2020 Minor League Thread

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MadThinker88

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For those still interested: Fangraphs is scheduled to release its Cleveland Indians prospect list on Monday 5/18/20 (per Eric L chat on Friday 5/15).
Rumor is they went rather deep with it.

Here are some other takeaways from the Friday chat:
12:29Sandy: Hey Eric, thanks for chatting! Robert Broomhas a career 0.9 ERA and WHIP as a pro. Passed the AA limus test with hitter ma Obviously, he’s got an 80 grade name as a reliever sweeping through the minors, but what about his stuff? Hope he made the Indians list
12:31Eric A Longenhagen: He’ll be on there as an Honorable Mention (list runs Monday) as part of a pretty large contingent of sidearm/funk relief types in the system. He’s 88-92 and it looks like this: (twitter video link)
12:32Eric A Longenhagen: With relievers like this, they just have to keep proving that it works at the next level, and then the next one, and then the next one….He’s done that so far. Pretty interesting.

12:44Carlos: 35+, 35 or 30 FV? Indians LHPs Raymond Burgos, Juan Hillman, Adam Scott, Kyle Nelson and Kirk McCarty
12:46Eric A Longenhagen: I love the deep dive Cleveland questions. Burgos is a 35. 40 fastball, 40 athlete but stills throws strikes, change and breaking ball are 50s, shot to be 55s. If they are he’s a depth arm. Hillman is not on there. Scott, Nelson will both be on. McCarty is on the bubble.

1:07James: Does the Arizona Fall League happen this year?
1:07Eric A Longenhagen: I guess it wouldn’t surprise me if there were “a” fall league but not “The” Fall League, catch my drift?
 

MadThinker88

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And here is the finally released Fangraphs list. 46 players listed. Enjoy.


Edit: With the depth of the system, Fangraphs has the Tribe system listed 12th overall so far. There are still 5 more orgs to be completed but it is likely the Tribe will remain 12th (or at least in the top half of baseball)...

 
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ncinthenext3

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I would love to see Will Benson make more consistent contact. I bet he would, too. It's great to see him on the list, just not at #34.
 

BimboColesHair

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I would love to see Will Benson make more consistent contact. I bet he would, too. It's great to see him on the list, just not at #34.
He’s working on it.

It’s impressive the amount of work he has put into his swing mechanics. Completely overhauled them last year, and worked out for him repeating A Ball. Saw better pitching when he moved up a level and he reverted back to his old mechanics a bit. Just needs to translate to games, that comes with years of repetition with his mechanics.

Still has absolute monster potential if that happens. Not many minor leaguers putting up 20 and 20 seasons these days.
 

Derek

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He’s working on it.

It’s impressive the amount of work he has put into his swing mechanics. Completely overhauled them last year, and worked out for him repeating A Ball. Saw better pitching when he moved up a level and he reverted back to his old mechanics a bit. Just needs to translate to games, that comes with years of repetition with his mechanics.

Still has absolute monster potential if that happens. Not many minor leaguers putting up 20 and 20 seasons these days.
He had a shot at a 40/40 season if he had stayed at Lake County all year
 

MadThinker88

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He had a shot at a 40/40 season if he had stayed at Lake County all year
That is true but it was probably better for his development & future opportunities to move up to High A (& struggle).
That gave Benson something to focus & improve upon during the past offseason.
In a normal year it would have been interesting to see if Benson could have had another hot start to the minor league season to put himself in line for a midseason call up to the AA level..
 
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And here is the finally released Fangraphs list. 46 players listed. Enjoy.


Edit: With the depth of the system, Fangraphs has the Tribe system listed 12th overall so far. There are still 5 more orgs to be completed but it is likely the Tribe will remain 12th (or at least in the top half of baseball)...

It's good to read this ranking. I might miss following some of these guys development as much as I miss whatever qualifies as MLB this year. He really have some glowing comments on the first half dozen or so prospects. Personally I can't wait to see Valera in person.
 

MadThinker88

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Eric L of Fangraphs has a standing online chat on Friday afternoons. During his chat on Fri 5/22, he gave a little insight into his view of Tribe farm system..

12:23Guest: What are some places where the BOARD’s Farm Rankings (crudely by $$$) differ from your own personal Farm Rankings for teams?
12:24Eric A Longenhagen: I tend to like the deeper systems. I’d take ARI or CLE over CHW, for instance

At this point, the ChiSox is roughly ranked 7th, Arizona is roughly ranked 10th & the Tribe is roughly ranked 12th...

