Entering 2016, Juan Hillman and Triston McKenzie were both top 10 pitching prospects in the Indians organization and many weren't sure who would be the better of the two. That all changed in one half season, as evidenced by the fact they're now separated by 10 spots in the LGT rankings.
Hillman barely scraped by Erik Gonzalez, earning just four more votes and 31 percent in total, so what happened?
Taken in the second round of the 2015 MLB draft, Hillman actually got off to an incredible start in his sophomore season, going on a 25-inning scoreless streak which included five starts in a row allowing zero earned runs out of his first six starts, which lowered his season ERA to 0.89 at the time.
At that moment, Hillman was neck and neck with McKenzie as one of the top pitchers in Low-A, but he couldn't keep up the incredible pace and the wheels started to come off as the rest of the year wore on.
Hillman doesn't quite possess McKenzie's nasty curveball or his peak velocity, striking batters out at a lower rate of about 17 percent, so as of right now, he has to get batters to get themselves out.
That strategy didn't pan out for the rest of the season. After his scoreless innings streak was ended on July 21st, Hillman would give up at least one run in all of his remaining nine starts while only pitching over four innings one time, finishing the season with a 4.43 ERA and a 4.25 FIP.
The 19-year old southpaw is still loaded with talent, however, and it will be very interesting to see how he adapts to full season baseball in 2017, especially after he slowed down halfway through a shortened season in 2016. There's still plenty to like about the godson of Tom Gordon so don't give up on the youngster yet!
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 14 PROSPECT FOR 2017?
Shawn Armstrong, RHP (Age 26)
2016 (AAA): 49.0 IP, 1.84 ERA,2.19 FIP, 35.3 K%, 14.2 BB%
2016 (MLB): 10.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 15.9 K%, 11.4 BB% 2011 eighteenth round pick,
Spent the bulk of his time during 2016 in AAA where he struck out seemingly everyone with his mid-90s fastball and a devastating slider. Struggles with walks quite a bit, but he can blow hitters away with a couple of advanced pitches.
Willi Castro, SS (Age 19)
2016 (A): 548 PA, 7 HR, 16 SB, ..259/.286/.371, 90 wRC+
2016 (A+): 9 PA, 0 HR, 0 SB, .222/.222/.222, 18 wRC+
Switch-hitting short stop out of the Dominican Republic. Spent the majority of 2016 in A-ball, strikeouts spiked as did his power. Good speed on the bases, hardly walks at all.
Aaron Civale, RHP (Age 21)
2016 (A-): 37.2 IP, 1.67 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 20.0 K%, 5.7 BB%
2016 third round draft pick, a power arm transitioning from the relief role to starting. His innings were limited in his pro debut due to the college season, but he should be ready to stretch out in 2017.
Matt Esparza, RHP (Age 22)
2016 (A): 100.1 IP, 3.14 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 27.2 K%, 5.5 BB%
2016 (A+): 39.0 IP, 3.92 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 18.8 K%, 8.2 BB%
Excelled in first full season in Indians system, struck out 12 batters in one Class-A game. Made it to High-A late in season, likely to start 2017 with Lynchburg Hillcats.
Erik Gonzalez, IF (Age 25)
2016 (AAA): 460 PA, 11 HR, 12 SB, .296/.329/.450, 122 wRC+
2016 (MLB): 17 PA, 0 HR, 0 SB, .313/.353/.313, 83 wRC+
Blocked at SS by Francisco Lindor and likely to be passed as a utility player by Yandy Diaz. Still a capable major-leaguer who could find a permanent home somewhere in a trade.
Tyler Krieger, 2B (Age 22)
2016 (A): 299 PA, 3 HR, 15 SB, .313/.385/.427, 141 wRC+
2016 (A+): 257 PA, 2 HR, 6 SB, .282/.369/.405, 118 wRC+
A high-average hitter with a good amount of speed on the base paths. Doesn't strike out a lot and walks at a decent clip. Could find himself in Akron at some point in 2017.
Mark Mathias, 2B (Age 22)
2016 (A+): 490 PA, 5 HR, 9 SB, .274/.359/.405, 115 wRC+
2016 (AA): 16 PA, 0 HR, 0 SB, .067/.125/.133, -35 wRC+
2015 third-round pick skipped Single-A Lake County and had an expected slow start to 2016, but finished with 40 doubles and improved every month. Played third base when Krieger was promoted.
Shawn Morimando, LHP (Age 24)
2016 (AA): 93.1 IP, 3.09 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 19.0 K%, 9.4 BB%
2016 (AAA): 59.0 IP, 3.51 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 18.2 K%, 8.3 BB%
2016 (MLB): 4.2 IP, 11.57 ERA, 9.79 FIP, 18.5 K%, 18.5 BB%
Could be a back-of-the-rotation starter or a reliever. Fastball sits in the low to mid-90s. Secondary pitches, including slider and changeup, are good compliments. Command is an issue moving forward.
Adam Plutko, RHP (Age 25)
2016 (AA): 71.2 IP, 3.27 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 22.2 K%, 4.2 BB%
2016 (AAA): 90.0 IP, 4.10 ERA,3.97 FIP, 17.7 K%, 9.0 BB%
2016 (MLB): 3.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 6.69 FIP, 16.7 K%, 11.1 BB%
Excellent control of his four-pitch repertoire. Won't succeed on "stuff", but has good pitch selection and precision.
Nellie Rodriguez, 1B (Age 22)
2016 (AA): 579 PA, 26 HR, 1 SB, .250/.352/.474, 129 wRC+
Continued to mash as he spent a full season in Akron. Strikes out at an alarming rate, but also saw an uptick in walks last season. Drove in 85 RBI to lead the RubberDucks in 2016