+13
2007
354
1020
39
273
16.4
15.3
6.90
+42

Jared Goedert (go-dirt) entered Cleveland Indians lore when, in 2007, he abused low-A pitcher to the tune of .364/.473/.715 for two months.  Despite getting the highest percentage of hard-hit balls award that season (does that come with a trophy?), Goedert then vanished.  Rumor has it he circulated through Kinston and Akron the next two seasons, but you would not have noticed it based on the boxscores.  But there he was in Akron at the start of this year, once again showing above average power.  A promotion to Columbus midway through the year actually prompted an increase in power from Goedert.  If what he did this year was indicative of his true skill level, the offensive ability is there, with solid power and average plate discipline.  The problem is defense, where as a third baseman he is marginal at best.  The Indians, of course, have an opening at third, but seem hesitant to put Goedert in the field.  His best shot at Cleveland is as an injury replacement for Hafner or LaPorta, crossing his fingers that he can hit with power in the bigs.

John Drennen (23.9, AA)

Drennen
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
486
789
39
134
6.8
11.5
4.25
+12
2009
431
774
43
168
7.7
16.0
4.80
0
2008
517
631
31
82
8.9
14.1
1.62
-1
2007
565
727
40
137
9.4
18.4
4.22
-17
2006
405
809
29
130
10.6
18.0
5.88
-7

As a small-bodied, low-skilled, 1st round outfield pick, Drennen bears no small similarity to Trevor Crowe.  Drennen gives up a little in OBP and adds a little in power, but the two are fundamentally similar prospects.  The window for Drennen to "break-out" into something greater than he has been has probably passed at this point, but like Crowe, he might get a shot at some point.

Juan Diaz (21.5, A+)

Diaz
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
514
716
27
99
6.6
18.7
4.43
-33
2009
355
824
32
143
6.8
18.3
7.23
-8
2008
497
581
23
73
5.6
17.3
3.18
-39

Wait..we traded a veteran 1B for a young middle infielder from Seattle again?  Yes.  Juan Diaz is v.4.0 and could be interesting in the future.  He is young at the moment and has not fully established himself at the plate. (his A+ numbers in the Seattle system were in the hitter-friendly Cal-League).  Given his relative lack of power, it would be nice to see him improve his plate control (or his power) going forward.  Diaz actually has a similar profile to Carlos Rivero at his age, without the potential for significant power developing as he ages.

Matt McBride (25.1, AAA)

McBride
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
531
814
53
200
6.6
14.9
3.57
+5
2009
545
829
62
202
5.3
10.5
3.72
+33
2008
180
796
17
153
10.0
10.6
2.67
+19
2007
482
792
47
152
7.9
11.2
4.10
+32

At this point McBride doesn't profile as a positive asset anywhere in the field, and his bat probably is not good enough to earn him a spot in Cleveland.  He has slightly above average contact skills with slightly above average power.  If either skill was more developed (not likely given his age) or his defense was more of a plus, McBride could be a conversation topic.  As it is I don't see him in Cleveland's future.  I will say, though, that his combination of low strikeout totals and decent power is fairly unusual.

Below the fold: Bo Greenwell, Roberto Perez, Tim Fedroff, Kyle Bellows, Karexon Sanchez, Delvi Cid, Jonathan Burnette, Tyler Holt, Giovanny Urshela and Juan Romero

Bo Greenwell (21.8, A+)

Greenwell
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
560
776
31
94
10.2
15.2
3.63
+6
2009
269
766
21
108
8.6
9.3
3.87
+22

Another in the line of low-power, contact driven corner outfielders.  Bo was one of the best hitters in the system at making contact a year ago (9.3% K-rate), but saw his Ks spike after his Kinston promotion this year.  Since he is younger than Drennen or Crowe there is perhaps more potential for some kind of breakout (and he certainly has better contact skills than the former).  More than likely, though, Greenwell, despite his pedigree, is set to wander the AA and AAA ranks for awhile, garnering interest during his hot periods, and looking like a non-prospect during his cool ones.  I'm happy to be wrong, of course.

Roberto Perez (21.5, A)

Perez
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
466
699
31
118
17.2
18.9
4.15
+20
2009
232
842
17
147
10.8
22.0
6.63
-9

Rated by BA as the Indians best defensive catcher, Perez's ceiling is as a major league backup.  His .217 batting average in LC this year obscures decent underlying peripherals (including a ridiculous walk-rate), but his ability to leverage his defensive skills are going to depend on his ability to hit.  That .217 average in this case might actually be indicative of his struggles at the plate, reinforced by his struggles in the AFL against tougher competition this offseason (.159/.213/.205).

