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 #45-41 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 (1B) 54. Delvi Cid (OF) 53. Clayton Cook (RHP) 52. T.J. McFarland (LHP) 51. Wyatt Toregas (C)50. Chris Jones (LHP)49. Chen-Chang Lee (RHP)48. Matt Brown (OF)47. Ryan Edell (LHP)46. Neil Wagner (RHP)45. Danny Salazar - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 01/11/1990 - Height: 6'0" - Weight: 180 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Salazar has a three pitch mix of a fastball, curveball and changeup. His fastball sits between 89-92 MPH and tops out at 93 MPH. His fastball has good late movement and he commands it well by throwing good strikes in the zone. He has a good feel for a changeup at such a young age, and it is his best secondary pitch at the moment. His breaking ball is questionable mostly because the Indians are trying to figure out if he will throw a curveball or slider, and it depends which one fits him better and that he can develop.
Salazar is a former shortstop and moves around well, which will help him make adjustments more easily and in a shorter timeframe. He shows great composure and really gets the ball in there. He needs a lot of work developing his secondary pitches, which will likely be a primary focus this coming season.
Outlook: Salazar and Alexander Perez are the next group of top Latin pitching prospects moving up to full season ball in 2009. Like De La Cruz, Hector Rondon and Jeanmar Gomez the past two years, Salazar should play at 19-years of age at Single-A Lake County this coming season.44. Jared Goedert - Second Base/Third BaseBorn: 05/25/1985 - Height: 6'1" - Weight: 180 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Goedert is not a true power hitter, but instead more of a line drive gap-to-gap hitter who likely projects to be a 15-20 home run hitter in the big leagues. He is not a big assuming player nor overly strong, but the ball explodes off his bat and he has the ability to hit the ball out to any part of the ballpark. He is a quiet, mentally tough player with sound mechanics and generates good backspin on the ball with a good downward movement with his swing. He hits the ball where it is pitched, and is short to the ball. His low maintenance swing helps create a nice, consistent bat path to the ball and line drive stroke that help generate most of his power. He has shown a very good eye at the plate with the ability to consistently put the ball in play (career 134-159 BB/K). He has shown the ability to hit well with two strikes, which is an approach that was stressed to him his whole life (his dad was his high school coach) and through college.
While he can definitely hit, his defense is just average. He is not flashy defensively, but he makes all the routine plays and has an above average arm. To make him more versatile, the Indians moved him from third base to second base near the end of May in 2007 and he handled the transition well. He has had some trouble adjusting to the much shorter throws to first base and his feet are kind of heavy at second base, but overall he has been solid when he has played there showing some good agility and a strong arm on plays up the middle and turning double plays.
He is working on getting a better load at the plate by not cutting off on his front foot and instead using his legs and backside a little more. His defense at third base has been really solid, and he has shown much improvement playing second base. Second base is still very foreign to him, so the Indians will continue to work with him on his positioning and turning the double play. He has a shoulder issue which he has been battling since he came into the Indians organization, and it resulted in left labrum surgery in October 2006. He has re-injured it a few times post surgery which has led to some missed time the last two seasons.
Outlook: Goedert's big power numbers early in 2007 at Single-A Lake County are starting to look more and more like an aberration where his performance the rest of his time when you subtract out his two month stint in Lake County may be a better indicator of what kind of prospect he is, a fringe major league player. He plays at two positions of need in the organization, third base and second base, and he should open the 2009 season as the third baseman at Double-A Akron and occasionally play some second base.43. Josh Judy - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 02/09/1986 - Height: 6'4" - Weight: 200 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: The 6'4" 200-pound Judy throws a fastball with great life that consistently sits at 92-94 MPH topping out as high as 96 MPH when he was in college. He complements his plus fastball with a slider and changeup. The slider is very good and has a nice sharp break to it and late movement. Hitters have a real hard time picking it up, and it is a swing-and-miss pitch for him. He used to throw a curveball as his third pitch, but it was tabled for the changeup. He did not use the changeup much in game situations last year, and instead mostly worked on it in bullpen sessions between games since he was still learning to throw it seeing that he never threw one before. In addition to his outstanding fastball-slider two pitch mix, he displays very good composure on the mound by being a bulldog in tight situations. He is aggressive on the mound and goes right after hitters.
