Debuting on the Indians Ink annual list at No. 52 is right-hander Santo Frias, who has made a big impression in two seasons of professional ball as a teenager.
"He's a very exciting prospect with a power arm," player development director Ross Atkins said. "You see him pitch and you think of Fausto Carmona, who was a little older when he pitched at the level where Frias was at last year. Obviously, we hope Frias follows the same path."
In his first pro season at age 17, Frias compiled a 1.30 ERA in 11 starts in the Dominican Summer League in 2006, allowing only 37 hits in 55 1/3 innings.
He began the 2007 season with the Indians' team in the Gulf Coast League and posted a 1.88 ERA in nine starts to earn a promotion to Lake County. Overall last season, he went 2-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 games, including 10 starts. He gave up only 13 walks and 43 hits in 56 1/3 innings while striking out 55.
Frias needs to add a better breaking ball, learn to change speeds, and repeat his delivery consistently. His fine fastball-sinker combo has him on the fast track. If he adds the other parts, he'll progress along that projected path.
The Santo Frias File
Born: Dec. 8, 1987 in Santo Domingo, DR
Position: Starting pitcher
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, Dec. 9, 2005
2008 Projection: Likely to open season as Lake County's No. 3 starter.
2007 & MINOR-LEAGUE CAREER
No. 55 Luis Perdomo
After five years in the organization, the last two in America, Luis Perdomo has emerged as a viable big-league bullpen candidate good enough to debut on the Indians Ink list of Top 100 Prospects at No. 55.
"He's got good arm strength and a good slider," player development director Ross Atkins said. "He's a bullpen possibility, but needs to keep working."
After three good seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the right-hander made his state-side debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2006 and wasn't particularly spectacular, going 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in 19 innings over 18 games. But he also had eight saves, only five walks and 28 strikeouts.
Promoted to low-A Lake County, he became a dependable workhorse in 2007, fanning 81 in 66 innings over 56 outings. He went 4-6 with a 3.27 ERA and 10 saves in 15 chances, walking 26 in 66 innings and allowing only 43 hits. His wicked slider was particularly devastating against right-handers, limiting them to a .138 average.
In June, had had an 0.77 ERA, only one walk and 14 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. He worked one inning to save the first no-hitter in Captains' history (Carlton Smith, 7 innings, Austin Creps, 1 inning, then Perdomo) on June 24.
The Indians look for Perdomo to develop a consistent off-speed pitch to go with his mid-90s fastball and maintain better overall command. If he gets them, he can look to move up.
The Luis Perdomo File
Born: April 27, 1984, in San Cristobal, DR
Position: Relief Pitcher
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, April 23, 2003
2008 Projection: A move up to closing in Kinston.
2007 & MINOR-LEAGUE CAREER
CLEVELAND INDIANS' TOP PROSPECTS
51. Neil Wagner, RHP
52. Santo Frias, RHP
53. Randy Newsom, RHP
54. Luis Valdez, RHP
55. Luis Perdomo, RHP
Wagner, 24, needs to develop an offspeed pitch to complement his plus-fastball. Right now, he's a one-pitch strikeout machine. With development, he could become a back-end bullpen prospect.
Newsom, 25, the "throw-in" in the blockbuster deal with Boston in 2006, gets grounders with his sinker, thrown with a submarine motion. When he throws strikes, he's a very effective reliever.
Valdez, 24, struggled in a trial as reliever in 2007. Before that, he was a successful starter at lower levels. This is a crucial year in his development -- one way or the other.