My 2009 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More book is now available. Click on the hyperlink for all the details, and to order it just go to my website and click on the form to the top right to complete the order with a check or credit card. If you wish to send a check or money order by US Mail, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will verify the order and provide my full mailing address for you so send payment. We continue today with #55-51 in the Indians Top 100 Prospect Countdown. Here are the earlier rankings: 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 (OF) 64. Paolo Espino (RHP) 63. Jonathan Holt (RHP) 62. Vinnie Pestano (RHP) 61. Kevin Dixon (RHP) 60. Randy Newsom (RHP) 59. Chris Nash (1B) 58. Carlton Smith (RHP) 57. Lucas Montero (OF) 56. Steven Wright (RHP) 55. Michael Aubrey - First Baseman Born: 04/15/1982 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 195 - Bats: Left - Throws: Left(Due to a formatting issue, Aubrey's stats are listed at the bottom of the page)History: Aubrey was a 1st round pick by the Indians in the 2003 Draft out of Tulane University. He made his major league debut in Cleveland on May 17th, and hit home runs in his first two major league starts.
Strengths & Opportunities: When healthy, Aubrey is a superior defender and good hitter with gap power. Over the years, he has been one of the best in the Indians system at making consistent, hard contact. Staying on the field to showcase that talent has always been a problem for him as he has endured many long spells on the disabled list with leg and back issues and he missed huge chunks of every season except for last year where he was able to play in a career high 112 combined games at Double-A Akron, Triple-A Buffalo and Cleveland. He has a laundry list of injuries and setbacks over his career, which have eroded his skills significantly. In 2005, chronic back issues limited him to just 28 games and his season ended in May. In 2006, for the second straight year he was lost early in the season when he injured himself sliding into second base and suffered a surface fracture on his right knee joint and played in just 14 games. In 2007 he had nagging, abdominal, groin and hamstring issues that caused him to miss over half the season.
Outlook: At this point, age and injuries have caught up with Aubrey where he no longer profiles to be an All-Star caliber hitter and defender like he was coming out of college. His bat is now suspect at the major league level, and he is just no longer the player now that he was pre-injury and coming out of college since the injuries have eroded his skills. He profiles now as a good organizational player, but his days as a good major league prospect are behind him. The Indians removed him from the 40-man roster this offseason and outrighted him to the minors where he looks destined to be a fixture at first base and designated hitter for Triple-A Columbus for most if not all of the 2009 season.
54. Delvi Cid - OutfielderBorn: 07/19/1989 - Height: 6'2" - Weight: 170 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Cid has little power at this stage of his development, but he has shown the ability to hit for average. He has a good approach at the plate for his age, and will need to use that as the foundation to build and develop his plate discipline to be a little more patient and draw more walks. He is strictly a slap-hitter right now, but he has the frame at 6'2" 170 pounds to put on more weight and get stronger as he matures. He should start to fill out in the next year or two and begin pounding the gaps much more consistently and hitting the ball with authority where his blazing speed will be put on display with many more extra base hits.
Cid is considered the fastest baserunner in the Indians system grading out as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he is also an extremely gifted defensive center fielder where he displays good instincts, route-running and uses his plus-plus speed to track down just about everything in the gaps. He is a gold glove caliber defender. While he has awesome raw speed, he needs to learn how to be a smarter baserunner by reading the ball of the bat better, getting better secondary leads, and reading a pitchers move to get better jumps on steals. He also needs a lot of work at the plate, but is to be expected with such a young, talented player with the raw abilities he has.
Outlook: Cid is a players to watch this year and to keep on your radar as he has tremendous potential as a fielder and runner. He has a good chance of opening the 2009 season as the starting center fielder at Single-A Lake County.
53. Clayton Cook - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 07/23/1990 - Height: 6'3" - Weight: 175 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Upon signing with the Indians, Cook got to work right away with the Indians rookie level Gulf Coast League (GCL) club and impressed in his professional debut. He pitched well beyond his years and impressed the Indians with his composure and maturity on the mound at such a young age considering he was 17 years old for most of his time on the GCL club. Cook showcases a fastball that touches the low 90s, and also primarily throws a curveball as his main secondary pitch. His long frame combined with good arm action should allow him to add more velocity as he matures. He handles himself professionally and comes to the field everyday ready to work. He had a good delivery when he reported to the Indians, so they spent more time educating him on taking care of himself, learning how to attack hitters, and just kind of acclimating him to professional baseball.
