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Tribe’s Naquin hits the ground running in Akron

aeros17cut-04Indians prospect outfielder Tyler Naquin is providing a slash line of .375/.423/.458 (.881 OPS) with two doubles and three runs batted in through his first six games with Double-A Akron.

The 2012 first-rounder went 0-for-3 in his first contest with the Aeros, but has since recorded a hit in each game, including seven hits over the last three. After batting .277/.345/.424 (.769 OPS) with 42 extra-base hits and 14 stolen bases in 108 games for High-A Carolina, the 22-year-old was received a promotion to Double-A ball.

Naquin is presently projected by many to be a fourth outfielder. While he undoubtedly has the arm strength and range to handle right field at the major league level, his ability to hit for power continues to be a bit of a concern. Until he develops this facet of his game, it is expected that his value will be tied to his ability to stay in center field. Naquin is anticipated to debut with the Indians at some point during the 2015 season where he will be 24 years old.

 
(Image: Michael Chritton/Akron Beacon Journal)

  • mgbode

    good to see him doing well. hate to see a 1st rounder projected as a 4th OFer, but we are an organization that puts non-power guys like Brantley and Stubbs in the corner OF slots, so he may get more opportunity here than elsewhere.

    thanks for the update.

  • Steve

    To be fair, they’ve only gone to that just this year, and it was partially a response to just how awful the outfield defense has been in recent years. And there are some reports that Naquin might be able to play CF. It might be Brantleyesque, but its still a legit option.

  • Harv 21

    A first round position player on course to make the bigs in 3 years? Woo-hoo!!! When it comes to Tribe drafts I’m all about celebrating baby steps,. Unless he’s Trevor Crowe rather than Michael Brantley. Then, my celebration shall remain muted.

  • mgbode

    I think our organization has put more speed than power in the corner OF slots quite often. It’s cheaper and easier to find. Even Choo had both power & speed.

    It’s been quite awhile since we most often put 2 slow, poor defending corner OFers out there who happened to be able to hit the ball a mile.

  • Steve

    Choo may not qualify as slow, but when he was out there with Duncan, it was very clear they were sacrificing defense for power.

    I think part of the problem is that Progressive has become such a pitcher’s park, and we haven’t quite adjusted to what power hitters actually look like in such an environment.

  • Steve

    I’d say he’s trending Crowe more than Brantley. Naquin just made AA in the second half of his age 22 season, same as Crowe. Brantley was in AA by the second half of his age 20 season. Now, a lot of that has to do with Naquin/Crowe going to college while Brantley jumped straight to the minors. But the fact of the matter is that Brantley showed he could be one of the best players in the league despite also being one of the youngest, while Crowe could never dominate until he was one of the oldest players at his level. Naquin still has to prove he can play at the same level of guys older than him.

  • mgbode

    yes, Duncan (and I guess Kearns?) were the two they tried with power. the rest were not (Brantley, Carrera, Damon, Lillibridge, Franky-G, Ben Francisco, Crowe, etc. )

    just noting we are more likely to give him a fair shake at an OF spot than some other teams. nothing more.

  • Steve

    So many of those other guys were not first choices, and even Damon put up 16 HR in a pitchers park the year before he came here.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    They definitely need to find power soon in a draft.

  • nj0

    I think a speedy outfield is some new sabermetric market inefficiency or something. The A’s have an outfield with three guys who can play center too.

  • nj0

    What were Kluber and Salazar projected to be?

  • nj0

    Best players in the league?

  • woofersus

    I assume he means when Brantley was in the Eastern League with the Aeros at the age of 20/21.

  • nj0

    That makes sense. I just know that the Cleveland faithful’s love of Michael Brantley knows no bounds.

  • mgbode

    yes, there are a few teams that have moved that way and we are one of them. that was my point. thanks.

    good chance it has to do with OF defense? more coverage helping the defense enough to offset the power at the plate? perhaps high-speed/high-OBP guys might make up that value on the basepaths? interesting at least.

  • mgbode

    pitchers

    🙂

  • Jaker

    We have Stubbs in RF right now, I feel like Naquin could be even better than him

  • mgbode

    offense or defense? because, offensively, Matt LaPorta is better than Stubbs for his career (OPS+).