The Cleveland Indians have some great prospects in their system, so we take a look at some good and bad performances from the minors in April.
The first month of the season doesn’t determine how a full season will go, but it’s always nice to start out well. A good start can be the beginning of a huge jump for a prospect, while a poor start can put a player behind the 8 ball.
Below I’ll take a look at two Cleveland Indians prospects who were on opposite ends of the spectrum in the opening month.
Before the season, MLB.com had Conner Capel ranked as the Indians 12th best prospect. He has done nothing but raise his stock to begin the season. Last season, in Low-A Lake County, Capel showed good power, but his average and on-base percentage left something to be desired. This season, in High-A Lynchburg, he has greatly improved both. In April, Capel batted .325 and had a .392 OBP.
Capel has destroyed right-handed pitching to start the season, batting .342. He has also come up big in the clutch as shown by his .357 average with two outs and runners in scoring position. There has also been a big shift in his patience at the plate. He has raised his BB% to almost 11 percent, up from 8.7 percent, and cut his K% down to 16.7 percent from 22 percent last season. The lower K% means he’s making more contact and that shows in his .375 batting average on balls in play (BABIP).
If he continues on this pace a call-up to Double-A Akron will come sooner rather than later.
The Not So Good
Every Indians fan has been hearing about Francisco Mejia for a couple years. According to MLB.com, he was the Indians top prospect coming into this season. The average fan got their first real look at Mejia last season when the Indians called him up in September.
Unfortunately, this season he has gotten off to a very slow start. Through May 2, Mejia is batting only .182 and carrying his highest strikeout rate of his career at 23.1 percent. The majority of his struggles have come from the left side of the plate. As a left-handed batter he’s hitting .151 with 18 Ks in 73 at-bats. He also has had a tough time delivering in the clutch, batting only .143 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Going into this season Mejia, at 22 years old, is almost five years younger than the average Triple-A player. The fact he’s struggling is disappointing, but not unexpected. Given some time to settle in it won’t surprise me to see his numbers steadily rise as the season progresses.