FYI - The Cinci prospect list was released on Friday by Fangraphs. Its a rough read for Cinci fans. 4 more orgs to go (MKE, Oak, LAA, ChiCubs)....
 

MadThinker88

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In case your a fan of the writings of Bernie Pleskoff, he posted an article on Rotowire on 5/25/20. It appears he has made a series of posting at the site...
While most of the article is behind a paywall, they are offering a free 10 day trial..
10-day free trial: http://rotowire.com/free
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernie offered some comments regarding McKenzie & Karinchak (along with other non-Tribe players) in the 5/25 posting..
Triston McKenzie, RH, Indians, 6-5, 165, Age 22

We often forget that Triston McKenzie was only 17 when he was selected out of Royal Palm Beach (Florida) High School by the Indians in the first round of the 2015 draft.

McKenzie has thrown only 329 innings in four seasons in the Indians organization. He missed the entire 2019 season with a severe back injury. He is beginning to work his way back, but I have great concern about his future. I have seen before the issues back problems can bring. Who knows when the situation will return? It may not. But it certainly may. Proceed with caution, as the Indians are doing.

In my opinion, McKenzie's mega-slender frame contributes to his back woes. His shoulder was also barking last year when his back was bad. He also experienced forearm tightening and soreness in the 2018 season. So so far, he has been injury prone.

McKenzie repeats his delivery well. He throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball, but it is his curveball that gets the swings and misses and is his "put away" pitch.

Once the top pitcher in the Indians organization, McKenzie's health issues have taken some of the bloom off the rose. He will have to show that he can remain healthy and dispatch hitters in an economical manner with his repertoire of fastball, curveball and changeup.

All of McKenzie's pitches are better than average, as is his command and control. Every time I have seen him pitch, he has shown very good mechanics that are both smooth and conventional. He doesn't try to overthrow. He knows his limitations. He knows how to pitch. But so far, he hasn't stayed healthy. And he will fall further behind if he doesn't get enough innings in the coming season. I look for him to be in the Fall League.

For me, McKenzie is like electricity. I won't touch him. Not until he proves he is totally healthy. I don't know if that will be possible with his slender frame and bum back. McKenzie's value has dropped due to the injuries. GRADE: 55


James Karinchak, RHP, Indians, 6-3, 230, Age 24

James Karinchak is a player to remember. I really believe either he or Emmanuel Clase (currently suspended) will be the Indians' next closer. Now is the time to grab him if he is available in your keeper league.

Karinchak has two well developed pitches. He throws his power, high-velocity fastball between 96-98 miles per hour. I have seen him hit 100 with no problem. It is his wicked curveball that gets the swings and misses and ends at-bats. He's just a typical two-pitch, late inning reliever.

A ninth-round pick by the Indians out of Rhode Island's Bryant University in the 2017 draft, Karinchak likely will out pitch his draft round. He can be very, very good.

Last year, Karinchak struck out 74 hitters in 30.1 innings over three Indians minor league classifications. He also pitched for the parent Indians, working 5.1 innings and striking out eight. He walked one.

The problem I have seen with Karinchak rests with inconsistencies in his stiff delivery. He does't always finish his delivery, loses his arm angle and as a result, has bouts of bad control. He gets behind in counts or hangs curveballs that the hitter can pound.

The Indians like what they have seen of Karinchak and he has a future with the club, as soon as this year. I have some doubts about him being able to maintain command of the high velocity fastball as well as the curve, so I am being a bit guarded. I want to see him in high-leverage situations at the back end of games. I want to see him throw strikes and not fall behind hitters.

Once he gains experience, I have little doubt he will succeed. He certainly doesn't lack confidence, and if he can gain some consistency, watch out. GRADE: 55
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Rotowire has a fantasy baseball tilt but I did find another prospect listing for the Tribe (fantasy based)..

Cleveland Indians (Top 1-10 in 1st box, then next box has 11-20)

EDIT: I did some more digging into the Rotowire site on Tuesday 5/26... They have a top 400 prospect list.. It seems that Jose Pastrano was listed at #360 overall on that list..

The Tribe has 3 more players listed in the top 400.
#376 - Johnathan Rodriguez (OF)
#377 - Cody Morris (P)
#390 - Jean Carlos Mejia (P)

I would think 23 players in a top 400 is a rather good showing..
 
