Could the Cleveland Indians turn to top prospects Bradley Zimmer or Clint Frazier for help this season?
While the Cleveland Indians have done a nice job battling through a depleted outfield depth chart at the major league level in 2016, it’s assuring to know there are options in the minors. Top prospects Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier are both excelling at Double-A Akron and could provide a boost to the major league club later this season, according to team president Chris Antonetti.
Cleveland has already shown a willingness to promote from within, as Tyler Naquin has thrived in the majors since earning his call-up. The help may not be needed immediately, with Abraham Almonte‘s suspension nearly over, but Cleveland has options in Zimmer or Frazier should he be ineffective upon his return.
More from Away Back Gone
- Cleveland Guardians tantalizingly close to locking up AL Central tiebreakers
- Cleveland Guardians: Terry Francona becomes meme in profanity-laced ejection
- Say goodbye to defensive shifts and hello to bigger bases, pitch clock in 2023
- Cleveland Guardians: Shane Bieber second-fastest to 800 strikeouts in major-league history
- The next week will make or break the Cleveland Guardians’ season
Zimmer entered the 2016 season as the Indians, No. 1 prospect and baseball’s No. 22 overall prospect, according to MLB.com. And he is showing why he deserves those rankings.
Zimmer is already playing in Akron after being selected by the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the 2014 draft. The 23-year-old made a strong first impression later in the year, posting a .302/.400/.492 slash in A-ball in 2014.
Zimmer split the 2015 season between Advanced-A Lynchburg and Double-A Akron and had a strong all-around year. He batted a combined .273 with a .368 on-base percentage. He showed his power potential by slugging at a .446 rate with 16 home runs and 63 RBI.He also showed tremendous speed in 2015 after stealing 44 bases in 51 attempts.
The terrific numbers were not an aberration, as Zimmer is once again proving his status as an elite prospect in 2016. The outfielder’s average is down this season, but he already has 10 home runs, 38 RBI, and 21 stolen bases through just 60 games.
Zimmer is also a solid defender, as he has just made two errors and boasts a .986 fielding percentage.
Frazier ranks directly behind Zimmer in both the team prospect and overall rankings according to MLB.com, ranking as Cleveland’s No. 2 prospect and 23rd in baseball. Here at Wahoo’s on First, though, we ranked him as the Tribe’s No. 1 prospect and for good reason: Frazier has thrived since being drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft.
As stellar as Zimmer’s stats have been since beginning his professional career, one can argue Frazier has outplayed him. After being drafted, Frazier posted a .297/.362/.506 slash in Rookie ball despite being just 18 years old. He continued to impress in 2014, posting a .266 average with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in a full year with Single-A Lake County.
He was even better in 2015 at Advanced-A Lynchburg, where he posted career-highs in home runs, RBI on-base percentage, and stolen bases. As good as his 2015 season was, he has been even better this year.
Frazier currently boasts a .307/.399/.509 slash with seven home runs and 31 RBI. He has also added nine stolen bases in 10 attempts. But his defense needs to improve. He has committed six errors, which has led to a not-so-great .936 fielding percentage. He does have six assists, but that doesn’t necessarily make up for the errors. However, it seems as though his bat is more than ready to make an impact at the major league level.
With Almonte not being a sure thing and Michael Brantley still dealing with his injury, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Zimmer or Fraizer could make an impact on the big league roster in 2016.