100. Brian Juhl (C) 99. Brad Hinkle (RHP) 98. Mark Thompson (SS) 97. Adam Davis (C/INF) 96. Adam White (OF) 95. Jerad Head (INF/OF) 94. Brock Simpson (1B/OF) 93. Ryan Blair (OF) 92. Dustin Realini (INF/OF) 91. Shawn Nottingham (LHP) 90. Cirilo Cumberbatch (OF) 89. Michael McGuire (RHP) 88. Sung-Wei Tseng (RHP) 87. David Roberts (RHP) 86. Jason Smit (INF) 85. Marty Popham (RHP) 84. Jose Constanza (OF) 83. Adam Abraham (INF) 82. Isaias Velasquez (2INF) 81. Gary Campfield (RHP) 80. Heath Taylor (LHP) 79. Rich Rundles (LHP) 78. Dallas Cawiezell (RHP) 77. Robbie Alcombrack (C) 76. Carlos Moncrief (RHP) 75. Nate Recknagel (C/1B) 74. Karexon Sanchez (INF) 73. Roman Pena (OF) 72. Kyle Landis (RHP) 71. John Drennen (OF) 70. Todd Martin (1B)69. Santo Frias (RHP)68. Michael Finocchi (RHP)67. Kevin Rucker (OF)66. Matt Meyer (LHP)
65. Bo Greenwell - OutfielderBorn: 10/15/1988 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 185 - Bats: Left - Throws: Left
History: Greenwell was taken in the 6th round of the 2007 Draft out of Riverdale High School (FL). He is the son of former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell. He was also actually a very good football player in high school where he played quarterback and safety, but he tore his ACL going into his senior season which significantly hurt his chances at a Division-1 college football scholarship.
Strengths & Opportunities: Greenwell is a toolsy, high energy player with good strike zone discipline and good hands. He is very raw in the baseball department because he had spent so much time working on football in high school, so when the Indians drafted him in 2007 it was the first time he was actually able to develop his baseball skills. He is still learning how to use his body for leverage to put a little more juice on the ball, and once he learns how to do that he should see another spike in his offensive performance. He is working on pulling the ball more, which is a skill he did not use in the past because he focused mainly on hitting the other way as a speed/contact guy. His play has evoked comparisons to that of Johnny Damon, and the Indians think he can be an above-average base stealer with his 60 speed rating on the scouting scale.
Greenwell did not play much in 2007 because he was adjusting to the everyday grind of a professional baseball player and developing a routine. He was also sidelined at times with a lingering shoulder issue that was the result of so much work in the outfield, a position he was foreign to since he played first base in high school and had never played outfield before. He is still learning to play the outfield, and as he settles in and becomes more comfortable out there he is expected to stay a centerfielder as he advances in the system. He had trouble with his route running and catching fly balls in 2007, but improved greatly in all of these areas last season. Going forward, he needs to learn to get better jumps on the ball.
Even with the blood lines there is a lot of projection in Greenwell, and his numbers showed marked improvement from 2007 to 2008. The Indians were very impressed with the adjustments he made as a hitter from 2007 to last year, mostly with how he hit the ball with much more authority and was much stronger. Most notable was his .200 point increase in OPS in one year, and one of his biggest strengths - his ability to put the bat on the ball - was put on display last season where he had just 17 strikeouts compared to 23 walks in 160 bats.
Outlook: Greenwell looks to be ready for his first full season assignment this year, and at the start of the season should be one of the main cogs in the lineup for Single-A Lake County.
64. Paolo Espino - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 01/10/1987 - Height: 5'10" - Weight: 190 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: The Panamanian righty showcases a fastball that usually sits at 90 MPH and tops out at 92 MPH, and he complements it with a good curveball and changeup. His best pitch is his plus curveball and is a pitch he has the most confidence in. His fastball and changeup grade out as at least average with the chance to be above average pitches. While he is lacking in size, there is absolutely no lack of heart as he goes right after hitters and works hard.
After such a good showing in his professional debut in 2007 at Single-A Lake County, he was a big disappointment last year at advanced Single-A Kinston where he battled a shoulder injury and inconsistency throughout the first half of the season, and eventually found his way back at Lake County where he did a good job pitching out of the bullpen. He is young, so he needs to continue to work on refining his control and command to effectively pitch to contact so hitters get themselves out. He needs more work with keeping his fastball down in the zone more, which because of his smallish size has been tough to get the ball on a good downward plane. Also, because of his small size, durability is a concern with him.
Outlook: Espino should be in line for a bullpen job at advanced Single-A Kinston to start the 2009 season.
63. Jonathan Holt - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 03/10/1986 - Height: 6'2" - Weight: 210 - Bats: Left - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Holt primarily throws a three pitch mix of a fastball, slider, and changeup, and his fastball consistently sits around 88-91 MPH and has good arm side run and sink. His breaking ball is more of a modified slider - commonly called a slurve - because it lacks the velocity to be a true slider and has more break to it. His changeup has come a long way in the short time he has been with the Indians. He lacked a feel for it coming out of college, but throughout last season started to become more confident in it and has developed a feel for it and it has improved enough to where it now has the potential to be a good pitch against left-handers.
