Baseball writer John Sickels has been prepping his upcoming book, the 2009 Baseball Prospect Handbook, on his blog by releasing the top prospects for each team.
He recently released his top Cleveland Indians prospects with letter grades. Although the material on each is rather thin, it at least gives an indication as to organizational depth. Without further ado, here is his list:
1) Carlos Santana, C, Grade B+: His future could look a lot like Victor Martinez’s past.
2) Matt LaPorta, 1B-OF, Grade B+: Plate discipline slippage after trade is a bit worrisome, but small sample and past track record keeps me confident at this point.
3) Adam Miller, RHP, Grade B: Grade A arm, Grade C health record. I think he will be better off in relief.
4) Beau Mills, 1B, Grade B: Another power bat with impressive home run upside. Not sure how they will fit all these guys into the lineup.
5) Hector Rondon, RHP, Grade B: Good arm, good stats, not sure why he isn’t ranked more highly by other sources.
6) Lonnie Chisenhall, SS, Grade B-: Promising and projectable bat. Questions about home run power and probable move to third base preclude higher grade right now.
7) Nick Weglarz, OF, Grade B-: Excellent strike zone judgment, power should continue to grow. Bad defense an issue.
8 ) David Huff, LHP, Grade B-: Successful finesse lefty type, Jamie Moyer upside, but could struggle like Sowers.
9) Carlos Rivero, SS, Grade B-: I buy into the second half improvement. Want to see more home run power, and faces move to third base.
10) Scott Lewis, LHP, Grade C+: Similar to Huff, perhaps not quite as much stuff.
11) Michael Brantley, OF-1B, Grade C+: Love the combination of walks, speed, and very low strikeout rate. Lack of power precludes higher grade but he should be useful.
12) Kelvin De La Cruz, LHP, Grade C+: Projectable lefty made good progress in ’08, but command still worrisome.
13) Wes Hodges, 3B, Grade C+: A solid bat, but glove at third base has slipped and he may not hit enough for first.
14) Matt McBride, C-OF, Grade C+: Very interesting bat, good plate discipline with power potential, a sleeper for ’09.
15) Luis Valbuena, 2B, Grade C+: Solid middle infielder acquired from Mariners. Some pop and speed.
16) John Meloan, RHP, Grade C+: I think he fits better in the pen than in the rotation. Needs to sharpen command.
17) Zach Putnam, RHP, Grade C+: Personal favorite from the 2008 draft. Very good arm, a good hitter too, does he start or relieve?
18) Trevor Crowe, OF, Grade C+: Made some progress after poor 2007. Could be solid fourth outfielder.
19) Rob Bryson, RHP, Grade C+: Intriguing power arm acquired in Sabathia deal. A bit under the radar but I like him.
20) Chen-Chang Lee, RHP, Grade C+: Sidearm guy signed out of Taiwan has very good stuff.
21) Cord Phelps, 2B, Grade C+: Polished Stanford product, some pop in bat, needs to improve glove.
22) Bryce Stowell, RHP, Grade C+: 2008 draftee signed too late to play, but looked great in summer ball, could be sleeper for ’09.