These previews of Ryan Edell and Jim Deters appear in the March issue of Indians Ink Magazine, which…
Ten Prospects Who Must Produce
1. Adam Miller: For several years, Miller, the 31st overall pick in the 2003 draft, has been regarded as the team's best pitching prospect. But year after year, the right-hander has been bitten by the injury bug, thus delaying his development. Already this year he has been slowed by a blister on his pitching hand in spring training. Miller, whose fastball touches 100 mph, might make his major league debut at some point this year, but if he does, it's more likely it'll be as a relief pitcher, a role the front office never even would have considered a couple of years ago. 2. Trevor Crowe: This former University of Arizona star, who was the 14th overall pick in the 2005 draft, had an absolutely horrible start to his 2007 season, hitting under .200 for the first three months while playing at Class AA Akron. Crowe had his sights set on starting his major-league career long before he had finished his minor-league development. The speedy outfielder seemed intent upon being the first player in baseball history to hit 1,000 in order to prove he belonged in Cleveland. Instead, he couldn't hit his way out of a paper bag. Another year like he had in 2007 could result in his joining a long list of first-round busts who get traded away in exchange for another team's first-round flop. But if Crowe can bounce back, he could wind up as interesting trade bait considering the Indians appear to be set for many years with Grady Sizemore in center field, which is the only position Crowe, who has virtually no power, appears capable of playing in the majors. 3. Michael Aubrey: Every year since he was drafted 11th overall by the Indians in 2003, Aubrey has been limited due to injuries. Yet every year the Indians have stood behind him, based not only upon his tremendous potential, but also the huge amount of money they have invested in him. If Aubrey, a pure hitter who is the best defensive first baseman in the system, can stay healthy, he could end up challenging Ryan Garko for playing time at first base. But the time has come for Aubrey to prove himself on the field. 4. Brad Snyder: The 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Snyder has yet to prove he can make contact on a consistent basis. When you strike out once every three at bats in the minors, which Snyder has done, your chances of success on the major-league level are slim. If he can learn to stop chasing the down-and-away breaking balls, he has a chance to become a very good major-leaguer. He's a good outfielder with a strong arm and speed in the field and on the bases, but if he continues to do what he has the past five years in the minors (too many strikeouts), he has little chance of making an impact in Cleveland. 5. J.D. Martin: The right-hander is the only one remaining of the "big four" high school pitchers the Indians selected high in the 2001 draft. (Alan Horne never signed and is now in the Yankees' system; Daniel Denham was traded to the A's last year; and Jake Dittler signed as a six-year free agent with the Rangers this past off-season). Martin, the 35th overall choice in '01, has a tremendous curveball and great potential, but elbow injuries have led to the Indians taking him off their 40-man roster. He needs to have a healthy, productive year. 6. Wes Hodges: Cleveland's second-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech in 2006 could become a serious contender for the starting third-base job on the major-league level within a year or two if he can stay healthy and put together a solid season at Class AA Akron this year. It'll be interesting to see him play on an everyday basis to determine whether his 19 errors in just 104 games at Kinston last year were a fluke. When healthy, he has been a power hitter at every level in his young career. 7. David Huff: The 39th overall choice in 2006 had an impressive 2.73 ERA at Class A Kinston last year. But the southpaw out of UCLA was limited to just 11 starts due to a sore elbow that actually was hurting even when he was pitching. If that was the case, it'll be interesting to see what he can do when 100 percent healthy -- that is if the condition is does not get worse this season. In two years since being drafted, he's spent more time on the sidelines than on the mound. 8. Stephen Head: After bursting onto the pro scene his rookie year, Head, who was the Tribe's second-round pick in 2005, was pretty much lost in the shuffle while spending the brunt of the past two seasons at Kinston. This year, he'll have a golden opportunity to get back on the radar screen at Class AA Akron. Head needs to quit trying to hit for power and let his natural athletic ability take over. The home runs will come naturally if he does that. He's adapting to playing the outfield in addition to first base. He also pitched in college, so his strong arm could be a plus as a right fielder. 9. Ryan Goleski: The outfielder has had a year to recover from the bruised ego he suffered when he was taken as the first choice in the December 2005 Rule 5 draft and then returned to the Indians last spring. If he can quit pressing, the right-hand hitter can get back on track to the major leagues. Unless the Indians add him to their 40-man roster, there's a very good chance he'll leave as a six-year minor league free agent at the end of the year. Steven Wright: The Tribe's second-round pick in 2006 had an unusual start to his pro career last year after not pitching as a professional in '06 as he recovered from mononucleosis. In 14 starts at low-Class A Lake County, he was just 4-7 with a 4.61 ERA, before going 3-2 with a whopping 7.13 ERA in 13 starts at high-A Kinston. Even though his won-loss record and ERA were not impressive, he still struck out 114 in 114 1/3 innings. That stat in itself opened a lot of eyes.
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