Cleveland Indians: Four Farmhands Among Top 100 Prospects in Baseball

Four Cleveland Indians farmhands have been named to Major League Baseball’s Top 100 Prospect list according to MLB Network.

Yesterday, MLB Network announced the top 100 prospects for the upcoming season and the Cleveland Indians were well represented. Four Tribe farmhands ranked in the top 100:  Bradley Zimmer, Francisco Mejia, Triston McKenzie, and Bobby Bradley. These four will be at the top of most Tribe prospect lists after big seasons and big expectations heading into 2016.

Bradley Zimmer, OF – 22nd

Outfielder Bradley Zimmer once again led the way for the Tribe, ranking as the 22nd best prospect in baseball. He moved up four spots from the 2016 list when he was ranked 26th overall and first in the Tribe system. He slipped a bit in the eyes of some due to some struggles once he reached Triple-A, but he’s still got a great ceiling and could help the Indians this season. His combination of power and speed is some of the best in baseball as seen by his 15 home runs and 38 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A. Zimmer was also ranked the seventh best outfield prospect in baseball.

Francisco Mejia, C – 40th

Catcher Francisco Mejia comes in at number 40, a huge jump from his 85th in last summer’s midseason rankings (he was unranked in the 2016 preseason list). He made the huge jump thanks to a remarkable season that included a 50-game hitting streak. Mejia ranked as the second best catcher in the minors behind the Cardinals’ Carson Kelly who ranked 39th overall, just one spot ahead of Mejia. The young catcher also made it onto the Best Tools list, being listed as an “in the running” for best arm. Baseball America even ranked him as the top prospect in the Tribe’s system earlier this offseason, ahead of Zimmer.

Triston McKenzie, RHP – 57th

Right-handed starting pitcher Triston McKenzie just missed the top 50, ranking as the 57th best prospect in baseball. He too was unranked on the 2016 preseason list though he snuck onto the midseason list, coming in at 96. He’s cemented himself as the top pitching prospect in the Indians system, jumping over the likes of Brady Aiken. Still just 19 years old, the 6-foot-6 righty has the helium to continue to rise up this list in 2017.

Bobby Bradley, 1B – 95th

First baseman Bobby Bradley rounds out the Indians top 100 prospects, coming in at number 95 this year. Bradley actually fell from his midseason ranking of 67 last summer. The 20-year-old left-handed slugger blasted 29 home runs at Advanced-A last summer while driving in 102 runs. Despite those eye-popping numbers, many feel he’s a bit too one-dimensional due to his lack of speed and fielding. He also struck out 170 times in 2016. Still, though, there’s few in the minors with the raw power of Bradley. He also was ranked the fourth best first base prospect in baseball.

Falling off the list from 2016 were left-handed pitchers Rob Kaminsky (74th on the preseason list) and Brady Aiken (64th on the midseason list). Kaminsky has seen his stock fall ever since coming over to the Indians from the Cardinals in the summer of 2015 for Brandon Moss. He’s still pitching well but the ceiling doesn’t match up with most top 100 prospects.

Aiken is still working his way back from Tommy John and the Indians have been treating him with kid gloves. He’ll be almost two years removed from the surgery this spring so he should see his workload increase and with that his stock could (should?) rise as well.

The four prospects the Indians had in the top 100 weren’t the most, as both the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees had seven (the latter including two former Indians in Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield), but it was far from the least (multiple teams had zero in the top 100). The Tribe also don’t have multiple top 20 prospects like the Chicago White Sox, who have three thanks to their offseason trades.

Overall, the Tribe system ranks as a middle of the pack system after the big trade this summer, but it remains one of the deeper and more balanced farm systems in baseball with plenty of intriguing and talented players, some ready to compete as soon as 2017.