clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Brady Aiken is our No. 7 Cleveland Indians prospect for 2016. Who should be No. 8?

In a vote that was not even close.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After being the runner-up for several of our top prospect votes, pitcher Brady Aiken finally finds his spot in our Top 20 Cleveland Indians prospect list at number seven. Aiken was the Indians first pick of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft at 17th overall; just one year after being the first overall choice of the Houston Astros.

The saga of Brady Aiken and the Houston Astros was a bizarre one, but the gist of it is that the Astros drafted Aiken with their first pick in the 2014 draft, but saw concerning results in Aiken's physical before the two reached a signing agreement. Soon after that, the Astros reduced their offer to $3.2 million (down from $6.5 million). Aiken had Tommy John surgery the following year in March 2015 and was drafted in June 2015 by the Indians.

Aiken has still not pitched in the minor leagues as a member of the Indians organization and he likely will not until after the 2016 season starts. Prior to the injury, however, scouts loved his command and stuff of his three pitches, including a mid-90s fastball that may or not may still be there once he recovers from Tommy John Surgery. That is where the issue lies in evaluating Aiken; if he returns to pre-TJ form he is a potential number one starter, but who knows how he will recover. The outlook of pitchers after undergoing Tommy John surgery has improved greatly in recent, so hopefully the Indians will, in the end, have a No. 1 pick's worth of talent at No. 17 overall.

The recently-released Baseball America Indians top prospect list has Aiken as the Tribe's top overall pitching prospect, third overall prospect behind Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. Minor League Ball has him at ninth overall, behind five other pitchers, but John Sickels notes that if Aiken is healthy in 2016 he would have "the best combination of stuff and command" of all Indians prospects.

The next vote will probably be a runaway for Tyler Naquin, based on the last poll, but after that, it will be wide open.



(ages listed are for 2016 season)

Yandy Diaz (Age 24)
2015 (AA): 564 PA, 7 HR, 8 SB, .315/.412/.408, 143 wRC+

Shows a great eye at the plate and draws walks at a prolific rate. Emerged last season as a potential future option for the Indians at third base. Power is still underwhelming.

Triston McKenzie, SP (Age 18)
2015 (R): 12.0 IP, 0.75 ERA, 1.73 FIP, 39.5 K%, 7.0 BB%

One of two high school pitchers drafted in the first round by the Indians in the 2015 draft. Great fastball that should pick up velocity as he grows into his 6'5" frame. Advanced for his age (19), but not expected to make the Majors earlier than 2019.

Tyler Naquin, OF (Age 25)
2015 (AAA): 218 PA, 6 HR, 6 SB, .263/.353/.430, 127 wRC+

Former first-round pick whose ranking has slid in recent years due to injury. Could be in the Majors in early 2016 if he can stay healthy in Triple-A.

Francisco Mejia, C (Age 20)
2015 (A): 446 PA, 9 HR, 4 SB, .243/.324/.345, 99 wRC+

19-year-old catcher had a lot on his plate in 2015 and wasn't overwhelmed by the challenge of full-season baseball following a slow April. Threw out 34% of potential base stealers, and managed a young and talented pitching staff.

Adam Plutko, SP (Age 24)
2015 (AA): 116.1 IP, 2.86 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 19.4 K%, 5.0 BB%

Not as high of a ceiling as other Indians pitching prospects, but a great track record in the minors and could join the rotation as a fourth or fifth starter in 2016.