By Illya Harrell on August 16, 2014
The Cleveland Indians' farm system is thin at the top levels, specially when it comes to pitchers. The team has allotted more money to both amateur and international scouting, so hopefully that will help; otherwise, Tribe fans will be looking at some lean years. Here are the Indians' current top five prospects.
The Tribe nabbed Zimmer with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2014 MLB amateur draft. The 21-year-old has the speed to play center, but is better suited for a corner OF position. Zimmer has a nice left-handed stroke that generates a ton of bat speed. However, it remains to be seen whether or not that bat speed will translate into home run power.
Ramsey was acquired from the Cardinals in the 2014 deadline deal that sent Justin Masterson to St. Louis. He has above-average speed and closes well in center. There is nothing not to like about Ramsey. On the other hand, there's really nothing to love. Ramsey will make his living as a fourth outfielder.
Clint Frazier is another outfielder, albeit converted a third baseman. Cleveland took him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2013, and he's become a prospect list darling since. Frazier is in high-A ball and will turn 20 early next month. There's no doubt that he has tremendous power, but he also has a huge strikeout rate. In 2014, he's fanned once every 2.95 at-bats. Frazier looks like a Mark Reynolds-type batter.
Tyler Naquin is the Indians' center fielder of the future. The guy has well above average speed and a plus arm. At the plate, Naquin is the best pure hitter in the Cleveland system. He doesn't project to hit many over the fence, but should barrel line drives with great consistency. Once he learns to take more pitches, he'll be a prototypical leadoff hitter.
The top of the Tribe's lineup is set for many years with Naquin leading off and Lindor batting second. He is quite possibly the best infield glove in all of minor league baseball. With his uncanny feel for the strike zone, he's a guy who will see 25-30 pitches per game. He's not that fast, but makes up for it with smart baserunning. Lindor will be the Indians' starting shortstop on Opening Day next season.
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