Cleveland Indians 2017 top prospects: No. 29, Conner Capel

Coming in at number 29 on our 2017 Cleveland Indians top prospect countdown is Conner Capel, an outfielder from Seven Lakes High School in Texas.

Coming in at Number 29 on our 2017 Top Prospect countdown is another recent draft pick, outfielder Conner Capel.

Who is Conner Capel?

Like Logan Ice, Capel was a 2016 draft pick of the Cleveland Indians. The 19-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder was drafted in the sixth round. He attended Seven Hills High in Katy, Texas and signed for slot ($361,300).

He was committed to play at the University of Texas but turned down the offer to go pro. He is the son of Mike Capel, a former relief pitcher who spent parts of three seasons in the major leagues.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Conner Capel was a standout high school player from Texas who was a top 100 draft prospect. Not only did he play center field, but he’s been clocked at 90 mph off the mound. As one would expect, he was phenomenal with the bat at the high school level, hitting .456 with 27 doubles and 23 stolen bases.

He did struggle in his transition to pro ball, though that’s hardly unexpected. He hit just .210/.270/.290 with five doubles and three triples for the Tribe’s Rookie Affiliate. He did post a very solid 7.2-percent walk rate and 13.1-percent strikeout rate, showing off his plate discipline and hand-eye coordination.

He also added ten stolen bases in just 35 games. He did not hit a home run and power is the part of his game that’s the least developed, but he could possibly develop into a 10-12 home run guy as he fills out.

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He plays center field currently and thanks to his plus speed has a very good chance of sticking there long-term. His bat profiles a lot better there and he could become a prototypical center field table-setter. His plus arm also allows room to move to right field if he does fail to handle center field, which has also led to some Tyler Naquin comparisons for him (though I personally think that’s a bit of a stretch).

Where does he go from here?

Thanks to having a former big leaguer for a dad, Capel is much more advanced than a typical high school draftee. He’s also a bit older and will turn 20 this May. He could start 2017 at Class A Lake County (full season ball), though the Indians could be conservative and send him to short season Mahoning Valley instead. Capel has the skills for the aggressive placement and scouts have raved about his makeup for years.

Capel is a guy who may struggle early with the bat as he continues to adjust to professional pitching but he has multiple plus tools with his speed, defense, and arm so he remains an exciting prospect, and one the Tribe probably didn’t expect to get in the fifth round.

If his hit tools ever catch up to his others he could be a big league regular in center field (Denard Span?) with a fourth outfielder a reasonable bet, perhaps in the Ezequiel Carrera mold.