Less than a month after Baseball America placed just two Indians prospects in their annual top-100 rankings, Keith Law has ranked the Indians as his 11th best system in all of baseball, a five-position jump from his ranking last season.
That shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise for anyone who follows the system in-depth, as the Indians do lack the big-name prospects near the top of the system (i.e. the type of player that would make a top-100 list), but they are absolutely stacked in the lower levels.
On top of calling the Indians system one of the most underrated in baseball, Law points to the “embarrassment of prospect riches” in last year’s Arizona League team, including Baseball America’s top prospects in the AZL list that is littered with potential future stars like 18-year-old infielder Brayan Rocchio, Jhon Torres (who was swapped for Oscar Mercado at the trade deadline), 18-year-old catcher Bo Naylor, 19-year-old pitcher Carlos Vargas, and Tahnaj Thomas (who was traded to the Pirates in November).
Law also notes (correctly, if I may add) that the Indians could either add to their already underrated system by trading Kluber or Bauer, or they could use their depth to go for it again in 2019. There’s no real wrong answer here.
If Cleveland does trade Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer for a huge haul, it could end up with a top-tier system, but the Indians also have the prospect capital to use to trade and get another player (an outfielder?) to help them contend again in 2019.
The Indians are ranked as the second-best AL Central farm system behind only the Twins, who are number four overall.