A slick-fielding shortstop and recent addition for the Cleveland Indians cracked the top 20 of Major League Baseball’s prospect rankings, released this week.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor, who spent last season at Class A Lake County, was rated 14th on the list. Lindor, possibly the top fielding shortstop in the minors, is expected to quickly rise through the Tribe’s system. His ability in the field and at the plate — he’s a solid line-drive hitter with some pop – could make it easier for the Indians to entertain trade talks for Asdrubal Cabrera in the future.
Right-handed starter Trevor Bauer, picked up from Arizona this offseason in a three-team, nine-player deal, was ranked 17th overall among the game’s top prospects. Bauer quickly made it to the big leagues in Arizona, and he will be in the hunt for a spot in the Indians’ rotation this spring. Before a short stint with the D’backs, Bauer was 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
Bauer is known for his unique warmup routine — including ankle hops and long tossing.
Bauer’s former teammate at UCLA, Gerrit Cole, is ranked ninth. Cole, the No. 1 overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2011 draft, is among the top right-handed pitchers in the minors. He went 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA and an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio (136-45) last season in the minors. Although he might not break camp as a member of the Pirates’ rotation, he likely will get the call-up this season.
Also for the Pirates, right-handed starter Jameson Taillon drops in at No. 15 overall. Taillon (9-8, 3.55 ERA between Class A and Double-A in 2012) likely won’t be ready for his first taste of the majors until September, at the earliest.
For the Detroit Tigers, 2012 Erie SeaWolves members Nick Castellanos (outfielder, No. 21) and Bruce Rondon (reliever, No. 92) made it on the MLB.com list. Hard-throwing Rondon has a good chance to win the closer’s job for the Tigers, while Castellanos, a converted third baseman, could make the roster as a left fielder.
Jurickson Profar, a switch-hitting shortstop in the Texas Rangers’ farm system, is at the top of MLB’s prospect rankings. Check out the list here.