He came into the 2007 Draft as a reputed strike thrower after he put up an incredible 20:1 strikeout to walk ratio over 66 innings his junior season at Tampa (79 K, 4 BB), and has lived up to that billing so far during his time with the Indians the last two years with just 11 walks in 109.1 career innings while striking out 95 batters. He does a great job disrupting timing, he throws all three pitches in any count, and he uses his fastball well. At times when he needs to he goes out of the zone with his fastball to keep guys off the plate. His innate ability to pound the strike zone with quality strikes at such a high rate is certainly a strength, but now he needs to learn how to attack and finish hitters off. He needs to refine his fastball and learn to keep it down in the lower half of the zone, and he needs to continue to learn how to back off and sort of deprogram himself some and throw purpose balls to keep hitters more honest. He needs to keep up with his mechanics and continue working on developing his changeup.
Outlook: The bottom line with Holt is he does not have the best pure stuff, but it plays up because of his ability to throw strikes and throw any pitch in any count. His durability and ability to keep hitters off balance is certainly an asset to the Indians organization. He has a chance to move fast through the system from here on out, and projects as a good major league middle reliever. He should open the 2009 season in the advanced Single-A Kinston bullpen.
62. Vinnie Pestano - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 02/20/1985 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 205 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
History: Pestano was a 20th round pick in the 2006 Draft out of Cal-State Fullerton. As a college junior, he was one of the top relief prospects in the country going into the 2006 Draft, but a serious elbow injury early in the season sidelined him and put his professional baseball career in jeopardy. He had Tommy John surgery performed on July 21, 2006, but the Indians were not scared away as they liked his potential and eventually signed him on August 17th, 2006 to a professional contract.
Strengths & Opportunities: Pestano does not blow hitters away with his 89-90 MPH two-seam fastball, but the ball gets a lot of movement with late run and sink because of his side-arm delivery which comes from a low three-quarter arm slot. He actually used to throw over the top in high school, but when he got to Cal-St Fullerton he dropped to the side and experienced a lot of success with it so stuck with it. As he continues to regain health he may also see his average velocity tick up a MPH or two. He also throws a breaking ball that is more a slurve, but since his elbow injury he still has not gotten the feel and command back for it. He also fooled around with a changeup that has good movement on it, but it lacked deception as the velocity was not much different from his fastball and it was often hammered. Since he pitches out of the bullpen the pitch was scrapped and he now only throws his fastball and breaking ball.
Pestano pitches to contact and relies on groundballs and keeping hitters off balance. He may not have outstanding stuff or a fastball he can blow by hitters, but one of the things that make him such a strong late inning reliever is his exceptional makeup. He is tenacious on the mound battling every pitch, and goes right after hitters. He is a very confident pitcher who pounds the zone, and even with the low velocity projects as a backend bullpen guy because of that makeup. He needs more work maintaining his delivery as he tends to fall off to the third base side. He needs to continue through his delivery and finish out front which will result in better balance and landing through the glove.
Outlook: As a two pitch pitcher, commanding his fastball and slurve to both sides of the plate is paramount to Pestano's success as a pitcher as he moves up the minor league ladder. He has the eyes to pitch in the late innings because nothing rattles him. He likely will start the 2009 season as the closer at advanced Single-A Kinston, but should see significant time at Double-A Akron as well.
61. Kevin Dixon - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 12/16/1983 - Height: 6'3" - Weight: 225 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: The 6'3" 225-pound Dixon is big and strong showcasing good stuff on the mound with a sinking fastball that sits around 90-92 MPH and tops out at 93 MPH. The fastball is actually two pitches in that he throws a sinker and four-seam fastball, and he has shown the ability to attack hitters with the fastball in the zone and not be afraid of the results. He complements the fastball with a changeup, slider and split-finger with good command of all his pitches. The slider is a potential plus pitch and the changeup grades out as average. One of the big things that has helped Dixon grow as a pitcher last year is the addition of the split-finger that was added to his arsenal during Instructional League in 2007. After toying around with the pitch, he came to spring training last year and continued to work on it and it now has become a serviceable pitch for him and one he relies on to finish hitters off for strikeouts. If he can maintain a feel for the splitter it is the out pitch he has been missing in his repertoire.
While Dixon's year-to-year numbers are not exactly eye-popping, his ability to be consistent start to start to where he can be relied on to give six to seven quality innings each outing is invaluable. In addition to refining his split-finger, he has also been working on repeating his delivery and ironing out some flaws in his mechanics. He gets in trouble at times where he will fall off to the side and land on the outside of his foot which causes everything to drag. Going forward, he needs to continue to focus on getting out in front of his pitches, which will really help improve his command. It is just a matter of him solidifying his delivery and trusting his delivery to allow him to throw the ball like he is capable of throwing it and commanding it.
Outlook: Dixon has the potential to one day crack a major league roster because of his durability and penchant for being an innings-eater. Due to the depth of pitching expected to be at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in 2009, it is not known where Dixon will fit this coming season. With so many big league ready arms likely in the Triple-A Columbus rotation, Dixon is probably destined for a bullpen role as a swing guy or remains in the starting rotation in Akron to start the season.
All photos courtesy of Ken Carr
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