Today, we continue with the Top 100 Indians prospect here on TheClevelandFan.com with #90-86. Links for previous installments are listed below:
Also, for those that are interested, I should have a big update on the 2009 Indians Top 100 Prospect and More book that I am currently putting together. Looks like by the end of this week it may become available. If you have not contacted me already and are interested in getting a copy, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I will have payment details, price, and more shortly. I will forward all this information via email to those that expressed interested, and I will also be posting an update to my blog as well.
With that, time to continue the 2009 Indians Top 100 Prospect countdown....
90. Cirilo Cumberbatch - OutfielderBorn: 07/11/1986 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 205 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Cumberbatch is solidly built and very strong, and his body still projects to get a little bigger. He has very good makeup and is a very hard worker. He is not a burner on the basepaths, but he runs well. Defensively, he is very good running routes to balls, has shown a strong and accurate arm, and can play all three positions. He is more a corner outfielder, but has the versatility to play center field. He made a name for himself with a good season in 2007 at Single-A Lake County, but was a big disappointment last year at advanced Single-A Kinston in all areas of his game. He had shown improvement in 2007 by swinging the bat better because he was handling breaking balls and using the whole field much better, but he took big steps back in his approach last year. He has pull tendencies still, so he needs to continue working on staying in the middle of the field driving balls. The Indians feel he is someone who can still develop some good power and consistently hit the ball to all fields, but at this point he looks like a fourth outfielder in the making.
Outlook: Even with Cumberbatch's poor showing in Kinston last year, the Indians are short on outfield talent at Double-A Akron. He should open the 2009 season at Akron, and may rotate in the outfield as the designated fourth outfielder there.
89. Michael McGuire - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 06/29/1986 - Height: 6'7" - Weight: 240 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: The early returns on McGuire show he could be a diamond in the rough and one of those late round finds for the Indians. He has a major league body and big frame at 6'7" 240-pounds, and displayed the ability to consistently pound the zone (10.6 K/9) and command his fastball (3.6 BB/9). He throws in the low 90s and uses his size to get excellent leverage on hitters by keeping the ball down in the zone on a downward plane. He is very much a project, and the Indians will continues to work with him on his command and developing his secondary pitches.
Outlook: McGuire had some injury issues with his arm his senior year in college which hurt his draft stock and numbers, but could be a sleeper candidate in the organization this year where he likely will open the season in the Single-A Lake County bullpen.
88. Sung-Wei Tseng - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 12/28/1984 - Height: 5'10" - Weight: 195 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Tseng has a compact build with above average velocity and good movement on his fastball which consistently sits in the 91-94 MPH range. He throws five pitches, but his best pitch is a nasty split-fingered fastball which bottoms out well and is considered a swing-and-miss pitch at the major league level. He is a very refined pitcher, and he also has very good control. He is also not afraid to come inside on hitters, and has very clean arm action on his fastball.
Tseng initially broke in with the Indians as a starting pitcher at advanced Single-A Kinston in 2007 to stretch him out, work on his pitches, and be exposed to many different game situations, but going forward his future is in the bullpen. After struggling early in the 2008 season at Double-A Akron, the Indians re-assigned him down to Kinston to get his mechanics straightened out. Kinston pitching coach Greg Hibbard found a flaw in Tseng's mechanics which was affecting his velocity where he was rushing through his delivery causing him to leave his arm behind his body. He also worked on tightening up his slider by solidifying the grip, his hand position at release, and getting better rotation on the pitch. He also needs more work on commanding the fastball down in the zone. He has been learning English since he came into the organization, and his communication skills have improved greatly and he is adapting well to the English language.
Outlook: Tseng still projects as a good bullpen arm, and he physically resembles major league pitcher Tom Gordon. He should open the 2009 season in the Double-A Akron bullpen.
87. Dave Roberts - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 10/26/1986 - Height: 6'3" - Weight: 215 - Bats: Left - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Roberts had been one of Long Beach State's primary setup men in a talented bullpen the past two years, and although he was somewhat of a surprise to be taken as high as he was, the Indians like his power arm and build. His fastball has good life and sits at 91-93 MPH and has touched as high as 95 MPH. He complements the fastball with a power curveball that sits in the low-to-mid 80s and a changeup. He is big and strong, and has late inning ability with the potential to be a major league middle reliever or even a setup man. On the surface, his high ERA makes it look like he really struggled last year at short-season Single-A Mahoning Valley, but he actually pitched better than his numbers indicate. Opposing hitters only hit .248 off him and he had good command (3.1 BB/9) and was punching batters out (8.2 K/9), but his inflated ERA is really the result of two disastrous outings on August 15th ( 0.1 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and August 24th (2.0 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 2 K) where he gave up half his earned runs on the season in those appearances.
Outlook: Roberts looks like a real reach by the Indians in the 4th round of last year's draft, but given his lofty draft status he will be given every opportunity to prove himself and the Indians right and the doubters wrong. He should open the 2009 season in the backend of the Single-A Lake County bullpen, possibly even as the closer.
86. Jason Smit - InfielderBorn: 10/27/1989 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 165 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Smit is a promising, young prospect out of Australia who was widely considered a top ten International prospect at the time he was signed. He is a middle of the diamond player who has a lot of upside offensively, and for his age has great instincts for the game and a very advanced approach at the plate. The Indians really like his potential with his bat and throwing arm, and while they view him as a middle infielder, he has the potential to play virtually anywhere on the infield. He was signed as a shortstop, but has mostly moved around a lot between third and second base, and even played some outfield last year.
There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes Smit is doing to improve his game, like learning more about different pitches and how to pick them up. It was sort of a lost season for Smit as he came down with an injury to his throwing arm and shoulder in spring training that just lingered for most of the rest of the year. As a result, the Indians took it slow with him to ensure a 100% recovery and no more setbacks, but it hindered his development some as without the injury he may have been given a chance to play at some point at Single-A Lake County. There is a lot of projection involved with any prospect like Smit who is still so young, so there is no telling what may happen with him over the course of the next few years as his body continues to mature. Now 18-years old, he is starting to fill out his frame and he added 10-15 pounds of good weight in the last year.
Outlook: Smit will likely remain in extended spring training again this year to continue his development before moving on to Single-A Lake County around mid-season.
All photos courtesy of Ken Carr
Up Next: #85-81 tomorrow