Acquired: 1st Round, 2012 Draft
Service Time: None
Rule 5 Eligible?: No
Option Years: Not on 40-man Roster
In the past three drafts, the Indians have twice gone for high-upside high school players with their first round picks. They chose Francisco Lindor in 2011, and this past June they picked Clint Frazier. But in between they selected a more polished college outfielder.
Naquin has a fascinating set of tools, with a very quick bat and an outstanding arm, but because his tools didn't really fit into a standard profile, he lasted until the middle of the first round despite leading the Big 12 in several offensive categories. Because defensively he fit better as a right fielder and offensively as a center fielder, he was labeled as a tweener. And because he played right field, not center field, for the Aggies, scouts didn't really have a read on whether he'd be able to play center.
So the Indians were taking a gamble when they selected him. Naquin didn't project to hit for much power, so you aren't going to draft a player in the middle of the first round with that hitting profile if he isn't going to be able to play a premium defensive position, and thus far the Indians have played him exclusively in center. To this point, he's worked out as a center fielder, and that's a good thing.
It's his offense that has been a bit disappointing. Between Carolina and Akron (with most of his at-bats coming in Carolina), he hit .269/.334/.405, not exactly a great line for a 22-year-old college player. Now he did skip Lake County entirely, but generally advanced college hitters usually are pushed quickly through the low minors.
Here was his splits this year (he's a left-handed hitter):
Against RHP: .289/.342/.428, 103 SO, 29 BB
Against LHP: .206/.310/.333, 31 SO, 17 BB
He hit for more average and power against right-handed pitching, but strangely enough his strikeouts and walks remind you of a power hitter. Against left-handed pitching he didn't get many hits, but he had a better SO/BB ratio. It looks like he's swinging early and often against right-handers, but he's more patient against left-handers.
Naquin was promoted to Akron in the middle of August, and he'll start there in 2014. The Indians have also sent him to the Arizona Fall League, which will be a nice test for him. AA usually weeds out prospects with holes in their game, so between the AFL and AA next year, we should know what the Indians have in Naquin.