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sportscoach

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In case your a fan of the writings of Bernie Pleskoff, he posted an article on Rotowire on 5/25/20. It appears he has made a series of posting at the site...
While most of the article is behind a paywall, they are offering a free 10 day trial..
10-day free trial: http://rotowire.com/free
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernie offered some comments regarding McKenzie & Karinchak (along with other non-Tribe players) in the 5/25 posting..
Triston McKenzie, RH, Indians, 6-5, 165, Age 22

We often forget that Triston McKenzie was only 17 when he was selected out of Royal Palm Beach (Florida) High School by the Indians in the first round of the 2015 draft.

McKenzie has thrown only 329 innings in four seasons in the Indians organization. He missed the entire 2019 season with a severe back injury. He is beginning to work his way back, but I have great concern about his future. I have seen before the issues back problems can bring. Who knows when the situation will return? It may not. But it certainly may. Proceed with caution, as the Indians are doing.

In my opinion, McKenzie's mega-slender frame contributes to his back woes. His shoulder was also barking last year when his back was bad. He also experienced forearm tightening and soreness in the 2018 season. So so far, he has been injury prone.

McKenzie repeats his delivery well. He throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball, but it is his curveball that gets the swings and misses and is his "put away" pitch.

Once the top pitcher in the Indians organization, McKenzie's health issues have taken some of the bloom off the rose. He will have to show that he can remain healthy and dispatch hitters in an economical manner with his repertoire of fastball, curveball and changeup.

All of McKenzie's pitches are better than average, as is his command and control. Every time I have seen him pitch, he has shown very good mechanics that are both smooth and conventional. He doesn't try to overthrow. He knows his limitations. He knows how to pitch. But so far, he hasn't stayed healthy. And he will fall further behind if he doesn't get enough innings in the coming season. I look for him to be in the Fall League.

For me, McKenzie is like electricity. I won't touch him. Not until he proves he is totally healthy. I don't know if that will be possible with his slender frame and bum back. McKenzie's value has dropped due to the injuries. GRADE: 55


James Karinchak, RHP, Indians, 6-3, 230, Age 24

James Karinchak is a player to remember. I really believe either he or Emmanuel Clase (currently suspended) will be the Indians' next closer. Now is the time to grab him if he is available in your keeper league.

Karinchak has two well developed pitches. He throws his power, high-velocity fastball between 96-98 miles per hour. I have seen him hit 100 with no problem. It is his wicked curveball that gets the swings and misses and ends at-bats. He's just a typical two-pitch, late inning reliever.

A ninth-round pick by the Indians out of Rhode Island's Bryant University in the 2017 draft, Karinchak likely will out pitch his draft round. He can be very, very good.

Last year, Karinchak struck out 74 hitters in 30.1 innings over three Indians minor league classifications. He also pitched for the parent Indians, working 5.1 innings and striking out eight. He walked one.

The problem I have seen with Karinchak rests with inconsistencies in his stiff delivery. He does't always finish his delivery, loses his arm angle and as a result, has bouts of bad control. He gets behind in counts or hangs curveballs that the hitter can pound.

The Indians like what they have seen of Karinchak and he has a future with the club, as soon as this year. I have some doubts about him being able to maintain command of the high velocity fastball as well as the curve, so I am being a bit guarded. I want to see him in high-leverage situations at the back end of games. I want to see him throw strikes and not fall behind hitters.

Once he gains experience, I have little doubt he will succeed. He certainly doesn't lack confidence, and if he can gain some consistency, watch out. GRADE: 55
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rotowire has a fantasy baseball tilt but I did find another prospect listing for the Tribe (fantasy based)..

Cleveland Indians (Top 1-10 in 1st box, then next box has 11-20)

First time I have seen 1B Noel on a list, can anyone tell me about him? Don't see Pastrano either on many so some peeps may want to know about him as well.
 

Derek

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First time I have seen 1B Noel on a list, can anyone tell me about him? Don't see Pastrano either on many so some peeps may want to know about him as well.
Here was the response I got about him specifically and other possible sleepers at the lower levels.

A lot of people love Noel in the organization, his athleticism and strength combo at a young age is scary. Big hole in his swing though, has to clean it up.

As for me, by far my favorite prospect not showing on many peoples top list for the Tribe is Alexfri Planez. Monster power potential, right handed OF bat, solid defender and speed for his size. Went through a growth spurt and is a legit 6’5/6’6. Very much a free swinger, but so young. Kind of like their right handed second chance of Will Benson.

Junior Sanquintin should fly up rankings this year. Indians are almost comically loaded with SS and 2B players right now. He finally comes stateside to play so he’ll rise if he produces like he should. Switch hitter with plus power and approach from both sides. Big signing a few years ago, think he transitions to another position in the next few years.

