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Lindor and Frazier Among Best of the Best
Unsurprisingly, both Francisco Lindor and Clint Frazier represented Cleveland on ESPN’s Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects List released this morning.
On the brighter side of things, Lindor came in as the sixth best prospect in baseball, and the fourth shortstop overall as that position in the minors is ridiculously deep. Lindor is the best defensively of the four, but Boston’s Xander Bogaerts, Oakland’s Addison Russell and Houston’s Carlos Correa‘s offensive prowess gave them all the nod over Lindor.
Law notes that “Lindor plays beyond his years,” and he’s “not sure what remains for Lindor to learn before he’s ready to take over the position in Cleveland.” Which is good news for the player widely theorized to be Cleveland’s starting shortstop in 2015.
The rest of Law’s scouting report is much of the same that fans have heard since Lindor was drafted. Gold Glove defense, high batting average and OBP, home runs in the teens and 20+ stolen bases.
Frazier debuted on the list at 45 after the Indians drafted him fifth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. Law says that Frazier’s bat speed is second only to the Cubs’s Javier Baez who ranked seventh behind Lindor on the list.
“[He has] furious hand acceleration producing hard contact and surprising power for a player his size,” Law says.
Defensively, Law believes that Frazier does not have the ability to stick in center, where the Indians seem intent on keeping him for the near future. Instead, Law believes Frazier is a left fielder in the future, due to below average arm strength. Law does note that “he has the aptitude to play up the middle if the situation forced it.”
The one major part of Frazier’s game that needs to be improved is his recognition of off-speed pitches, which is normal for a high school hitter that largely relies on driving fastballs over fences.
Some might find it curious that Pittsburgh’s Austin Meadows–drafted ninth overall in 2013, four spots behind Frazier–was 10 spots above his Georgia high school rival at 35th. The reason for that is Law has always believed that Meadows has more upside and is an everyday center fielder at the next level.
Law makes a surprising comparison for Meadows saying “he might have the best shot of anyone in the 2013 draft class to explode into an 8-WAR player, the way Mike Trout — another huge, athletic center fielder who proved more polished than forecasted — did after 2009.”