The Top 100 prospects list at MLB.com was released this evening, with Francisco Lindor and the newly acquired Trevor Bauer both making the cut.
Lindor comes in at #14, putting him second behind all shortstops, behind only Texas' Jurickson Profar, who is the #1 prospect on the entire list. There are two other shortstops among the top 25, The Cubs' Javier Baez (#16) and Boston's Xander Bogaerts (20th) being the others. Position players are all rated on a number of different traits, on a scale of 1-8, with 8's being exceedingly rare. Players get a "present" score and a "future" one. Lindor's scores are as follows:
Hit: 4/7, Power: 3/5, Run: 5/5, Arm:6/6, Field: 6/8, Overall: 6/7
As I said, there are very few 8's, Lindor's mark for his glove in the future is the highest mark given to any of the shortstops. The list also includes brief blurbs, giving more depth and detail about each player. From Lindor's entry:
An argument can be made that Lindor is the best defensive shortstop in the Minors. Not only does he have an outstanding arm and well above-average range, but those tools play up because of his off-the-charts instincts and feel for the position.
Lindor is one of just seven prospects on the list who already scores an overall mark of 6 and is also one of just ten players on the list with an overall rating of 7 for the future. There aren't any players who received an overall 8, for the present or the future. Lindor is among the absolutely elite players on the list, and while not every marquee prospect becomes a star player, the success rate for position players ever listed among the top twenty overall prospects is high. I think the chances of him becoming at least an above-average Major League shortstop are better than 50%, and his chances of becoming an All-Star are as good as those of any prospect in the world right now. MLB.com projects that he will reach the big leagues in 2014. I think a late-season cup of coffee that fall seems a strong possibility, with the job being handed to him for 2015.
Trevor Bauer comes in at #17 on the list, putting him eighth on the list among all pitchers. That is a small step back from his ranking last season, but still among the elite of the elite, far higher than any Tribe pitching prospect in recent years. Baltimore's Dylan Bundy is the highest-rated pitcher on the list (#2 overall). Bauer's ratings are as follows:
Fastball: 6/7, Curve: 5/6, Slider: 4/5, Change: 4/5, Control: 4/5, Overall: 5/6
Bauer is one of just three pitcher in the top twenty-five with four pitches that received ratings:
Bauer (has) many weapons to choose from. He’ll throw his plus fastball up to 96 mph and can maintain his velocity. When he stays on top of his curve, that can be a plus offering as well, with 12-to-6 action. He also has a slider, changeup and splitter, all of which can be at least average in the future.
The list projects that Bauer will be in Cleveland in 2013, which of course comes as a surprise to no one. The only question is when. Some hope he pitches so well in spring training that the Tribe puts him on the big league roster from day 1, while others prefer he begin the season somewhere in the Minors, which would serve the duel-purpose of giving him a bit more seasoning while also delaying his service time (and in turn, his cost).
There's not any real reason for Tribe fans to care, but Didi Gregorius, the player acquired for Shin-Soo Choo and immediately spun back out in exchange for Trevor Bauer, is on the list at #63. Obviously Arizona made that trade because there are those in their organization who'd soured on Bauer's makeup. Given some of the stories that have come out about why Justin Upton was traded away (having to do with a perceived lack of "grit" and other intangibles), I'm not overly concerned with their perception of Bauer's personality. Pitching prospects have a much lower success-rate than similarly ranked position players, but as these things go, Bauer looks good.
No other team in the American League has two prospects ranked as highly as Lindor and Bauer, which is great. On the other hand, after those two the Indians lack a single other player in the top 100. That's a sign of poor organizational depth. Contrast that with Minnesota, who is tied for the lead with six different prospects on the list (including four in the top 50). Four other teams also have six prospects on the list.
Within the A.L. Central, Kansas City, Detroit, and Chicago are all without any prospects in the top twenty. The Royals have three prospects on the list, led by OF Bubba Starling (#26). Wil Myers, the player K.C. traded away for James Shields, comes in at #4. Detroit has two players on the list, OF Nick Castellanos is their top guy (#21). Chicago has only one player on the list, and OF Courtney Hawkins (#68) is at least a couple years away.
Keith Law, ESPN's prospect expert, will have his list out soon, and there will be others as well. Most of the well respected lists will look similar, so while Lindor and Bauer may rank a bit higher or lower, the overall feel will be the same. There probably won't be other players in the Cleveland system showing up on most of these lists, and if they do, they'll likely be near the bottom, where Major League success is a much, much less likely outcome.