RANKINGS
2034 Minor League System Rankings: #4 - Cleveland
Cave Dameron's minor league system rankings for 2034 continue with a look at the #4 system: the Cleveland Indians.
by CAVE DAMERON
System Rankings: #24 - #16
System Rankings: #15 - #11
System Rankings: #10 - #6
System Rankings: #5 - Cloud City
System Rankings: #3 - Brooklyn
System Rankings: #2 - Pittsburgh
System Rankings: #1 - Seattle

The Cleveland Indians have the best prospect in baseball in Evegnii Mirxayan. Even if all their other prospects bust, Mirxayan is almost guaranteed to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. I don’t think that’s likely, though, as the Indians have seven players rated as 50 FV or higher. This system is as deep as it is talented, and with Mirxayan and Huerta, they’ll likely have one of the best one-two punches for the next half decade. They have more than enough starting talent to fill out an entire rotation one day, and they have the bullpen pieces to lock down any late-innings lead. The system does lack hitting prospects, with only Gil Conti rated as a future major league player. That keeps them from moving higher in my rankings, but if you want a player who’s a lock to be competing for the Cy Young year after year, the Indians’ system is for you.


#4 - Cleveland Indians

6th in OSA’s rankings, 6 OSA Top 100 (#1 P Mirxayan, #23 LF Conti, #31 P Huerta, #81 P Irizarry, #92 P Ni, #99 P Munoz)

SP Evegnii Mirxayan, 20, #1 OSA, 77 POT, 80 FV - You already know how I feel about this guy. I’m glad that I’m not a GM, because then there’d be a 23 out of 24 chance that he wouldn’t be in my system and that would tear me apart. There are probably close to 14 entire farm systems I’d trade just for him, and no that’s not a joke. If there were a rank higher than 80 FV, he’d be on it. I don’t care that his fastball doesn’t have good movement -- nobody is going to hit any of his pitches anyway. Did I mention he has three elite pitches already, and the potential for the best slider of all time? Oh, and a fourth potential plus pitch? And he’s only 20 years old? I don’t think I ever truly fell in love until I laid eyes on this guy, and now I can’t get enough of him. I want him in the majors right now, his development be damned! For the love of god, at least get him out of Rookie ball and give those kids a chance once in a while.

LF Gil Conti, 23, #23 OSA, 66 POT, 55 FV - I’ve never really been high on Conti, not even when he was the #1 overall pick in last year’s draft. I thought Gatica should’ve gone there instead. Anyway, Conti has always been a little underdeveloped for his age. He’s got a ways to go to get to even average with the bat, and he’s just three weeks away from turning 24. The power potential has always been there, and it looks like it’s finally starting to come around this year, although he is almost 24 and playing in AA. He doesn’t have the tools to play anywhere at a high level, and projects as maybe an average LF. He’s got character concerns as well. I think Conti ends up as an average starter who can punish lefties but struggles against righties. The potential is certainly there for more than that, but he’s got a long way to go to reach it.

SP Antonio Huerta, 22, #31 OSA, 64 POT, 60 FV - On the flip side, I was always pretty high on Huerta. I liked Arsenault a little better than him, but he still deserved to be a top five pick. I had some concerns about his control coming out of the draft, but he’s certainly got the potential to be an ace. All three of his pitches look like future plus-plus pitches, and all three are already above average, which is good for a guy who just turned 22. He’s got the velocity and pitches to make a stud closer if for some reason the pitches don’t develop, or if his control falters. I don’t think that will happen, but it’s nice that he has a solid floor just in case. I want to see him pitch above S A before I give him a higher grade. It’s also a bit concerning that he’s struggling so much at that level.

SP Alfonso Irizarry, 23, #81 OSA, 55 POT, 50 FV - The big concern with him is obviously his changeup being underdeveloped for his age. He’s almost 24, and it’s still miles away from being even average. That being said, there’s been some positive development with it in the past month or two, which is extremely encouraging. If the changeup doesn’t develop, he’ll be a decent reliever at best. If it does, he’ll end up as a solid #3 starter, if not better. That’s quite a wide range of possibilities, and it doesn’t make me comfortable giving him a higher grade. His performance so far in AAA is encouraging, but it really doesn’t matter. You can get by with two pitches in AAA, not so in the majors. I don’t ever want to say that everything comes down to one thing, but for him it’s not far off. He needs the changeup to develop, otherwise he’s just another guy.