Brauny Munoz is a pitcher to watch. Kid throws absolute gas, very similar to Espino in that he makes it look easy too. Surprisingly has good control for how young he is and how hard he throws too. Needs to find a feel for some secondary pitches to work off his fastball.

Micael Ramirez is a C who can straight up hit. Needs to stay healthy and progress as a catcher and game manager, but that comes with time. Can see him rising up if he starts in Mahoning Valley and progresses to full season ball.

Think Hunter Gaddis is your next Bieber/Plesac/Civale. He should fly up the system while producing no prospect attention because of his age/draft position. Nasty stuff with great control. Could have seen him making it up to AA ball this year had a full season been played.

Xzavion Curry is an interesting guy to watch who will be making his debut this year. They’ll start him out as a starter, but I believe he ends up in the bullpen like Karinchak progressed as a pro. Very similar deception and herky jerky delivery like Karinchak, but not quite the stuff that Karinchak has, yet.

There are a ton of Dominican League kids coming over to play in the states for the first time this year. That crop of huge, raw athletes are finally going to have access to MLB caliber training regimens and facilities. Good chance you see a lot of young kids in Arizona and Mahoning Valley open up some eyes very wide. Lot of talent coming over from Latin America this year, should there be a year.
 

sportscoach

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Now question for peeps, if we do not have a minor league season at all, how will this effect the Rule 5 draft and who we have to protect before next season? I am guessing everything will be normal, but i was curious is anyone else heard otherwise.
 

MadThinker88

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First time I have seen 1B Noel on a list, can anyone tell me about him? Don't see Pastrano either on many so some peeps may want to know about him as well.
Here is some info from another section within Rotowire.. I hope it helps..

19. Jhonkensy Noel, 1B, 18, New York-Penn League

An 18.7 percent strikeout rate for a 17-year-old first baseman with plus raw power in the AZL is pretty impressive. Despite being a R/R first baseman, Noel has a chance to be a quality defender. There is power and batting average upside, but he can't fall short in those categories given his defensive home.

20. Jose Pastrano, SS, 17, Dominican Summer League

The recipient of a $1.5 million bonus out of Venezuela on July 2, 2019, Pastrano is a better real-life prospect than a fantasy one, although he's decent for our purposes as well. He is a switch hitter with a hit-over-power profile and plus speed. He should stick at shortstop.
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Another section of Rotowire had the following about the Tribe farm system in general (from an article in late April 2020)...
The Indians system could have a boom-or-bust season. The Tribe have a couple high upside teenagers in George Valera and Brayan Rocchio, with several players close to the big leagues (Bobby Bradley, Daniel Johnson, James Karinchak). The progress of the aforementioned neophytes, as well as the contributions of the more experienced prospects, could shape the Indians outlook significantly for the foreseeable future.
 
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MadThinker88

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Tim for some followup...

This time its Prospect Digest. To recap: here is the top 10 listing:

Cleveland Indians: Top 10 Prospects for 2020
Hailed by Michael Salfino (TheAthletic, FiveThirtyEight, and The Wall Street Journal) for its "insightful and often contrarian viewpoint to prospect rankings," The Prospect Digest Handbook has become a mainstay for baseball enthusiasts, minor league
www.prospectdigest.com

#PlayerPos#PlayerPos
1Nolan Jones3B6Ethan HankinsRHP
2Tyler FreemanSS7Brayan RocchioSS
3Daniel EspinoRHP8Bo NaylorC
4Triston McKenzieRHP9Cody MorrisRHP
5George ValeraOF10James KarinchakRHP

-----------------------------------------------
Now time for the new info. My purchased copy of the Prospect Digest arrive today. The prospect listing goes 20 deep & I can confirm they rate the Tribe farm system #11 in baseball.

Another tidbit: they typically produce a top 25 list of breakout prospects.. Former Tribe farmhand Tahnaj Thomas is listed #24. Current Tribe farmhands Cody Morris and George Valera also made the list. Valera at #1 & Morris at #8.

Now for prospects #11 thru #20
#PlayerPos#PlayerPos
11Emmanuel ClaseRHP16Lenny TorresRHP
12Logan AllenLHP17Bobby Bradley1B
13Aaron Bracho2B18Adam ScottLHP
14Daniel JohnsonOF19Sam HentgesLHP
15Gabriel RodriguezSS20Luis OviedoRHP
 

LL3

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Every time I read a blurb, or see a clip on HS SS Ed Howard, he just strikes me like a great fit for the Tribe. I see him mocked in various spots in the first round, but somewhat in the Indians selection range. Obviously this is a very strange year, but any strong feelings for Howard, one way or another?
 

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