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Lindor, Frazier lead Indians' prospect hopes

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Bad news first. Baseball Prospectus, the Einstein of player development talk, has the Cleveland Indians pegged as the 20th best farm system among the 30 Major League teams.

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Yikes. Also bad — two American League Central teams crack the top seven. The Kansas City Royals (7th best farm system in the majors, as ranked by BP in their article dated Feb. 26) are spearheaded by top-level RHP Yordano Ventura, who saw brief time with the club in 2013.

The Minnesota Twins are ranked first in the majors. The prize of their organization is Byron Buxton, perceived by many to be the top prospect in baseball, a high-average, patient-swinging CF who is just 20 years old.

The sort-of good news, before we get to the Indians, is that the Detroit Tigers remain near the bottom this year, prospect-wise. The Chicago White Sox, which were ranked 28th last year, is just below the Indians at 21st this year. Although, the Tigers seem poised to compete for postseason glory now, and are understandably weak on future stardom. The White Sox have nowhere to go but up, while the Twins and Royals have long awaited for their prospects to develop into major league talent and could allow those two teams to compete in a few years.

As for Cleveland … well, all eyes are on one man: Francisco Lindor. The 20-year-old shortstop split 2013 between the High-A Carolina team and the AA Akron Aeros and seemed to fare well in moving up. He hit .289 in AA in 91 plate appearances and has the defensive skills to warrant a call-up sooner than later, most scouts argue.

"His defensive chops so sincere; his arm a protector, a defender of a community; Omar Vizquel with a softer smile and far less geographic Venezuelanism," Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks wrote earlier this month.

Clint Frazier is another top prospect for the Indians at just 19 years old. Frazier, an outfielder out of Georgia, played rookie ball for the Indians last year and hit .297 with 21 extra-base hits in 2013.

That the Indians do not have a lot of minor league depth is not a complete indictment on the franchise

For more information on the Cleveland Indians' prospects and scouting, check out www.baseballprospectus.com.

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