Cleveland Indians Hitting Prospects: Talented Teens on Track for Tribe


Our 2012 minor-league “STAT-Scans” project for each organization sends the scanner to the banks of Lake Erie for an examination of future Cleveland Indian talent.

Each player is assigned a “Plate Skills Index,” which is based on the ability to “win plate appearances” (described in detail here), a “Production Index,” based on the ability to produce offense (described in detail here), and a “Composite Index,” which is a combination of the two.  Additional detail on “the three numbers,” with some examples, can be found here.

It is important to remember that age, level and position also factor into the analysis.

Cleveland fans will look for hope from their emerging teenage prospects. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

High Alert

Francisco Lindor, SS (S2S Top 115 #21) … Age: 18, Level: Low-A

Plate Skills: 105  Production: 82  Composite: 88

Switch-hitting Lindor was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 draft, and early returns are very promising.  In the low-A Midwest League at just 18, Lindor held his own quite well, posting a jaw-dropping 61 walks and a scary-low strikeout rate of just 13.7%.  He didn’t generate a lot of pop (.098 ISO), but guys who start with the plate skills can add the power component as they mature.  For a teenager playing shortstop at that level, Lindor’s numbers are very impressive.

On the Radar

Jeremy Lucas, C … Age 21, Level: Short Season-A

Plate Skills: 144  Production: 101  Composite:  144

The Cleveland guys who aren’t teenagers don’t score so well, but Lucas made an impression with his plate skills as a 12th-round pick in the 2012 draft.  Lucas drew 16 walks against just 14 strikeouts in his 29-game stint in the New York-Penn League.  Catchers who can hold their own at the plate are rare commodities, and, given that Lucas slugged .540 at Indiana State, more power could show up down the road as well.

Distant Early Warning

Dorssys Paulino, SS … Age 17, Level: Rookie, Short Season-A

Plate Skills: 92  Production: 122  Composite:  115

After putting the hurt to rookie ball with a .610 SLG (14 doubles, 6 triples, 6 HR) in 41 games, Paulino got a promotion to spend the last few weeks of the season at Short-Season Mahoning Valley.  He didn’t light it up there, but he added five more doubles to his tab.  Paulino may have had the most impressive debut of any 17-year-old in 2012.  He and Lindor give the Tribe a tremendous pair of teenage middle infielders who can handle the bat.

Claudio Bautista, 2b/SS … Age 18, Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 118  Production: 110  Composite:  128

And the teenage middle infielders just keep coming.  Bautista had a solid all-around season at the rookie level, putting up a .273/.368/.485 slash line.  You can’t judge too much from rookie stats, but you can’t ask for much more than what Bautista did at the plate.

Nelson Rodriguez, 1b … Age 18, Level: Rookie

Plate Skills: 125  Production: 114  Composite:  139

And one more teenage hitter.  Look past Rodriguez’ .229 batting average and zero in on the .375 OBP and the .459 SLG.  He only had 25 hits in 32 games, but 14 of them went for extra bases, and he added 24 walks.  The singles will come around.  A very strong debut for a 15th-round pick from a northern-climate high school (New York City).

On the Whole

The middle part of the Cleveland system didn’t generate much response from our STAT-Scan results, but the lower levels had the radar crackling.  Four guys 18 and younger, all showing off some impressive results at the plate, is a rarity for any club.  So, it might be awhile, but the Indians appear to have some talented help on the way.