Five exciting prospects to watch in 2012
Despite the fact that the Cleveland Indians’ top 4 prospects are either no longer prospects (Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall) or with the Colorado Rockies (Alex White and Drew Pomeranz), there are still plenty of prospects for Tribe fans to be excited about in 2012.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Lake Country
Lindor is only 18 and has plenty of growth ahead of him. He’s already been dubbed best hitter for average, best defensive infielder, and top prospect by Baseball America and now will have to go to work proving that on the field. If he’s as good as he’s advertised to be, he could force his way up the minor league ladder very quickly.
Nick Hagadone, LHP, Cleveland
With the starting rotation unsettled after the Fausto Carmona news, the Indians will need the Bullpen Mafia to have another great year. In order for that to happen, they will need big contributions from Hagadone. He should start out in middle relief, but don’t be surprised if Hagadone forces his way into an 8th inning role sooner rather than later.
Chen-Chang Lee, RHP, Columbus
In my mind, if you’re looking for someone to be this year’s Vinnie Pestano, I suggest you look at Lee. Pestano’s 2010 stats between Akron and Columbus (1.81 ERA, 1.91 FIP, 11.61 SO/9 and 2.41 BB/9) look very similar to Lee’s. They’re both pitchers who get a ton of strikeouts, don’t walk people and are players you can trust in the late innings. I would love to see Lee make the Opening Day roster, but he’ll likely start the season in Columbus.
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Carolina
There’s plenty for Aguilar to work on in 2012 (lowering his 24.2 K% would be a good start), but with that kind of power, Aguilar is a very valuable and exciting player for the Indians. He’s pretty far away from the majors, but if Aguilar continues to mash the ball and make adjustments, the first base job is wide open and his for the taking.
LeVon Washington, OF, Lake County
That doesn’t change that Washington should be an exciting player in 2012. He drew a ton of walks last year (14.0 BB%) and remains the best athlete in the organization according to Baseball America. As he adjusts to the pro game, the strikeouts should fall and his power should come out. Plus, you don’t want to bet against 2012 being #WASHTIME do you?
Overall, these five players aren't the only exciting prospects the Tribe has, but if you had to pick only five to see all year, they'd be the best choices. So get out and see these potential stars in 2012 so you can say you saw them before they got big.
If you want to follow Jim Piascik on Twitter he's @DarkestDiamond.
If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at email@example.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.