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Indians Prospect Hot Sheet

(Photo courtesy of Lianna Holub Photography)
This signals the birth of a new monthly piece I will be writing which will discuss the best performances of the month throughout the Indians farm system.

The purpose being to illuminate risers in the Indians system, if you are not already reading Around the Farm on IBI, or Lazy Sundays with Al Ciammaichella you are missing really strong information surrounding the Indians minor league system.

The purpose of my piece is to provide a mix of prospect information, advanced statistics and data visualization.f

I think visualizing what a player is doing well and not well adds context that is often lost in minor league data the common fan is left poring through; further this piece is going to target the indicators of prospects that actually have a statistical linkage to big league performance.

The hot sheet will include five prospects of significance, and then a list of others with performances of note.

First I will be inserting the findings of Chris Mitchell who has done outstanding work attempting to forecast minor league production at the big league level.

While other statistics will be discussed, these are significant statistics as per their correlations with big league productivity. 

One last note, I will attempt to avoid multiple placements among the top five in order to shine a light throughout the system.

Now that the purpose and methodology have been addressed, lets go to the list.
  1. Bradley Zimmer OF (A+): .271, 4 home runs, .379 OBP, 25.9 K%,  .250 ISO (Statistics of note for the level are highlighted)
Zimmer entered April as a top three prospect in the Indians system on most prospect lists competing with Clint Frazier for top ranked outfielder. Zimmer is the more finished prospect of the two, a high floor prospect who fortuitously slid to the Indians on draft day.

One of the key questions for Zimmer is the power ceiling, scouts have noted a line drive tendency which makes for a good hit tool but were concerned about whether he would add the loft necessary to grade higher than average power.

We are operating in a limited sample but the most encouraging aspect of Zimmer's season has been him flashing a little pop. Of course, this may be the result of an advanced bat raking in high-a but it adds some optimism to him offering more in-game power which he should be capable of.

Our first visual:
A more visual representation of Zimmer's work, obviously showing a lot of pull side tendency which will either need to change a bit or will cause shifts. 

However, any time a prospect shows power to center or the opposite field in game, it is exciting in terms of accessing their power. Zimmer flashed this ability with a bomb to dead center, and has grabbed base hits to all fields.

Zimmer had an exciting April and is likely not long for Lynchburg but the keys to monitor will be keeping the K% and how the power translates level to level, specifically ISO. Though, Akron will likely suppress Zimmer's production as it is where hard hit fly balls go to die.

     2. Clint Frazier OF (A+): .309, .367 OBP, 25.8 K%, .079 ISO
Every player has the following disclaimer which is this is a limited sample, which is the reality of a hot sheet. Here is the deal, if Frazier can sustain a season in A+ at 20/21 with a K% less than 27% he will have jumped levels and improved his discipline. Nothing is wowing so far but Frazier limiting his strikeouts so that the hard contact and power can prosper is the key to his big league career and so far he has me cautiously optimistic in that regard.
The heat map in the month of April includes a fair pull tendency, however, has hit a couple of doubles to the cluster in right field, for Frazier the question will be how much power comes and at what cost to his K% but hopefully his strides in plate discipline won't sap his most important tool.

  3. Shawn Morimando SP (AA): 15.2 IP, 1.15 ERA, 19 K, 31.7 K%, .921 WHIP
Morimando has absolutely dominated his three starts this season for the Rubber Ducks flashing strikeout rates that are very enticing. Morimando sits at about 90 MPH and can flash it up to 94 on occasion. 

The stuff is reasonably enticing with inconsistent control being an issue that last few seasons. But with the glass half full, Morimando has been outstanding in the early going, and for a glimpse at how outstanding, we can peak at his comprehensive outcomes.



Indeed, for Morimando the outcomes are: strikeouts and then everything else. Morimando has earned early interest, and if you happen to be within driving distance of Akron, check the pitching probables, give this guy a look because the results are getting exciting.

  4. Cody Anderson SP (AA): 18.1 IP,  1.47 ERA, 13 K, 4.2 BB%,  18.8 K%, .994 WHIP,
In 2014, Anderson entered the season covered in buzz as the Indians best pitching prospect, with expectations as he entered his first full season in Akron. It was a disappointment, Anderson struggled mightily with command. 

Which is why these results are so exciting, the walk rate has been tremendous. Anderson's best skill is an ability to induce ground balls which clocks in at a rate of 59%. 

Most easily demonstrated with the following heat chart:
I am of the volition that the walk rate is the last piece for Anderson, if he proves that he can get ahead and control the strike zone, the stuff(Sitting low 90's, tapping 95 occasionally and a competent slider) is good enough to be solid depth for the Tribe late in the season. 

  5. Paul Hendrix INF (A+): .295, .373 OBP, .136 ISO,  19.6K%
Hendrix is a low name value, low-priority guy, a 32nd round pick in 2012, Hendrix was a college senior most likely signed and drafted as interesting filler but his bat has produced at each level. He has been either the average age or marginally older at each level but production matters enough to keep creating opportunities.

In 2014, Hendrix posted 37 extra base hits and an .812 OPS, he has posted high BABIPs that denote quality contact and correlate to future success.

Is there a big future in store for Hendrix, the odds aren't great but he keeps producing and deserves recognition. Maybe, just maybe he is changing a mind or two along the way.

The Rest:

6.  Luigi Rodriguez OF (A+):  2 HR,  .406/.513/.656 ! An absurd slash line, is the toolsy talent finally making the leap? A must watch story over the next few months.

7. Tyler Holt OF (AAA): You don't need to see the line, he is hitting fine, playing good defense and there is no reason he shouldn't be in Cleveland, yesterday.

8. Adam Plutko SP (A+):  17.2 IP, 1.53 ERA, .698 WHIP, 20.3 K%
Advanced makeup, control and command righty who needs a new challenge, Akron should be on his itinerary.

Thank you all for bearing with me, any comments can be directed to my twitter whether questioning or critical. 

A special thanks to MLBfarm.com from which a lot of these cool graphics were found.
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