With so little excitement surrounding the 2010 Indians season, Baseball America says you should get juiced about the future. In their annual Top 100 Prospects list, your Wahoo Warriors have five of the top 65 players. This is tied for second with the Cubs, trailing only the Tampa Bay Rays who have seven. There is no surprise who is listed.
#10 Carlos Santana – Odds are you will probably see the top prospect in the Tribe farm system at some point this season. The catching position is being kept warm for him by career backup Mike Redmond and two guys who will probably be career backups in Wyatt Toregas and Lou Marson. Everything you hear about him we hope to be true; could be the second coming of Victor Martinez.
#31 Lonnie Chisenhaul – The former top Tribe draft pick in 2008 made his debut in Akron last year and is rising fast. The third base position currently being occupied by Jhonny Peralta will be his by no later than 2012. He rakes line-drives to all fields and is just 21 years old.
#44 Nick Hagadone – A hard-throwing lefty who came over in the Victor Martinez trade was the Red Sox first round pick in 2007. This is his first full year post-Tommy John surgery so the velocity should be back. The 23-year old may start in high A ball, but I fully expect to see him in Akron’s rotation this season.
#64 Jason Knapp – The most controversial member of the Cliff Lee trade has shoulder surgery in September. Not a great sign for a 19 year old. That said, he continues to show up on the lists of top prospects because of his monster fastball. He was expected to make a full recovery by Spring Training, but you know the Indians will be extra careful with the man they held out for in the July trade with the Phillies. When ready, he will be in A ball.
#65 Alex White – The 2009 first round pick has been viewed by many scouts as a potential dominant back-end bullpen guy, even though he was a front-line starter at University of North Carolina. He is closer to the majors today than either Hagadone or Knapp. Even new Tribe manager Manny Acta was excited about his first glimpse of White. “It was refreshing to see those young guys throw the ball like they did,” said Acta. “The (Jeanmar) Gomezes of the world … (Kelvin) De La Cruz and Alex White. Granted it was just a bullpen, but it was nice to see what the future looks like here.” It would shock nobody if White makes his big league debut in the bullpen this season, but the Indians would be wise not to rush him.
The top five prospects in the eyes of Baseball America are Atlanta OF Jason Heyward, Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg, Florida OF Mike Stanton, Yankess C Jesus Montero, and Baltimore LHP Brian Matusz.