In a surprise upset (maybe?) catching prospect Francisco Mejia is our No. 1 Cleveland Indians prospect for 2017, edging out last year’s No. 1 prospect, outfielder Bradley Zimmer, by a full XX votes. Mejia failed to crack our top-10 last season, landing at No. 11 instead, but a true breakout season and incredible hitting streak was enough to propel him all the way to number one.
Mejia’s 2016 campaign in the minors was the stuff of legends. The switch-hitting 20-year-old registered a hit in 50-straight games strung between the Class-A Lake County Captains and High-A Lynchburg Hillcats. He finished the season slashing .347/.384/.531 with the former and .333/.380/.488 with the latter — he also 11 home runs at both levels, combined.
During the streak, which spanned from May 27 to August 13, Mejia recorded 53 singles, 15 doubles, two triples, and eight home runs. He walked just 10 times, though, leading to a wonky .386/.414/.599 slash line.
It’s also worth noting that the Indians almost lost Mejia at the trade deadline. He was the headline prospect in a deal that would have brought Jonothan Lucroy over from Milwaukee Brewers. Instead, Lucroy exercised his no-trade option, the deal fell through, and Mejia just. kept hitting.
You are not the first to name Francisco Mejia as the Tribe’s top overall prospect, either. Baseball America did the same when they released their top-10 Indians prospects for 2017 list back in November. MLB Pipeline currently has Mejia listed as the Indians’ fourth overall prospect.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 2 PROSPECT FOR 2017?
Brady Aiken, LHP (Age 20)
2016 (R): 24.0 IP, 7.13 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 29.4 K%, 10.9 BB%
2016 (A-): 22.1 IP, 4.43 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 22.5 K%, 8.2 BB%
Stats do not mean much right now as he's working way back from 2015 Tommy John surgery. Expected to be full-strength for 2017, but no reason to rush. Very high ceiling.
Bobby Bradley, 1B (Age 20)
2016 (A+): 131 PA, 29 HR, 3 SB, .235/.344/.466, 121 wRC+
Twenty-seven or more home runs in first two full seasons in minors. Strikeout issues, but he's still only 20 in High-A.
Yandy Diaz, 3B (Age 25)
2016 (AA): 110 PA, 2 HR, 6 SB, .286/.445/.381, 144 wRC+
2016 (AAA): 416 PA, 7 HR, 5 SB, .325/.399/.461, 149 wRC+
History of excellent plate approach, finally found power last season. Should debut early in 2017 at third base or outfield.
Triston McKenzie, RHP (Age 19)
2016 (A-): 49.1 IP, 0.55 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 28.7 K%, 8.3 BB%
2016 (A): 34.0 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 36.8 K%, 4.5 BB%
Quickly played his way out of Low-A despite only being 18 for much of the season. Pitched even better in Class-A with an unhittable fastball-changeup-curve combination.
Bradley Zimmer, OF (Age 24)
2016 (AA): 407 PA, 14 HR, 33 SB, .253/.371/.471, 136 wRC+
2016 (AAA): 150 PA, 1 HR, 5 SB, .242/.349/.305, 95 wRC+
Former first-round pick who could debut in 2017. Strikeout issues persist at each level of minors. Slashed .257/.421/.514 in Arizona Fall League.