Judy needs more work on getting more sink on his pitches, which down the road is really going to help him attack left-handed hitters and get easier outs. He also needs to tighten up his slider as it has a tendency at times to flatten out. This year the development of the changeup will be of high priority since the development of the pitch sort of took a backseat last year since the Indians first wanted him to solidify his slider before moving forward with the changeup. He needs to work on his pickoff moves and changing the running game up as well. One of the main focuses for him next season will be getting better attacking left-handers and also pitching inside more to right-handers in order to setup his offspeed stuff on the outside.
Outlook: Judy is one of the top right-handed relief prospects in the system and has loads of potential. This upcoming season could be a big year for him to solidify his standing as a big time relief prospect, and he will open the season in the advanced Single-A Kinston bullpen.42. Jeremie Tice - Third BasemanBorn: 09/25/1986 - Height: 6'1" - Weight: 225 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Tice has big time raw power and has a good plan at the plate. The Indians were impressed with how he drove the ball out of all parts of the ballpark at a great clip in college, and were excited he was still available in the sixth round. They like the power potential in his bat and feel as he adjusts to the professional game and wood bats that he will start driving the ball out of the ballpark more consistently and could be a 30+ home run a year player in the big leagues.
Tice has only been playing third base for three years, so he is still learning the position and projects as at least an average defender there. He shows good range and a good arm. Late last season, the Indians began working on some things with him like his footwork, how to setup, and his pre-pitch movement to smooth out his defense a little bit. In addition to third base, Tice has experience playing many other positions. In college he also played some outfield and first base, and in high school played some shortstop. Given his size and muscular build, there is always the possibility that as he grows more in the coming years that he may need to be shifted to left field or first base. He is very athletic and the Indians know he can handle third base, but down the road they believe he may be able to play catcher as well.
Outlook: Tice is part of an impressive group of hitting prospects the Indians were able to land in the 2008 Draft. He likely will stay at third base this season, and with no one above him at the position except for Wes Hodges at Triple-A Columbus, he could move quickly. He should open the 2009 season by skipping Single-A Lake County and instead making his full season debut at advanced Single-A Kinston.41. Joey Mahalic - Right-handed PitcherBorn: 11/28/1988 - Height: 6'3" - Weight: 205 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right
Strengths & Opportunities: Mahalic throws a sinking fastball that has shown much improved velocity over the last year and a half and now consistently sits around 90-91 MPH and tops out as high as 94 MPH. He has a nice loose arm with good arm strength, and his sinker ball has good late movement. He also has a slider and a changeup, with his slider being his best pitch. He has a durable body and is young and still filling out. He has athletic and competitive bloodlines as his father played linebacker at Notre Dame and for five seasons in the NFL, and his mother was a college athlete.
Things started off slowly for Mahalic last year as when full season teams started play in early April he was left behind in extended spring training to continue developing a routine and growing as a pitcher. When right-hander Santo Frias went on the disabled list with an injury in late April at Single-A Lake County, it opened the door for him to get a shot in the Captains rotation and after a few shaky outings at first, he was arguably Lake County's most consistent starter the second half of the season going 4-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 starts after the All Star break.
At Lake County, Mahalic continued working on his routine and developing his changeup as a third pitch. He showed strides in the development of the changeup by improving his mechanics and staying on top and not pulling off with his shoulder. The Indians worked a lot with him during the season making sure that he stays on top of his sinker with consistency as he has a tendency to get under pitches and when he does his ball sails from side to side. When he stays on top of his pitches he is able to sink it with a downhill angle and get a lot of groundballs, which is what they want to see out of him. Going forward he needs to continue working on pounding the lower part of the strike zone with his sinker and developing his changeup.
Outlook: Mahalic is a promising arm and part of what looks like the next wave of good young pitching in the lower levels of the Indians system. He should open the 2009 season in the advanced Single-A Kinston starting rotation.All photos courtesy of Ken CarrUp Next: #40-36