Tim Fedroff (23.3, AA)

Fedroff
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
501
715
27
92
9.6
18.0
3.62
-17
2009
449
764
29
103
14.3
21.2
3.43
+5

Stop me if you have heard this before...marginal corner outfielder with little power projection.  Fedroff is another of this kind.  Fedroff's problem is he hits everything, or nearly everything (near 60% the past two seasons), on the ground.  It is hard to make that work.  In the stretches where he isn't hitting so many grounders he does better, such as July in Akron this year when he got his GB-rate under 50 and his ISO up to nearly .200 for the month.  I don't see a lot of upside here.

Abner Abreu (20.7, A+)

Abreu
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
435
651
31
110
4.6
29.9
2.65
-72
2009
265
839
27
183
4.2
25.7
5.78
-30

Abreu, on the other hand, is a guy with power upside potential.  He looked like a breakout prospect a year ago until he dislocated his shoulder diving for an outfield catch.  This year was not a good recovery.  Abner's poor plate discipline worsened and his power vanished.  He is young, though, and perhaps another year removed from the injury he will have better results.

Kyle Bellows (21.9, A+)

Bellows
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
512
703
36
132
7.6
17.8
3.32
-18
2009
223
716
15
165
9.0
13.5
2.53
+9

Nothing about Bellows numbers suggest he is noteworthy, pretty average across the board.  I include him here, though, because he is one of the few players in the system who profiles as a well above average defender, in the case of Bellows as a third baseman.  Bellows glove should give him a chance to improve on his hitting and his big body (6'3", 210) suggests there might be some power there somewhere.

Karexon Sanchez (22.9, A+)

Sanchez
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
552
770
37
135
13.6
20.7
2.93
-7
2009
542
725
38
141
12.9
25.1
2.18
-23
2008
479
733
39
165
7.9
24.6
3.32
-45

In addition to having the best scrabble name in the system, Karexon is mildly interesting as an infield prospect. Sanchez has always shown decent power and the ability to take a walk, but has been plagued by K-totals too high for a player with his limited batting ability.  He brought that number down to about 20% this year, which, when mixed with his walks and perhaps some power growth, could make him an interesting utility option someday.  It would be a long-shot, but it is possible.

Delvi Cid (20.9, A)

Cid
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
570
618
20
51
6.3
23.2
1.90
-37
2009
407
673
16
63
7.6
26.8
3.82
-61

Cid is worth mentioning because of only one thing.  He has the distinction of being the Indians most prolific base-runner (71 SB, 16 CS in 2010), despite being an otherwise dreadful hitter.  His stolen bases should have propelled him to a high net (his NetSB is +39), but his stunningly bad strikeout totals (his 132 led the system) instead deliver him a terrible -36.  If he can't learn to make contact and walk, there is nothing to see here, no matter how fast he can run the bases.

Jonathan Burnette (22.1, A)

Every year it seems someone gets drafted, signs right away, and puts up a solid full (half) season at Mahoning Valley.  In 2008 it was Lonnie Chisenhall (28 XBHs in 68 games), last year it was Kyle Bellows (7 HRs in 54 games), this year it was Jonathan "Chase" Burnette, who had 25 XBHs, including 8 HRs, in 72 games for the Scrappers.  Burnette even got a final two week promotion to LC where he hit another HR and had a few doubles.  Burnette does not offer any defensive value, but maybe the lefty from GT has some life in him.

Tyler Holt (21.3, A)

Holt
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
89
866
10
171
16.9
13.5
5.13
+12

Ok, now we are getting into the small sample size area.  Holt, a 10th round pick this year, only got in 22 games.  But the team felt confident enough in him to start him at LC, where he was their best hitter in those games.  Had Holt carried out his pace for a whole season (.286/.409/.457) he would definitely have been someone to notice.  We have less to go on with Holt, but he has a higher ceiling than many on this list and it will be interesting to see where he is placed to begin 2011.

Juan Romero (17.1, Rk)

Romero
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
162
804
19
242
9.9
41.4
6.80
-32

Romero really has no business on this list.  I just felt like I had to include a guy who, as a barely 17-year old, but up impressive power numbers (ISO .242)...almost as impressive as his 41% strikeout rate.

Giovanny Urshela (18.8, A-)

Urshela
PA
OPS
XBH
ISO
BB%
K%
PS
Net
2010
243
693
11
77
4.9
13.2
3.25
-10

Urshela gets a mention only because of his youth and defense.  The NY-Penn League is populated with lots of 3 and 4-year college players, so for an 18 year old to hold his own and play solid defense at a premium position at least deserves mentioning.

I'll put together one final piece recapping the offense and providing a few summary statements on the system as a whole.  Hopefully these recaps will provide you with some sense of reassurance that there is actually talent in the system, in some cases lots of it.  But there are also obvious holes that need to be addressed.  More on those in the next installment.

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