Cleveland Indians 2016 Top 30 Prospects Review – No. 30 to 25

Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Reviewing the Cleveland Indians 2016 Preseason Top Prospects – No. 30 to 25

Continuing our review of the Cleveland Indians 2016 preseason top prospects, today we look at six guys that just barely cracked the top 30 list this past March. Included are a trio of left-handed pitchers, a prospect mainstay, and some intriguing infield prospects.

#30 Willi Castro, SS

Coming in at number 30 on our preseason top prospect list, Castro was a high ceiling and very raw young player. Just 18 on Opening Day, he spent most of the season at Class-A Lake County before seeing some time at Advanced-A Lynchburg. The 19-year-old switch-hitting shortstop hit .258/.285/.368 this season in 126 games and over 550 plate appearances. He hit seven home runs in 2016, more than doubling his career total. He also hit 21 doubles, eight triples, and stole 16 bases. Overall the offense may not have looked too impressive but consider this, at nearly the same age (within about six months), Francisco Lindor hit .257 with 24 doubles, three triples, and six home runs at Lake County.

Future Outlook: There’s still plenty for Castro to work on. In his three seasons stateside he has yet to post a walk rate over 3.5-percent. He doesn’t strikeout a ton though did see his numbers rise a decent bit in 2016. He finally started to show some pop though it’s still a developing skill. The Indians have been pretty aggressive with the extremely raw Castro and he could open 2017 at Advanced-A Lynchburg if the trend continues. Still not ready to jump to “top prospect” status, but Castro remains one of the more interesting prospects in the system.

#29 Shawn Morimando, LHP

 Morimando came in at number 29 on our preseason top prospect list. The 23-year-old lefty was added to the Tribe’s 40-man roster last fall though spent most of the 2016 season in the minors. He began the year at Double-A Akron where he pitched in each of the previous two seasons. In 16 starts, he went 10-3 with a 3.09 ERA and made the Eastern League All-Star squad. He then made 11 starts at Triple-A Columbus going 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA. In total, he threw 152 1/3 innings in the minors this year. He’s not a big strikeout guy (7.0 K/9) but limited damage with a 1.30 WHIP across the two levels. He also made his big league debut with the Indians this year, appearing in two games as a reliever and going 4 2/3 innings in which he allowed six runs on nine hits.

Future Outlook: At just 23, Morimando was one of the youngest members of the Clippers (and Indians) pitching staff this year and held his own against some tough International League competition. He has a solid three-pitch mix so remaining a starter remains a possibility with him. However, control is still not the greatest (though improved from last year) and the sheer depth the Indians have could result in him ultimately moving to the bullpen. The Indians don’t have a lot of left-handed relief options outside of Andrew Miller and Kyle Crockett so Morimando could potentially make a name for himself out of the pen. He’ll still have two minor league options, though, heading into 2017 so there’s time for the Indians to decide what the best course. He’s a guy that that will definitely move up the list next year but remains outside of the “top” prospects in the system.

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