Have you heard the news? Bradley Zimmer is extremely good at baseball and everyone knows it. He is good at minor league baseball at least, and if everything goes right, he will be great for the Cleveland Indians in a year or two.
Baseball America, who rated Zimmer as the 31st overall prospect, put Zimmer at No. 5 in their latest list of the best center field prospects in baseball. Baseball America also has Zimmer as the lowest risk of all the top prospects. Here's what they had to say specifically about Zimmer's low risk to the Indians:
Lowest Risk: Cleveland’s Zimmer has cheap five-tool potential and a track record of success, making him a safe bet to be a productive big league center fielder. He may not end up being a star, but he should be a solid contributor for the Indians before long.
"Before long" can be interpreted however you want it to be interpreted, but the safe bet is on 2017 at the earliest, with 2018 being the most realistic debut. Zimmer dominated High-A ball last year -- hitting 10 home runs, stealing 32 bases, and slashing .308/.403/.493 (164 wRC+) in 78 games -- but he struggled a bit once he hit Double-A. He will have plenty of time to adjust to this new level of competition before moving on to Triple-A and eventually the majors; there is almost no reason to worry about him not doing so at this point.
The only other Indians prospect to make the list was Tyler Naquin at No. 19. Naquin, 24, is currently on the 40-man roster and fighting for a chance at the starting center field job on the big league club this season. And with Abraham Almonte's 80-game suspension, he has a real shot at getting it.
Before you start burning Baseball America prospect guides and revolting at Clint Frazier not being on the list, consider that Baseball America may not be counting him as a true center fielder. We all like to call him a center fielder because it would be great if he could stick as one, but many scouts see him as more of a corner outfielder, specifically a right fielder with a rocket arm. Baseball America also really likes Naquin, in general -- they had him No. 6 on the Indians top 10 list.
The rest of Baseball America's top five center fielders includes Byron Buxton at No. 1, Andrew Benintendi at No. 3, Lewis Brinson No. 3, and Anthony Alford No. 4.