A Minor Review of 2013: Indians

There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.

The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013′ will look back on some of the major happenings in each MLB organization since the beginning of April as a primer for the upcoming FanGraphs Top 10+5 prospects lists. This series will run throughout September and October. I hope you enjoy the series and are eagerly anticipating the start of ‘Prospect List Season.’

The player listed in the sleeper section was featured in a pre-season series that looked at one fringe prospect in each organization that was expected to take a big step forward during 2013, chosen by myself, a scout or a front office talent evaluator.

The Graduate: Cody Allen, RHP: Allen’s fastball-curveball combination has helped him dominated big league hitters and he looks like a future closer. He could become even more nasty once he improves his fastball command and finds a way to keep the ball in the park. He’s fourth in rookie appearances, and fourth in strikeouts (minimum 30 innings).

The Riser: Jose Ramirez, 2B: The diminutive second baseman held his own when he was promoted to Double-A in 2013 at the age of 20. He stole 38 bases and showed an offensive skill set that could make him a solid No. 2 hitter at the big league level, although he has to continue to get stronger. Surprisingly, Ramirez was given a September callup during the Indians’ playoff run.

The Tumbler: Trevor Bauer, RHP: The third overall selection of the 2011 draft, Bauer’s value has plummeted. He has a reputation for being difficult and his control has ranged from bad to brutal. The former Diamondback could perhaps rejuvenate his career by shifting to the ‘pen and dropping a number of his offerings — focusing instead on two, maybe three, pitches.

The 2013 Draft Pick: Sean Brady, LHP: The Indians don’t draft a ton of prep players but they selected two within their first four selections. Brady is an advanced prep product — as witnessed by his solid debut — but he doesn’t have a huge ceiling. He projects to develop into a No. 4 starter but could move quickly through the system.

The Sleeper: Dillon Howard, RHP: A highly promising prep hurler, Howard posted an ERA of more than 7.00 during his 2012 debut and then missed all of 2013 when he was handed a 50-game suspension while playing in extended spring training. The right-hander will be 21 when the ’14 season begins and he has very few innings pitched for someone draft in 2011. He has a lot to prove in the coming year.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

7 Responses to “A Minor Review of 2013: Indians”

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  1. Mr. Obvious says:

    Danny Salazar??

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  2. Marc Hulet says:

    I avoided Salazar for a couple reasons… He fell into a gray area as he hasn’t technically graduated (below 50 IP). He could have been the riser but I’ve written a fair bit about him this year (although not as much as Carson) and he was on the pre-season Top 15 list for the Indians in a pretty decent slot at No. 7… Plus, I wanted to touch on some other prospects in the system.

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  3. rusty says:

    Cleveland forfeited several 2013 draft picks in return for their free-agent signings, right? While I guess I could look their draft class up on b-ref, listing the draft round of each team’s “2013 draft pick”-category prospect would be helpful in terms of calibrating expectations.

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  4. Hermie13 says:

    I think it’s still WAY too early to say Bauer may need to go to the bullpen. He isn’t the first top spec SP to struggle when at/near the big league level. Should Julio Teahren have been moved to the pen after struggling last year? Or what about Martin Perez? Next year will be big for Bauer as a prospect/pitcher but a bullpen move? That’s a big drastic to even hint at at this point IMO.

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    • NS says:

      Teheran saw his k-rate decline a bit and gave up home runs. Perez saw a slight increase in walk-rate and a significant 2 k dip in his k/9.

      They both pale in comparison to Bauer’s nightmare season. He saw a significant increase in walks (up over 5.4/9) and a huge 3-4 k drop in k-rate – and gave up home runs.

      If you put the three on a spectrum, Perez and Teheran are in one cluster and Bauer is in another. The pitchers he’s clustered with are predominately burnouts and bullpen arms.

      It’s not impossible for him to turn it around, but it’s certainly not too early to talk about the bullpen.

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  5. Adam Reeder says:

    Bauer made some really questionable adjustments to his mechanics this past offseason, and has never really found any comfort level with them at any point this year. During one of his callups, he pitched entirely out of the stretch because he didn’t feel comfortable with his windup. Just shows that he’s been tinkering with his mechanics too much rather than just using his talent, which is still there. He’s still quite young, so hopefully he simplifies things this offseason and gets back to exploding off the mound like he did at UCLA and with the D-Backs affiliates last year.

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