2019 Minor League Thread

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Huber.

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I presume they’re going to give him another start or two in the minors? Since it looks very likely they Baurer is staying, they don’t need to rush him back.

I like the idea of him filling a bullpen role, but he’s on record saying he is a starter. Not sure if he’ll accept it this year.
He can't stay in the minors. His 30 day rehab is up tomorrow and is out of options.
 

AZ_

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Mid-Season Top Prospects 1-5

1. Tyler Freeman - 20 - MI - High A

Born to play the game. Freeman has an 80 grade makeup and intangibles set. I've made the Alex Bregman comparison before, but I think it really exemplifies how well Freeman approaches the game and knows the nuances of all aspects of it to improve his game.

He began this year by leading the Midwest League in LD% at 26.5%, and the lowest SwingingStrike%, whiffing just 4.5% of the time when he swings. Now in High-A, he's started on fire with multiple multi-hit games in his first week.

His high contact, hard-hitting approach is ripe to develop more power as he grows, and figures to stick at a middle infield spot for the long-term, slotting in at SS or 2B with enough arm and intangibles to be an above average regular at either.

He's the top prospect in the system for me, and I think he should be a Top 20 prospect in baseball. It all depends on how high you think his ceiling is, I think it's a HOF caliber player if the power comes.


2. Nolan Jones - 21 - 3B - Double-A

Rarely have the Indians had a player so advanced with regards to his patience and approach. Consider for a moment that Carlos Santana had a BB rate of around 15-16% coming up through the system. Jones enters today around 20% over a pretty healthy sample size of ABs.

Consider also his 21% Line Drive rate, a significant number and among the league leaders for his level.

Now the downside, Jones cannot hit lefties at all. It's hard to project him as an every day regular player in the big leagues until he can improve upon a .161/.372/.323 slash line against them. The lack of power is the most alarming thing, because while he can still get on base, you can't really know if that is going to translate upward as he rises. The hope is that he's not being challenged or seeing many hittable pitches, but he should have every opportunity to figure it out.

Additionally, Jones lacks a big league position right now. He's athletic enough to stick at 3B, barely, but questions remain about his long term viability there and range for the position. He'll get a chance to work with Justin Toole, and John McDonald will certainly be helping his development while in Akron. Huge few months for him at this level. But overall I think he'll eventually be a solid big league regular with All-Star potential if he can begin to show some power against LHP.


3. Triston McKenzie - 22 - RHP - Double-A

Has not pitched in 2019 due to a back issue, which highlights his biggest weakness as a prospect, his frame. He's so slender and lanky that he's a prime candidate for injury given his workload as a starter. Its the biggest thing standing in the way of reaching his potential, as he also missed time in 2018 due to forearm soreness.

His frame taketh away in 2019, but when healthy, his arm length gives his fastball some really good whip and sits in the lower-mid 90s. His hammer curve presents a solid second offering, which likely grades out as a plus pitch in most scouting reports. Also uses a good changeup that has plus potential, which would give him three above average offerings.

Strong K and BB rates project him as a top end starter, combined with his repertoire, make him a prime Top 20 prospect candidate when healthy. Until he is, I think he's firmly on the outside of such a designation and probably is living on potential alone. 2019 seems all but lost at this point, so 2020 will be a make or break year for his standing within the organization.


4. George Valera - 18 - OF - SS Low-A

We've discussed his hitting mechanics on here and the comp's being thrown around, but I think his bat speed and whip is elite level. 24% LD rate shows that he's beginning to make some more consistent, substantial contact, and he's seen the most pitches in the NYPL to this point in the season.

He's putting together quality at-bats, though his 14% SwStrike is an area for improvement, but he's hitting a HR on 30% of his fly balls, which is crazy good for his age.

Will move up to full season ball next season, and with a full and healthy off-season should provide a potential launching point for him to get into the Top 50 prospects in baseball, if he's not there already. Future starting OF with All-Star potential.


5. Ethan Hankins - 19 - RHP - SS Low-A

Throwback power pitcher with an elite FB, topping out at 98 with good life. Absolute hammer curveball projects as plus, but he has the tendency to lose command with it. That is currently his best secondary offering, but the development there along with that of his slider and changeup (both of which are below average) will determine his future as a potential big leaguer.