Outlook: Even with the impressive showing in his debut, Cook still has a lot to learn about getting into a routine and needs more development before he is ready for a full season assignment. He will open the 2009 season in extended spring training and will report to one of the short season league teams in the summer.
52. TJ McFarland - Left-handed PitcherBorn: 06/08/1989 - Height: 6'3" - Weight: 190 - Bats: Left - Throws: Left
Strengths & Opportunities: His fastball sits around 91-92 MPH and has topped out as high as 94 MPH in high school. His fastball is a two-seamer, so he gets good sink on the pitch. He also throws a slider and changeup, with the slider having the makings of a good breaking ball and the changeup still a work in progress. He throws all three pitches for strikes and really trusts his fastball. He is not scared of contact, and as he matures as a pitcher will likely be more of a groundball type pitcher because of the sinking action he gets with his fastball. The main focus for McFarland is adjusting him to the professional game where as a starter he follows a normal five day routine. He also needs to continue refining his mechanics with his secondary pitches, commanding the zone with his fastball in and out to hitters, and repeating his delivery.
McFarland hurt his elbow as a high school junior but avoided Tommy John surgery. He did not pitch with the Indians in 2007 because he complained of some elbow soreness shortly after signing so the Indians felt it best to be extremely cautious with their new prized top draft pick. The elbow problem turned out to just be tendonitis, which was the result of throwing too many innings earlier in the year in high school. He was a 100% in the spring and all throughout extended spring training and through the Gulf Coast league he was the most consistent pitcher down in Winter Haven in the summer. He really impressed with his showing in the Gulf Coast League, and if not for one bad outing the numbers would be even better than what they were.
Outlook: McFarland showed good progress last year, and given his draft standing should open the 2009 season in the Single-A Lake County rotation.
51. Wyatt Toregas - CatcherBorn: 12/02/1982 - Height: 5'11" - Weight: 200 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Toregas is an excellent defensive catcher that can control a running game. He consistently averages 1.85 seconds on throws to second base, which is much better than the major league average of 2.0 seconds. He is the best defensive catcher in the Indians system, and he has been ranked as the best defensive catcher in the league he played in the last three years. He has a natural knack for calling a game, is a natural leader, loves to take charge of the pitching staff, and has a lot of pride as a catcher. He moves well behind the plate, and he gives maximum effort and everything he has.
When you can catch and throw like Toregas does it allows the Indians to give his offense more time to develop. He has the potential to be an adequate hitter, which to go along with his outstanding defense that has Indians officials excited, makes him very valuable. He has some pop, especially pull side. Toward the end of the 2007 he learned to hit the ball to right field and made strides in using the whole field, and he became a better situational hitter moving runners.
Right now, the key for Toregas is to get more consistent with his bat. When he was sent down to Akron the Indians noticed his setup in his stance was a little different and causing him some problems, so they worked with him to get him to spread out more and use the whole field. He spread out with a wider stance, and started to shorten up his bat path without sacrificing his power and actually ended up with more power. He has shown the ability to hit left-handed pitching well, but has really struggled at times with right-handers so he will need to shore up his approach against them in order to be considered as more than a backup defensive-minded catcher.
Outlook: The Indians know Toregas has the ability to hit and the ability to compete at the major league level, and feel that if the bat comes along it is just a bonus. His offensive performance late in the season solidified the Indians conviction that he is a major league player and is ready for a backup job on the 25-man roster if needed. He has some competition on the 40-man roster with fellow minor league catchers Chris Gimenez and Carlos Santana being added to it this offseason. Because of this, it pushes his value a lot further down the order because while he is the best short term solution as a backup to Victor Martinez in Cleveland, after this season his time and opportunity may have passed in the organization. He should open the 2009 season at Triple-A Columbus and be the first catcher the Indians bring up if an injury befalls Martinez or Kelly Shoppach. All photos courtesy of Ken Carr except Clayton Cook's photo courtesy of Tony Lastoria and Michael Aubrey's photo courtesy of Carl Kline. Up Next: #50-46Michael Aubrey's stats: