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Let’s Go Tribe’s top Cleveland Indians prospects for 2017 (1-10)

As voted on by the community.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Last week, our annual voting for top prospects concluded. It was a month-long series of debates, campaigning, and FanGraphs searching. In the end, a new top overall prospect was crowned, and we learned that the Let’s Go Tribe community still really loves prospects that are almost ready for primetime.

Before I get into a breakdown of each prospect, let’s take at how the vote shook out over the course of the last month. In total, 5,202 votes were cast for prospects, with winners taking a combined 2,029 votes, or 40.22 percent of all votes. Most polls were spread out among several top vote-getters; the only two prospects to receive more than 50 percent of the vote were Francisco Mejia as the No. 1 overall prospect, and Erik Gonzalez as the No. 14 prospect.

Here are the players relevant for today’s post, the 1-10 prospects:

Top prospect voting results

Prospect # Prospect name Runner-up Total votes Winner votes % of votes
Prospect # Prospect name Runner-up Total votes Winner votes % of votes
1 Francisco Mejia Bradley Zimmer 474 271 57.17%
2 Bradley Zimmer Yandy Diaz 479 190 39.67%
3 Triston McKenzie Yandy Diaz 415 165 39.76%
4 Yandy Diaz Greg Allen 252 79 31.35%
5 Bobby Bradley Greg Allen 241 97 40.25%
6 Brady Aiken Greg Allen 269 128 47.58%
7 Will Benson Greg Allen 465 214 46.02%
8 Greg Allen Nolan Jones 458 205 44.76%
9 Yu-Cheng Chang Rob Kaminsky 273 97 35.53%
10 Rob Kaminsky Nolan Jones 238 89 37.39%

Comparisons to top prospects from other outlets currently only include Baseball America (BA) and John Sikels over at Minor League Ball (MiLB). MLB Pipeline and Baseball Prospects, two outlets I usually like to include in this, have not yet updated their top Indians prospect lists for 2017.

Let’s get to it.

No. 1: Francisco Mejia, C

(BA: 1 | MiLB: 1)

Francisco Mejia stormed onto the radar of almost every Indians fan this season with his impressive 50-game hitting streak which spanned four months and two different levels of play. The switch-hitter slashed .342/.382/.514 in 2016 and was nearly dealt at the trade deadline for catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Instead, he remains in the Indians system as its consensus No. 1 overall prospects.

What you said

The Lame Ranger: “Francisco Mejia is young, plays a premium position and has the potential for being good offensively and defensively. His problems come from not taking any walks which can hurt him in the upper levels of the minors and I worry about his career high babip inflating this years stats.”

onetwoseven: “I’m Mejia 1, McKenzie 2 – but I can see the rationale for flipping them.”

No. 2: Bradley Zimmer, OF

(BA: 2 | MiLB: 2)

Despite a surge of power and a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League that culminated in a championship win for the Mesa Solar Sox, Indians fans cannot look past Bradley Zimmer’s most glaring issue: strikeouts. The stand-out prospects whiffed in a over a third of his at-bats last season, including a 37.3 strikeout rate in a short Triple-A stint.

Despite the strikeout concerns, there is still a lot to be excited about for Bradley Zimmer. The power, the smooth defense, the devilish goatee, it’s all there. That’s why he is No. 2. A

What you said

tr1betime: “I know Bradley has extreme bust potential, but he’s definitely my favorite prospect. He’s one of those guys you irrationally dream on.”

stuart dean: “High K-rate restricts ceiling, but the floor is so solid.”

Roger Dorn: “Zimmer is my number 1. There is the obvious strikeout concern which is something to watch closely, but I see a guy that can play all 3 outfield spots, has speed and also power to boot. Proximity to majors puts him ahead of Mejia, McKenzie, and others.”

No. 3: Triston McKenzie, RHP

(BA: 3 | MiLB: 3)

If Francisco Mejia was the biggest breakout prospect offensively, Triston McKenzie takes that title for the pitchers. The 6’5, 165-pound right-hander (aptly nicknamed “Sticks” by his teammates) absolutely dominated the New York-Penn League during his time with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, allowing just three earned runs over 49.1 innings. He didn’t slow down much when he reached Single-A, either, with a 3.18 ERA and 1.97 FIP in six starts.

McKenzie just turned 19 in August, yet he could find himself in Double-A next year with another dominating start to the season.

What you said

SOTV: “McKenzie is a clear cut guy for me here. His ceiling may be as high as anyone in the system. If he ever gets the extra few ticks most expect on his fastball as he matures, he becomes an elite pitching prospect. He’s pretty darn close to that right now”

PauduaDSP: “I feel like McKenzie’s ceiling is higher than Bradley and probably Zimmer’s as well.”

No. 4: Yandy Diaz, IF/OF

(BA: n/a | MiLB: 12)

This is where the Let’s Go Tribe community’s love for near-ready prospects shows. Yandy Diaz may not have the highest ceiling in the minors, but is arguably the prospect closest contributing at the major-league level. For the first time in his career, Yandy showed power consistently throughout 2016 with seven home runs to compliment his excellent eye at the plate.

Diaz’s defensive utility is being pushed as well. The 25-year-old spent time at several positions in 2016, including third base and outfield.