He's been nearly unhittable this season without that development, which speaks to just how good he can be if he's able to develop those secondary offerings. He had trouble with injuries in his high school career, but for right now he appears to be healthy and developing nicely. His ceiling is that of a front of the rotation starter with ace potential, but he has a wide gap between that and his floor.

Putting faith in the Indians development staff, and how he's looked thus far in 2019, I'm comfortable projecting him here in front of some pretty good high end talent in this system.
We could probably slot Logan Allen in here right along with Hankins at 5/6
 

AZ_

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Allen is going to be a really really exciting player in this deal, possibly moreso than Franmil. Top of the rotation potential, plus curve and a new Vulcan changeup:



Logan Allen, San Diego Padres (Vulcan)

“I had a buddy, Grant Holmes, who said he was messing around with a Vulcan change. I said, ‘What’s that?’ Basically, you pretty much split the ball with your middle and rings fingers, and throw it just like a fastball.


“I toyed around with grips, feeling the laces and getting the ball a little deeper in my hand. I literally threw it with all of my arm speed, and it was dropping. It was tumbling. It opened up a whole new door for me that I’d never thought of going through.

“My first year throwing it was 2017, when I went back to Fort Wayne. I’d messed around with it in the offseason, then brought it to spring training. Our staff loved it. Quite a few hitters I’ve pitched against in the minor leagues have said it’s one of the harder pitches to pick up, and to hit.

“I was never able to get the feel for a circle change, but I also never really tried a conventional split. I never liked the feeling of the ball between my index and middle fingers. I was way more comfortable throwing the Vulcan change. I don’t know why. My hands aren’t very big, and for some reason the Vulcan just fits them better.

“Chris Paddack throws a version of it. His is a little different. It fades, almost like a regular four-seam change. It’s a very good changeup, but it’s not the kind of pitch I wanted to throw. I wanted to throw something with a little tumble that I could land for a strike and surprise the hitter, or that I could bury in the dirt.

“It’s not always the same pitch. I’ll split it more sometimes, and there’s how hard I grip it, and how deep it is in my hand. If I pronate, I can get it to fade a little bit. If I throw it straight over the top, I can get it to go straight down, almost like a hard curveball. Sometimes it will cut or knuckle. It varies in shape, but it’s effective nonetheless.”
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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Allen is going to be a really really exciting player in this deal, possibly moreso than Franmil. Top of the rotation potential, plus curve and a new Vulcan changeup:



Logan Allen, San Diego Padres (Vulcan)

“I had a buddy, Grant Holmes, who said he was messing around with a Vulcan change. I said, ‘What’s that?’ Basically, you pretty much split the ball with your middle and rings fingers, and throw it just like a fastball.


“I toyed around with grips, feeling the laces and getting the ball a little deeper in my hand. I literally threw it with all of my arm speed, and it was dropping. It was tumbling. It opened up a whole new door for me that I’d never thought of going through.

“My first year throwing it was 2017, when I went back to Fort Wayne. I’d messed around with it in the offseason, then brought it to spring training. Our staff loved it. Quite a few hitters I’ve pitched against in the minor leagues have said it’s one of the harder pitches to pick up, and to hit.

“I was never able to get the feel for a circle change, but I also never really tried a conventional split. I never liked the feeling of the ball between my index and middle fingers. I was way more comfortable throwing the Vulcan change. I don’t know why. My hands aren’t very big, and for some reason the Vulcan just fits them better.

“Chris Paddack throws a version of it. His is a little different. It fades, almost like a regular four-seam change. It’s a very good changeup, but it’s not the kind of pitch I wanted to throw. I wanted to throw something with a little tumble that I could land for a strike and surprise the hitter, or that I could bury in the dirt.

“It’s not always the same pitch. I’ll split it more sometimes, and there’s how hard I grip it, and how deep it is in my hand. If I pronate, I can get it to fade a little bit. If I throw it straight over the top, I can get it to go straight down, almost like a hard curveball. Sometimes it will cut or knuckle. It varies in shape, but it’s effective nonetheless.”
Give me more.

I can't wait to see Allen and McKenzie at the major league level.
 

sportscoach

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Well via MLB.com our top 5 prospects now looks like Jones, McKenzie, Allen, Freeman, Naylor

(Though personally I would have it Freeman, Allen, Jones, McKenzie and Valera).

Still we just upgraded the farm and didn't go negative more than likely production wise at the big league club.
 

Kevalier

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Tyler Freeman isn’t in the lineup today for Lynchburg. May just be a coincidence. May not be...
 

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