As we led up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, we took a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team had its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today I have updated the rankings for the Cleveland Indians Minor League organization due to the recent trade picking up Matt LaPorta. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.
1.) Matt LaPorta, OF/1B: This former catcher is a big, strong power hitter who made a big name for himself in college. LaPorta has an easy loft to his swing and a strong, powerful frame which still has room to add some muscle. He has fantastic plate discipline and can flat out hit for power to all fields in any stadium. LaPorta doesn’t have much speed and many (including myself) expected him to struggle adjusting with his move to the outfield. He is a better fit at first base (thanks to good hands and solid instincts) and has been seeing a lot of time in that spot which is currently a hole in the Indians organization. The fact that he’s such a hard worker has helped a lot in his transition to new positions.
2.) Adam Miller, RHP: Despite having to battle back from a couple of different injuries, Adam Miller continues to be the Indians top prospect. Miller’s arsenal includes a mid to upper-90’s four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, change-up, and a great power slider with late break on it. He also has a great make-up and good command of his pitches. As of now he is projected as being a front line starter but that could change depending on how he returns from his injuries. If he doesn’t bounce back he could slip down to be a middle or back of the rotation guy or even to the bullpen.
3.) Beau Mills, 3B: Mills is a big, left-handed hitting third base prospect with a ton of upside. He has excellent hitting skills and has a chance to be a very good hitter as a professional. He does a great job adjusting to pitches and really makes pitchers pay when they make a mistake. Mills also has plus power with a solid line drive swing. He has some loft to his swing and will hit a lot of doubles and homers as a pro. Currently he’s a third baseman with average skills (range, arm, etc) and has many people saying he may end up at first base which I feel would be best for him.
4.) Chuck Lofgren, LHP: Lofgren is a polished lefty who has continued to improve his abilities on the mound. He has a low-90’s fastball and a fantastic change-up that many feel is one of the best in the Minors. Lofgren’s ability to get into the Indians’ starting rotation may run into a snag with how many players on currently on the list. He may find a spot in the bullpen in the meantime until someone falls off or gets injured.
5.) Wes Hodges, 3B: Hodges is a good overall athlete with a solid bat. His bat has great potential to hit for average as he makes good contact, has strong hands, has great bat speed, and a consistent eye at the plate. Hodges has improved his ability to drive the ball which as he does this more will continue to improve his power numbers. With Beau Mills most likely moving to first, Hodges has a shot to be Cleveland’s future third baseman.
By Matthew Whipps
“The Diamond Cutter“
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
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