What you said

Brian Hemminger: “So far, the only position Diaz hasn’t played has been shortstop. He actually originally came up as a second baseman so that’s not an issue. I don’t expect Lindor to need many days off, but Ramirez can play SS if he does and Diaz can slot over to third.”

No. 5: Bobby Bradley, 1B

(BA: 5 | MiLB: 4)

For the second season in a row, 20-year-old first baseman Bobby Bradley put up incredible power numbers in the minors. He finished 2016 with a career-high 29 home runs, all against High-A pitching. Unlike a lot of power-first prospects, Bradley is great at drawing walks — 13.1 percent in 2016. However, like most power-first prospects, he strikeouts a tad too much. But let me reiterate, the kid is only 20. He has time, he has a ton of power, and he has so much potential.

What you said

markn95: “It’s more likely than not that, 3-4 years from now, we’ll look back at this list and laugh that we ranked Yandy Diaz ahead of Bradley. And that’s not a knock on Diaz, who I can’t wait to see at the major league level. It’s just the upside (or ceiling, to borrow from yesterday’s conversation) that Bradley has.”

Zaza Braggins: “This comment is one post too late, but I suspect Bradley is going to break a lot of hearts. Unlike say, Zimmer, there’s just no margin with the bat. Zero secondary skills, huge red flags with the contact issues. Last offseason people pointed to Gallo as the upside to Bradley, but you put Gallo’s bat at first base/dh and not sure how good a prospect he is at this point.”

No. 6: Brady Aiken, LHP

(BA: 4 | MiLB: 5)

Last season, Indians fans were able to get their first look at Brady Aiken since he was drafted in 2015 while recovery from Tommy John surgery. Early returns did not look good on paper, but recovering from such a procedure is something that every player does at their own pace and in different ways. Regardless of his short-term progress, his ceiling is so incredibly high that prospect evaluators cannot help but get excited about the left-hander’s future.

What you said

Mike Bobal: “No doubt this is a key year for Aiken. If he flounders, yes the prospect ranking takes a huge hit. Until then, let’s recall he was the #1 overall pick in the draft before the Tribe got its hands on him.”

SOTV: “Aiken here for me. Like Allen a lot, but Aiken could be someone very special.”

No. 7: Will Benson, OF

(BA: 7 | MiLB: 11)

Will Benson is the first 2016 draft pick to make the list, and for good reason. After a slow start to his Rookie-league campaign, Benson turned in a powerful .209/.321/.424 slash with six home runs in 44 games, good for a wRC+ of 112. An all-around great athlete, Benson could have a remarkably high ceiling if he can work out some swing mechanic issues in the next few years.

What you said

SOTV: “Dominant tools. Aiken is obvious, he was the first pick in the draft. Bradley is the prodigious power, that’s what Benson projects as well with better athleticism.”

alisonmarie658: “He has great innate gifts and it will be exciting to see how he is impacted by coaching in the minor league system.”

No. 8: Greg Allen, OF

(BA: 10 | MiLB: 10)

It’s probably a little early to claim Greg Allen as the next Kenny Lofton, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of Indians fans from doing it. Allen clearly has the speed and defensive acumen, and in 2016 his bat was impressive on its own. The 23-year-old broke into Double-A this past season and slashed .290/.399/.441 in 37 games. Similar to Mejia, Allen was almost lost in the failed Jonathan Lucroy trade.

What you said

G’Son: “BTW.. the photo of Allen putting the bunt down..hands out in front of him..handle end of the bat below the barrel.. eye on the ball.. his posture.. etc.. has to remind you of the technique Kenny Lofton used.. when he wasn’t dragging a bunt..”

xxxczema: “Greg Allen should be much higher than this. We should all be ashamed.”

Roger Dorn: “Allen has top-end speed and defense, it’s just a matter of prioritizing certain tools over others.”

No. 9: Yu-Cheng Chang, SS

(BA: 6 | MiLB: 6)

With Francisco Lindor emerging as the greatest human being to ever touch a baseball, it’s difficult to keep Yu-Cheng Chang (or any shortstop prospect) on one’s radar. But despite eventually being blocked by Lindor, Chang continues to plug away as one of the organization’s best shortstops. He spent all of the summer in High-A where he slashed .259/.332/.463 with a career-high 13 home runs. In the Arizona Fall League, Chang failed to homer in 62 plate appearances, but he slashed for .304/.361/.393.

What you said

SOTV: “While not an elite defender at SS most believe he can stick there if need be. Even if he has to move his bat has shown nice upside. He’s been young at every level and begins this year at AA.”

jhon: “Reminds me a little of Mejia’s position last year. If he comes out of the gate hot all of the sudden he’ll look like one of our top several prospects.”

No. 10: Rob Kaminsky, LHP

(BA: n/a | MiLB: 7)

Rob Kaminsky’s curveball, which has been called the best in the minor leagues more than once, took some time to adjust to Double-A. Overall, Kaminsky had an up-and-down year for the Akron RubberDucks, mostly due to injuries, but he still finished with a solid 3.28 ERA and a 3.91 FIP in 25 starts.

What you said

HighlandH: “This year will show if he is going to emerge or fade. A healthy year and he will IMO emerge.”

markn95: “I like Kaminsky as a prospect. Left-handed, former first round pick, passed the AA gauntlet at age 21. He’ll probably go as far as his curveball will take him, but then again, he throws pretty hard for a lefty. Maybe his fastball will play up too.”