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The List: Indians Top Five Prospect Leaps

I have stolen the reigns for today's "The List" and have thematically chosen to write about five prospects whose stock is climbing in the Indians system.

1. Clint Frazier: I know, too obvious. It is impossible to find any Indians prospect coverage that does not mention Frazier, and it should be that way. For the second consecutive year Frazier has been significantly younger than the average age for his level and has improved his walk rate, strikeout rate, as well as his ISO. The three most important offensive statistics have improved, significantly so, against much older competition. Posting an OPS of .905 is pretty fun too. In my limited visual sample Frazier looks quite athletic in right with the ability to be an above average defender. In 2015 and 2016, Frazier has checked every box you could ask for and that is why he is the best prospect in the Indians organization.

2. Yu-Cheng Chang: A shortstop flashing above average power as a 20 year old in A-ball, color me intrigued. This may seem tiresome or repetitive but for me, I look at four things for offensive prospects: age compared to the level, K%, BB% and ISO. Chang is flashing loads of power in  Lynchburg while his plate discipline has remained stable, especially for his age. The power is mostly to the pull field right now but we still see solid contact authority to the opposite field.
The question for Chang is whether he will stick at shortstop long term but with the sort of power and offensive profile he is showing, third base could fit nicely for him and the Indians.

3. Greg Allen: Allen does not check the age box as he is 23 years old and only in A+.  However, two things pop off the charts, speed and plate discipline. Allen has more walks than strikeouts and commands the zone impeccably. Obviously this will be something to monitor as he rises through the system but he has handled it exceptionally so far. Further, Allen already has 31 steals so far this season. Of course this will also decline as he rises through the system but one can easily envision a 25 steal type guy at the big league level. Finally, he makes the right type of contact for his tool set.
For someone with plus speed, line drives and ground balls are a priority because they allow his speed to play up, the contact profile fits well and a bright future lies ahead.

4. Matt Esparza: I went a little off the beaten path with this selection but Esparza does three super important things: induces ground balls, creates swing and miss, and limits free base runners.
Esparza has a nice mix sitting in the 90-94 range with the fastball as well as a curveball/slider combo. Esparza has back end upside to me and I think he is someone who will start getting more and more buzz as the season progresses.

5. Francisco Mejia: A repeat assignment in Lake County for Mejia was an interesting decision but Mejia has responded very well. Over the past thirty days Mejia has posted a .974 OPS. There have been rumblings about Mejia's focus but it is clear that his offensive profile has stepped forward. The most important improvement we have seen is a power spike, sending his ISO above .160 and most of this spike is occurring from to the pull field from the left side of the plate.

Mejia's receiving and throwing skills are outstanding and he has all the tools to be an above average defensive catcher. The next challenge, coming very soon will be Lynchburg, Mejia needs to continue to adjust, and hopefully improving his plate discipline as he rises through the system.

As a closing suggestion, listen to this song by Lord Huron because music helps us breath. 



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