I like to begin writing about prospects at the end of September and I did lay this out then. However, I’m just now finally finding the time to write.
In general, I tend to be a bit safer with my views. I prefer guys who are closer, and have major doubts about anyone until high A. I have seen so many flameouts and guys who just fail after dominating the lower reaches to get too excited. This is not to say it always is the case, but there will be a few players much higher on my list because I think they are no doubt MLB players. Another issue for me is age; if a guy is older than his level, or 26 or older in general, he won’t make my list in most cases. Relative age to level is a huge indicator and can’t be overlooked. If a guy is over 25 in AAA and looking for his first extended look, odds are that it won’t ever happen. Lastly, I really tend not to value relievers, as they have the most limited impact and many of the top relievers in the majors are guys who failed as starters. Andrew Miller of the Indians is a great example of this.
Lastly, I don’t rank guys who I don’t know, at least not in the top 30 or so. In general, the majority of the international guys won’t make my cut until they go to Mahoning Valley. I will admit I have a big blind spot for guys there. So if I miss on someone, please tell me why you disagree. I am always up for a good debate.
I am going deep on the Indians, because it is the organization I know the best and have spent the most time in and around. I will try and do a few organizations top ten prospect lists for sites on Scout that currently have a publisher. While I spend a lot of time following the minors, I can guarantee each individual Scout publisher knows their minors better than I do. So while I won’t do all 30 organizations, I will have a few of these dropping throughout the year as time permits.
So here we go:
50/49 Josh Martin and Jeff Johnson RHP AAA
I group both of these guys together because they have been linked through the Indians system. Both of them will turn 27 before next season, and have been passed over by a few players in the system. Martin has the advantage of having been selected in the rule 5 draft a year ago. Johnson has the better stuff, but Martin’s control has been better. At this point, both are kind of falling by the wayside. Neither really had the stuff to be a backend arm and, while they have had great success in the minors, players like Joe Colon and Perci Garner have passed them.
48 Connor Marabell OF A+
Here is the issue with Marabell: Do I look at the low A numbers, when he was old for the level, or the high A numbers, which were short sample size? Either way, Marabell looks like a platoon or 4th outfielder down the road. This is more than acceptable for a 25th round selection from Jacksonville University, a program to watch which has been pretty consistent in producing talent. This is where the Indians excel of late, finding talent after the 10th round. I imagine he starts the year in high A. Right now, there is such outfield depth in the system it holds back a player like Marabell, whose profile is more of a bottom of the roster player. I don’t see any plus skills there with him. A corner outfielder without more power or speed is going to have a hard time finding a place in the majors.
47 Sean Brady LHP A+
I was a lot higher on Sean Brady a year ago. He was a big money signing in the 2013 MLB draft. His bonus of 800K was the biggest of any player in the fifth round or later. While Clint Frazier was taken in the same draft and has made it to AAA, Brady has not made it to AA yet. His walk rate in the minors has always been strong. His hit rate ballooned this year and his walk and home run rates also increased. What’s more important with Brady, though, is the fact that he will turn 23 this June, and his slow rise through the system means that he is running out of time to impress.
46 Luke Wakamatsu SS A-
Wakamatsu was a surprise signing by the Indians after being taken in the 20th round. The son of former MLB player and coach Don Wakamatsu, he was viewed as one of the top 200 players in the 2015 draft. The problem for him, dating back to high school, has been health. He has been unable to stay healthy so far in the minors. He is 20 years old and has yet to play more than 20 games above the rookie league level. There is a chance for a utility player there, but it all starts with health.