Baseball Prospectus has released their Top 10 Cleveland Indians prospects for 2016 list and it is… different. On most every list I have seen it has been unanimously Bradley Zimmer No. 1 with Clint Frazier No. 2. After that, it has been a crapshoot between several different pitchers including Mike Clevinger, Justus Sheffield, Rob Kaminsky, and Brady Aiken. Baseball Prospectus has mixed things up a bit by putting Brady Aiken as the No. 2 prospect, not Clint Frazier.
Baseball Prospectus' Top 10 Indians prospects
- Bradley Zimmer, OF
- Brady Aiken, LHP
- Clint Frazier, OF
- Justus Sheffield, LHP
- Bobby Bradley, 1B
- Rob Kaminsky, LHP
- Triston McKenzie, RHP
- Juan Hillman, LHP
- Francisco Mejia, C
- Mike Papi, OF
Similar to Baseball America's top Indians prospects, this list heavily favors upside over being near major league-ready. That is evident, not only in Aiken’s status as the second overall prospect, but also the fact that Triston McKenzie, Juan Hillman, and Francisco Mejia all make the Top 10 despite being years away from the big leagues. Bobby Bradley, who has the biggest power upside of Indians prospects, is ranked No. 5 behind pitcher Justus Sheffield.
Most notably absent from the list is Tyler Naquin, who most consider to be at least a Top 10 prospect heading into 2016. But again, this list seems to be more upside driven, and Baseball Prospectus likely does not see much upside in Naquin left, given his injury history.
Clint Frazier’s loss of the second overall spot is most likely a result of his wild, sometimes too overly aggressive, approach at the plate that had him striking out in 20 percent of his plate appearances in 2015, and nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances in 2014.
Brady Aiken, on the other hand, has tremendous upside as a number one starting pitcher if he fully recovers from Tommy John surgery that he underwent last March, one month before the Indians drafted him 17th overall in the first-year player draft. Aiken also recently started pitching on a baseball mound again for the first time since he returned from that surgery, although he is not expected to be ready for game action until well after the 2016 season starts. Even then, his playing time will be closely monitored so we will not see the full Brady Aiken in action until 2017. If all these high rankings are any indication, that is going to be a fun year to watch.
As Zaza Braggins pointed out in the comments, the post on BP appears to no longer be behind a paywall if you want to read their own explanations for each pick yourself. A lot of good insight there, as always.