At the Major League level, this might be the most confusing review to write. With some guys performing way differently than they did a year ago. In the minors, there is not much to get excited about.
Previous entries in the series:
As per usual, prospects are selected from the Beyond the Boxscore consensus prospects list, and I'm covering everyone in the top 25 on that list at any of these three positions.
At 1B, the incumbent is Nick Swisher. Two years into a four-year deal (with a vesting fifth year option), Swish has been something of a disappointment, Brohio notwithstanding. It's worth noting that his May has been better than his April. Regardless, Swisher will be on the roster through 2016, and unless they can keep him under 550 PA that year, he'll be back for 2017, as well.
At 3B, the starter remains Carlos Santana, despite his weak hitting and the hot start from the next guy on this list. The good news is that his putrid BABIP has to improve and when it does, his elite bat should return with it. And we'll be continuing to enjoy that bat at 3B (or C, or DH, or 1B, or somewhere) through 2017. He could be gone after 2016, but that $12MM option will likely be a steal.
Behind both of these guys at the corners is Lonnie Chisenhall. Chiz is hitting an absurd number of line drives, showing the sweet stroke that made him a top prospect not long ago. The Indians have him under team control through the 2017 season. By the way, if you are seeing a team-control pattern with these guys, you've picked up on the probable need some help at the corner spots in three years.
Behind the plate is the Brazilian Bomber, Yan Gomes. This year Gomes has been only slightly less of an offensive force than he was in 2013, which is great because at this rate, he'll be a great deal through his two option years, keeping him in Cleveland through 2021.
Remember when I said there wasn't much to get excited about? Here are the only three guys who made the top 25:
Francisco Mejia won't turn 18 until after the season. This will be his first full pro season. He is very raw. So take this for what it is worth - I have read multiple scouts and analysts who tell you that he has the highest ceiling of any player in the organization, and that includes another Francisco you may have heard of. He's a bat-first catcher and is years away. But he's a guy to watch (and may be the only reason those 2020 and 2021 options on Gomes aren't necessary.
With the inordinate depth at middle infield in the organization, Tony Wolters has been shifted to catcher (while still playing some second base). Depending who you ask, his future could be "solid, everyday catcher" or "decent bench piece." If nothing else, his flexibility to play multiple positions will be an asset, and I could easily see him playing some infield and some catcher in a bench role if his bat develops. He's in AA, so likely a 2015 or maybe even 2016 guy, depending how fast he takes to the new position.
Jesus Aguilar has 10 MLB PA this year, and likely has more coming. Potentially impressive power will carry him, and if he can hit well enough on non-HR balls, he could be a decent starting 1B - not a guy you need to lock up long-term or anything, but someone you aren't embarrassed to trot out daily. A platoon role may be more likely, but Aguilar will get a shot, one way or another.