SP Zhong-qi Ni, 21, #92 OSA, 53 POT, 45 FV - Here’s another guy with only three pitches, one of which isn’t even close. This one I’m not so high on, since his changeup hasn’t developed in almost three years. If by some miracle it does come around, he has the profile of a #3 starter. At this point, though, I’m viewing him almost entirely as a reliever. He’s got the two pitches to make it as a good reliever, and he’s got the stamina and velocity for the job as well. His movement is good-but-not-great, and his control projects as very good. His stats are almost completely worthless to me, since he’s 21 years old playing in Rookie ball, and he’s playing as a starter when I think he’ll be a reliever.

SP Cesar Munoz, 20, #99 OSA, 53 POT, 55 FV - Finally someone with some more in the way of guaranteed pitches. He’s got three already average ones, with the potential for all three to be in the plus to plus-plus range. His fourth pitch, the slider, is bad, but good enough to add some value. His movement and control both project as very good, and are already pretty developed for his age. He’s got good velocity and the stamina is good enough to start. All of that sounds good, but he’s never really shown it on the diamond. This is his second year playing professional baseball, this is his second year with an ERA of 5. The high BABIP shows that he might be getting a little unlucky this year, which is confirmed by his decent FIP, but he’s still developed enough to where he should be dominating S A, not barely putting in average performances. To me, he has the “look” of a future #3, but the stats of a back of the rotation guy at best.

CL Jose Torres, 20, NR OSA, 80 POT, 50 FV - I do love me some sidearm pitchers, and this one here can throw 96 mph. His movement is already very good for his age, and projects to be plus when he’s fully developed. The control is also projected to be very good. His true value will come from his two pitches, both of which are near-average now with the potential to be some of the best in the game. He’s got the stamina to pitch multiple innings per outing as well. If only this guy had a third pitch, he’d be a legitimate ace. It wouldn’t even have to be a good one -- a below average changeup would do the trick, just to throw hitters off a bit on successive trips through the order. Unfortunately, it looks like that’s not in his future. We’ll just have to settle for him being one of the best closers in the game.

SP Jaime Alviar, 22, NR OSA, 47 POT, 50 FV - Speaking of closers, I think this guy could be one as well. He’s also got above-average movement and control, and enough stamina to go multiple innings. Unlike Torres, though, this guy has three pitches, two of which are projected to be plus and the other will likely be average or worse. See, it wasn’t that hard to do Torres, was it? This guy can touch 101 with his fastball, so his third pitch could be garbage for all that matters. His two good pitches aren’t good enough for him to be a stud reliever like Torres in my opinion, but he’s got a shot to start, and that makes him valuable enough. He’s backing up his high ratings with good performances, albeit in A ball as a 22 year old. I’d like to see him in AA sometime this year before I give him an above average grade.

SP Jose Ovalle, 23, NR OSA, 37 POT, 45 FV - This guy scares me a bit, and it’s not just because of his menacing gaze and trashy goatee. Mainly it’s because of his terrible control. Like, when he throws the ball, he has no idea where it’s going type of control. And with a fastball that touches 98, I’m sure he scares opposing batters as well. Imagine a 98 mph fastball coming at you, with an equal chance of hitting your head as hitting the strike zone. That’s basically what this guy does. His BB/9 is 6.0 this year in AA, and he’s pretty old for the league at almost 24 years of age. All that sounds pretty bad, so I can understand if you’re wondering why he’s even on this list. I mean, there’s no way some trashy-looking guy could be 45 FV, right? Well, in addition to his high BB/9, he’s also got a really high K/9 of 11.5. He’s already got two plus-plus pitches and a third average one, and all three have the potential to be elite. Add in very good movement, and you’ve got what could be a future #3 or better. The stamina isn’t great and makes me think his future might be in the bullpen, but either way, it all comes down to his control.