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Cleveland Indians prospects list - #14: Yu-Cheng Chang

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This young man knows how to make a good first impression...

This is a stock photo, used because we're light on Yu-Cheng Chang images.
This is a stock photo, used because we're light on Yu-Cheng Chang images.
Bob Levey/Getty Images


Let's Go Tribe is putting together its own ranking of the top Indians prospects, with readers voting on each entry. Here are the previous entries in the series:

  1. Francisco Lindor
  2. Clint Frazier
  3. Bradley Zimmer
  4. Giovanny Urshela
  5. Francisco Mejia
  6. Tyler Naquin
  7. Bobby Bradley
  8. James Ramsey
  9. Justus Sheffield
  10. Erik Gonzalez
  11. Mike Papi
  12. Mitch Brown
  13. Jesus Aguilar
The voting tightened up this week, and no one had had especially strong support, as we've reached the stage in this process where it's hard to separate these guys, with different voters valuing different things:

  • Luis Lugo 11%
  • Yu Cheng Chang 35%
  • Shawn Morimando 1%
  • Ryan Merritt 13%
  • Carlos Moncrief 28%
  • Cody Anderson 10%
  • Grant Hockin 2%
Links to Yu-Cheng Chang's Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs pages

Chang, a shortstop who is now 19 years old, was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent back in June of 2013 for a bonus of $500,000. At that time Baseball America called Chang a good athlete, but also said:

...he doesn't have a plus tool right now, which leaves some scouts with questions about where he profiles.

Many scouts seem to see him as a future second or third baseman, or perhaps a corner outfielder. Given that we all hope shortstop for the Indians is covered for the next decade or so, a position change for Chang shouldn't be a big issue. In his short U.S. debut last year, Chang played almost as much third base as shortstop, so maybe that's where management eventually sees him making an impact.

Speaking of that short debut, it was awfully impressive. Chang played in the Arizona League last summer (not to be confused with the Arizona Fall League), appearing in 42 games. In 182 plate appearances Chang (a switch hitter) posted a very impressive batting line of .346/.420/.566, with 19 extra-base hits, including 6 home runs. He also stole 6 bases in 7 attempts. He was the second-best hitter in the league, behind only his fellow Tribe prospect Bobby Bradley.

Chang's walk rate was 9.9%, which isn't anything special, but isn't bad either; same goes for his 15.5% strikeout rate.

I don't know anyone who expected that kind of production from Chang. He wasn't even really on my radar at the start of the season; now I wonder if he's been rated too low here. Truthfully, he probably isn't being rated too low, because we probably shouldn't read too much into two months of rookie ball. Still, those numbers make Chang a prospect to keep an eye on as the 2015 season gets under way. I'm not sure what level he's likely to start out at. I would like to see him sent to full-season ball in Lake County, but Mahoning Valley for the shorter season.

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Who do you think should be the #15 Indians prospect?

Remember to also let us know in the comments which player you think should join the voting next. At least one of the players in this week's poll will fail to make the top 20, so now is the time to push hard for whatever pet cause you may have.