Two years ago, the Indians spent their 1st-round pick on a 21-year-old out of Texas A&M, a player with a solid bat, good wheels, and the potential to move quickly through the system to help the team as an outfielder who got on base at a high rate.
In our draft prep, we spent some time talking about Tyler Naquin, including his possible role on the 2017 Indians. He earned that chatter thanks to a solid May, posting a .328/.370/.434 line with 2 HR for Double-A Akron. Since the calendar turned to June, Naquin has turned things up even further, moving from that good line to a great one: He's hitting .404/.435/.579 over the last 2+ weeks, with another couple home runs.
After a mediocre April, Naquin's line for the season is now .325/.375/.449, with 4 HR and 14 SB. At 23 years old, Naquin is threatening to push his way into the lineup at Triple-A Columbus. To better analyze how well Naquin is playing, it helps to have some context, such as the development of the other eight outfielders drafted with him in the first round of the 2012 draft:
Before we dive into the numbers, it is worth noting that Byron Buxton is dealing with a wrist injury and has not played much, but he was rated as the top prospect in all of baseball by most prominent outlets before the season began. If healthy, he would almost certainly be the class of this class.
If you focus on the stats, and the level each guy is at, a few players stand out:
- James Ramsey, like Naquin, is dominating AA pitching and is probably in need of a bigger challenge before too long.
- Lewis Brinson is getting on base with regularity. He had 21 HR and 24 SB a year ago, as well. He may have been taken last, but he looks like great value.
- Courtney Hawkins and David Dahl are both putting up solid lines; Dahl showing a bit more power (at least in terms of slugging if not HR) and speed.