While he's not exactly a household name just yet, Tyler Krieger did more than enough to make an impact in 2016 to crack the LGT top 20 prospects for the first time, coming in 19th overall this year.
A former fourth round pick in the 2015 MLB draft, Krieger didn't play the year he was drafted due to nagging shoulder injury that he had played the previous college season with.
The switch-hitting middle infielder rewarded the Tribe's patience by promptly demolishing Single-A pitching in his professional debut. In 69 games with Lake County, Krieger sported a 313/.385/.427 slash line which included a hitting streak of 23 games that got overshadowed by his teammate Francisco Mejia.
Krieger hasn't shown a ton of power yet, but his contact rate is spectacular and while he did strike out a bit too much, he actually dropped his whiff-rate after being promoted to High-A Lynchburg. Believe it or not, MLB.com even has him ranked as the 10th best second baseman in all of the minor leagues right now.
If the ability to slug extra base hits can improve, Krieger has a very promising future and could be the man to take Jason Kipnis' place in a few years.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 20 PROSPECT FOR 2017?
Shane Bieber, RHP (Age 21)
2016 (A-): 24.0 IP, 0.38 ERA, 1.90 FIP, 24.7 K%, 2.4 BB%
2016 fourth round draft pick, solid pitch repertoire and excellent command (similar to Josh Tomlin) make him an intriguing prospect. Fastball sits in the low 90s paired with a slider and changeup. Could find himself in Lake County in 2017 as a 22 year old.
Andrew Calica, OF (Age 21)
2016 (A-): 174 PA, 2 HR, 14 SB, .388/.491/.568, wRC+ 213
2016 (A): 42 PA, 1 HR, 1 SB, .359/.405/.523, wRC+ 173
2016 11th round draft pick was an advanced bat out of college who absolutely tore up Low-A and Single-A pitching in his first taste of pro ball.
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.
Oscar Gonzalez, OF (Age 18)
2016 (R): 155 PA, 8 HR, 4 SB, .303/.342/.566, 148 wRC+
2016 (A-): 4 PA, 0 HR, 0 SB, .000/.250/.000, 12 wRC+
Highly promising young Dominican player who broke out big with an MVP season for the AZL Indians last year. High strikeout rate is a concern but still very young.
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.
Gabriel Mejia, OF (Age 21)
2016 (A-): 293 PA, 0 HR, 28 SB, .322/.378/.375, 129 wRC+
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2013. Has yet to hit a home run in his professional career, but continues to be a threat on bases after swiping 28 bags in 2016 (second best in New York-Penn Leagu). First season where he struck out significantly more than he walked
Thomas Pannone, LHP (Age 22)
2016 (A): 89.1 IP, 3.02 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 23.0 K%, 6.9 BB%
2016 (A+): 43.2 IP, 1.65 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 21.7 K%, 9.1 BB%
2013 ninth round pick had a breakout 2016 where he led all Indians full season starting pitchers in ERA. Was promoted to High-A Lynchburg mid-season and performed even better than in Lake County
Luke Wakamatsu, SS (Age 20)
2016 (A-): 77 PA, 0 HR, 1 SB, .323/.312/.304, 91 wRC+
Son of MLB coach Don Wakamatsu, owner of the greatest Twitter handle ever, @skywaka22.