Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mejia and Sheffield are Consensus Top 10
The other two players that Katrina, Nicholas, and myself all agreed on are catcher Francisco Mejia and left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield. Mejia is a guy that likely only the die-hard Tribe fans know much about as he’s only 19 years old and playing for the Class-A Lake County Captains. A quick look at his stats and many may question why all three of us have him in our top 10, but for young players stats don’t tell the whole story and that goes double for catchers. Mejia was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $350K (no small amount for the Indians) back in 2012. He’s a switch-hitting catcher with a plus arm. He has raw power that scouts like, and I have yet to hear one say he’ll need to move from behind the plate.
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Given his Dominican background, switch-hitting ability, raw power, and feel for the strike zone one name that some have brought up in regards to Mejia is Carlos Santana. That’s probably a bit much at this point but just shows how high an offensive ceiling some think this kid has. He’s still has to work on the finer points of catching, like pitch framing and calling a game but you’d be hard pressed to find many (any?) 19-year old catchers that don’t need work in those areas.
Mejia is not a guy that Tribe fans should expect to see in Cleveland any time soon, but he’s a guy that they should pay attention to at the same time. Baseball Prospectus thought so highly of Mejia heading into the 2015 season that they ranked him as their #2 prospect behind only Francisco Lindor. He’s only hitting .212 so far but he’s still drawing walks and has eight home runs for the Captains. Given his .231 BABIP he’s bound to come out of this slump at some point. Make no mistake, Mejia is a bona fide top five or six prospect in this strong Indians system.
Justus Sheffield was drafted 31st overall in 2014 by the Indians making him the highest drafted high school pitcher by the Indians since they took Adam Miller back in 2003 (also 31st overall). The Indians were able to get him away from a commitment to Vanderbilt, a program that won the College Baseball World Series a year ago and finished runner-up this summer (so needless to say, a top college program). Sheffield hasn’t disappointed the Indians (on the field at least) in his first full season in the pro ball. The 19-year old is striking out over 10 per nine innings for the Class-A Captains with a 4.22 ERA and very good 3.02 FIP. He did run into some off the field issues but nothing too serious for a kid who was still just 18 when the season began.
Some regarded Sheffield as the top pitching prospect in the Indians system heading into the 2015 season and if not for the addition of Aiken he very likely would still be. He may not have quite the ceiling of some of the new Tribe arms but he’s got #2/3 potential and, if his first 100 pro innings are any indication, some wipeout stuff.
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