Let's Go Tribe is putting together its own ranking of the top Indians prospects. Here are the previous entries in the series:
- Francisco Lindor
- Clint Frazier
- Bradley Zimmer
- Giovanny Urshela
- Francisco Mejia
- Tyler Naquin
- Bobby Bradley
The vote for #8 was a race between two candidates. We got as close as we've been to our first pitcher, but that'll have to wait (probably) one more time:
- Justus Sheffield 27%
- James Ramsey 39%
- Erik Gonzalez 14%
- Mitch Brown 6%
- Mike Papi: 4%
- Luis Lugo: 10%
Ramsey was the trade return for the final two months of Justin Masterson. Given that Masterson's 2014 struggles grew even worse in St. Louis and there was zero chance the team could have gotten a compensation draft pick for him, it's hard to argue that the Indians were wise to move him. That they were able to land a prospect who would rank in the team's top ten is a nice bonus.
Ramsey was the Cardinals' 1st round pick in 2012, chosen just a few spots after the Tribe grabbed Tyler Naquin (who came in at #6 in this project). He began 2013 in Rookie Ball, but was all the way up to Double-A a couple months later, where he posted a 123 wRC+ in 416 plate appearances. In part because St. Louis has a number of talented young outfielders and prospects, he was in Double-A again with them in 2014, and he put up a line of .300/.389/.527, improving his contact rate and power numbers.
The Indians, who have a strong group of outfield prospects themselves, but a younger group, were happy to send Ramsey to Triple-A after they acquired him. in 28 games (and 127 PA) for the Clippers, Ramsey hit .284/.365/.468, good for a 130 wRC+. Ramsey turned 25 in December, so he's not young as prospects go, but he doesn't seem to need much more seasoning.
It's natural to compare Ramsey and Naquin, in part because of their similar draft status, in part because they both seem pretty close to MLB ready. Ramsey has played mostly center field, but his defense is not rated as highly as Naquin's, and he (Ramsey) seems more likely to end up in a corner spot. Ramsey feels to me more like a fourth outfielder than a good starter, with the ability to fill in at any of the three positions. He's hit well enough that my assessment could prove wrong though, and if he does well early on this year, we could see him in Cleveland by midsummer and maybe in a starting role come 2016.
Who do you think should be the #9 Indians prospect?