Welcome to IBI’s midseason top 30 prospect rankings. Now that we are at the All-Star break and more than half of the way through the minor league season, I have re-ranked the top prospects in Cleveland’s system, including the risers, the fallers, those who stayed steady, and the newly drafted.
Before we get to the rankings, I want to note what I look for in a prospect. Given the way all prospects turn out to be lottery tickets — even the can’t miss ones — I value proximity to the majors and how little of a prospect’s value is tied to their projection. For example, Dorssys Paulino — a personal favorite — was highly rated until very recently; but after a year and a half of offensive struggles at Lake County, Paulino has fallen from the lofty top-three status he enjoyed prior to the 2012 season.
So players far away from the majors — like those in the Arizona League and Mahoning Valley — are not going to get as much of a bump as those in Akron and Columbus. Though, of course, a projected backup in Columbus will not be ranked ahead of a projected starter in Mahoning Valley. It is all a balancing act.
Additionally, I personally rate pitchers a little lower based on the frequency of their injuries (and how we have no way of preventing them yet) and relievers lower still, due to the limited number of innings they throw.
Those are some pretty broad buckets to sort those players into, but all were seriously considered for these spots. But in the end, the following 15 players (with 15 more coming on Thursday) made the cut.
In-text photos from MiLB
#30 Nellie Rodriguez, 1B, Lake County
The first player on the list has really come on lately, though we will need to see him sustain these gains in order to continue up the ladder and any prospect rankings. Rodriguez has shown some good power over 87 games in Lake County — posting a .217 isolated power — though he still has some work to do regarding getting on base before he will be ready for the next level. A .335 on-base percentage is not bad, but that and Rodriguez’s 25.3 percent strikeout rate and 10.2 percent walk rate this season both would likely suffer if the first baseman was in Carolina right now. But we have seen some real growth out of Rodriguez — especially considering he is much better in Lake County than he was in 2013 — and the 20-year-old is a top-30 prospect. Read More…
From Indians Baseball Insider, July 16, 2014