We are back with another round of five Indians prospects as we continue to countdown the Indians' Top 100 Prospects for the 2009 season here at TheClevelandFan.com. So far we have unveiled #100-86, which can be viewed at the links below if you missed them:
As noted previously, a daily countdown of these prospects is also occurring on my blog at the Indians Prospect Insider. All scouting reports will be stored and kept in the right panel for easy reference throughout the 2009 season.
For those interested in picking up a copy of my upcoming prospect book which will have all 100 of the prospects in this listing in it plus an additional 25+ more players and lots of other information, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com . If things go well, I should be sending the book to print sometime in the next 3-5 days.
With that, back to the countdown:
85. Marty Popham - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 08/04/1987 - Height: 6'6" - Weight: 235 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Because of Popham's heavy workload in college in last year where he dominated the NAIA circuit, after he signed with the Indians they really limited his workload the rest of the season and used his time in the rookie level GCL as an orientation to professional baseball. He is a big, physical pitcher with a nice loose arm with a fastball that sits around 90-92 MPH. He has some arm strength, so his velocity is expected to increase some more. He also throws a slider and changeup, with the slider having the potential to be a good major league pitch. His numbers were impressive in college and in his first taste of professional ball last year in the GCL, so while he is ranked low now he could have some serious helium in the system next year if his early showing carries over to a full season team in 2009.
Outlook: Popham is expected to open the 2009 season with a full season team, and while it is up in the air whether he will be a starter or reliever, at this point it seems likely that he will open the season in the Single-A Lake County bullpen.
84. Jose Constanza - OutfielderBorn: 09/01/1983 - Height: 5'9" - Weight: 150 - Bats: Switch - Throws: Left
(due to a formatting issue, Constanza's stats are listed at the bottom of the page)
History: Constanza was signed as an undrafted free agent in June 2003 out of the Dominican Republic.
Strengths & Opportunities: Constanza has outstanding bat control and bat-to-ball ability, and very good baseball instincts. He put himself on the radar screen back in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) in 2004 when he hit .444 and lead the league in just about every offensive category except home runs. The Indians were so impressed with Constanza's showing in the DSL in 2004, that they started him in Lake County in 2005, which is unheard of for players in the Indians academy in the Dominican Republic to start with a full-season squad in their stateside debut. The last player to do so was Jhonny Peralta. He broke in as a prospect after a breakout season in 2006, but since that breakout year his performance has been average to below average the last two years at Kinston and Akron.
Outlook: Constanza projects as a fourth outfielder because of his speed, versatility, and limited pop in his bat, and may eventually break in with the Indians in such a role down the road. He could spent most of the 2009 season on a shuttle back and forth between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, although he should open the season as the starting center fielder in Akron.
83. Adam Abraham - First BasemanBorn: 03/27/1987 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 210 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Abraham is considered more of a line drive hitter, but he has some good pop and the ball jumps off his bat. His lower half is stocky, but he displays good athleticism and is a leader on the field. He has an unwavering confidence and is the quintessential gamer where he never finishes a game with a clean uniform. His defense needs some work at third base as he is slow-footed and does not consistently get good reads on balls, but he has a cannon for an arm (93 MPH as a pitcher). The Indians moved him to first base in his first taste of professional ball, which could be to give him some more versatility to play two positions. Even with his size he did hit a lot of home runs in college, but the Indians believe there are some mechanical issues with his setup and swing which if improved could lead to more consistent power.
Outlook: Abraham looks very much like a hockey player on the diamond with his thick, strong build and he looks a lot like Indians first baseman Ryan Garko not only in appearance but at the plate as well. He should open the 2009 season at Single-A Lake County.
82. Isaias Velasquez - InfielderBorn: 05/07/1988 - Height: 5'11" - Weight: 155 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Velasquez is a very exciting player to watch who has a lot of athleticism and swings the bat very well. He has worked really hard in the cages to improve as a hitter, and as he refines his swing and learns to try and not do too much he should start driving some balls into the gaps with authority and even out of the ballpark. He is a very good fundamentally sound middle infielder, though he needs some work as he makes some good plays, but makes unnecessary throws. He is very versatile and can play anywhere in the infield, though his strongest position is probably second base.
Outlook: Velasquez looks like a good utility player in the making, and should open the 2009 season either as the starting second baseman at Single-A Lake County or be the utility player there.
81. Garrison Campfield - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 05/29/1984 - Height: 6'1" - Weight: 200 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Campfield throws from a low three-quarter (submarine) arm slot, similar to fellow Tribe farmhand Randy Newsom. The submarine style of pitching came about after he came back from shoulder surgery in college, and it has stuck with him since signing with the Indians. He features a fastball that sits 89-91 MPH and has topped out at 93 MPH. He has a good arm and gets good hard sink on the ball from that angle. He complements his fastball with a breaking ball that is more like a slurve, and he has a changeup that is still a work-in-progress.
The development of Campfield's changeup is coming along, but he is just not confident using it regularly in a game yet. If he is able to learn how to effectively throw his changeup, because of his arm slot he will be able to get a lot of groundballs with it. One of the things he is really trying to hone in on is his command. With 38 walks in 78 career innings, he will need to become more consistent with throwing strikes. If he can find a consistent release point and stays through his pitches more consistently he will continue to move up in the Indians system.
Outlook: Campfield is part of some good bullpen depth in the lower levels of the system, and should open the 2009 season in the advanced Single-A Kinston bullpen.
All photos courtesy of Ken Carr except:Adam Abraham - courtesy of Tony LastoriaMarty Popham - courtesy of Union College Sports Information
Up Next: #80-76 on Thursday
Jose Constanza's stats: