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Cleveland Indians Farm System Report

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

Ever since Terry Francona was hired as the Cleveland Indians manager in 2015, the Indians have had a winning season every year. They didn't make the playoffs in 2015, but they were one win away from winning the World Series in 2016, and they had the best record in the American League in 2017, but lost in the ALDS to the New York Yankees.

The Cleveland Indians are off to a 35-31 start in the 2018 season and they currently lead the American League Central. Cleveland is on pace to make it to the postseason for the third consecutive year. They have a very good product at the major league level, but the Indians also have very good prospects at the minor league level.

The top rated prospect in the Cleveland Indians farm system is catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia. The current catchers on the roster is Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez. They are both in there 30's and they are very good defensively. Mejia is projected to be called up to the majors some time this season. He won't be catching most likely, and Mejia will most likely go to the outfield. At some point, Mejia will be the everyday catcher. Mejia has played in 50 games with the Columbus Clippers at the Triple-A level so far in 2018. He has a .214 batting average with four homeruns and 25 RBI's. His on-base percentage is .271.

The second best prospect in the Indians farm system is right-handed pitcher Triston McKenzie. He started the season on the disabled list with a forearm injury. McKenzie has appeared in two games for the Akron RubberDucks in Double-A so far this season. He has 1-1 record with a 2.89 ERA. In 9.1 innings pitched, McKenzie has given up three hits and four runs. He has walked three batters and struck out nine. McKenzie is projected to reach the majors in 2019, but it might take him a little longer now that he was injured to start the season. He didn't play any games in Double-A last season. McKenzie played the entire 2017 season with the Lynchburg Hillcats in Class-A Advanced. He has the tools to become a number two or three starter in the MLB. McKenzie throws in the high 90s and has a very good complementary pitches.

The third best prospect in the Indians farm system is right-handed pitcher Shane Bieber. He is quickly progressing through the minor leagues. Bieber started the season in Double-A Akron, but he is now in Triple-A Columbus. His overall record in the minors this season is 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA. In 76.2 innings pitched, Bieber has given up 53 hits and 14 runs. He has walked just six batters and struck out 72. Bieber played in one game in the MLB this season against the Minnesota Twins. He pitched 5.2 innings in that game and Bieber gave up eight hits and four runs. He walked a batter and struck out six in that game. He has potential to be a starter at the MLB level, but it wouldn't be surprising if he became a mid-reliever.

The fourth best prospect in Cleveland's farm system is first baseman Bobby Bradley. He is currently in Double-A Akron. Bradley will be the starting first baseman one day for the Cleveland Indians. He has a .188 batting average with 10 homeruns and 29 RBI's, along with one stolen base. Bradley has a .296 on-base percentage. He is projected to reach the majors later on this season, but the odds are Bradley could be the starting first baseman for the Cleveland Indians in 2019. He has the power and the glove to be a very good major leaguer.

The fifth best prospect in the Indians farm system is third baseman Nolan Jones. With Jose Rameriz set to be the third baseman for the Cleveland Indians for the next deacde, Jones will most likely be used as trade bait. He is currently playing in Single-A with the Lake County Captains. Jones's batting average is .259 with six homeruns and 25 RBI's. He has a .383 on-base percentage. Jones isn't projected to reach the major leagues until 2020.

The sixth best prospect in Cleveland's farm system is shortstop Willi Castro. This is another prospect who could be used as trade bait because the Indians won't be moving on from Francisco Lindor anytime soon. Castro's batting average is .247 with two homeruns and 23 RBI's, along with 10 stolen bases. His on-base percentage is .311. Castro is currently playing in Double-A Akron.

Outfielder Will Benson is the eighth best prospect in the Indians farm system. The Cleveland Indians have an older outfield in Michael Brantley, Brandon Guyer, and Rajai Davis. Benson will be an everyday outfielder once he gets to the MLB. He is projected to reach the MLB in 2020. Benson is currently playing in Single-A Lake County Captains. His batting average is .204 with 11 homeruns and 28 RBI's, along with three stolen bases. Benson has a .361 on-base percentage.

Right-handed pitcher Aaron Civale is the ninth best prospect in Cleveland's farm system. He is currently playing in Double-A Akron and Civale is projected to reach the majors in 2019. His record is 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA. In 41.1 innings pitched, Civale has given up 36 hits and 16 runs. He has walked six batters and struck out 36. He has a very good fastball, slider, and changeup. Civale will most likely be a bullpen pitcher at the MLB level.

For more information on the Cleveland Indians prospects, visit MLB.com and click on players and top prospects.

This article was originally published on @gk18