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Jason has more notes on Royals and Indians prospects from his recent trip to Delaware.

“Baseball is my stereo, and this ain't no garden party, brother, this is wrestling, where only the strongest survive.” –Ric Flair

I just returned home from a five-day scouting expedition, where I saw organizational players and prospects alike recite their lines on the advanced A-ball stage. Wilmington, Delaware was the setting for this theater, and I probably escaped the state with more stories that originated outside the ballpark than on the field itself, and trust me, I was able to gather plenty of stories from the action taking place on the field. My next article might have to focus on the eclectic cab driver who took a casual conversation about adult metabolism and escalated it into a tale of karate and gunfights, the 30-year-old hotel bartender who foolishly thought he could play shortstop in the high minors, and the previously mentioned girl on the bus, who looked like a toy, complete with the plastic package that separates the product from the hands of the outside world, but baseball is still fresh on my mind, and the notes from the Wilmington Blue Rocks/Carolina Mudcats series are playing on repeat in my head. I was sad to leave the scene of the crime, but happy to find comfort in the documented history of my travels, the scouting scribbles on prospects like Royals right-hander Jason Adam and Indians middle-infielders Ronny Rodriguez and Tony Wolters. Let’s just do this.

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Things you didn't know about Francisco Lindor: he can fly, heal the sick, and turn rocks into seven-layer cake.

Prospect #1: SS Francisco Lindor
Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources.
Who: Selected eighth overall in the 2011 draft, Lindor had enough heat on his name after pre-draft workouts that some in the industry thought Seattle would pop the young Puerto Rican with the second-overall pick. I’ve seen a lot of quality up-the-middle talent since I started down this prospect evaluation road, and rarely will a 17-year-old (now 18) shortstop showcase the type of skills to make you feel confident in their future major-league success. After watching Lindor in the Fall Instructional League, I have very little doubt that he will develop into a very good major leaguer, one that can play a premium defensive position while providing above-average offensive production. At the plate, Lindor can track balls from release point to target like a ten-year veteran, showing advanced recognition skills and an approach that should put him in favorable hitting environments. His hands and hips work very well, showing fluidity when they fire, and bringing his bat head into the zone quickly and efficiently. He shows contact ability and he drives through the ball with excellent extension; it’s easy to project a plus hit tool and at least solid-average power at maturity. In the field, Lindor is as precocious and instinctual as positional prince Jurickson Profar, showing easy actions, a very strong arm, and a preternatural feel for his craft. I’m slobbering all over Lindor without apology. I put a note in his locker after class. I hope he checks the box marked “yes.”

What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Lindor was a young high school draftee, turning 18-years-old after the 2011 season had already ended, so that youth will ride sidesaddle in the developmental process, both as a positive and negative. The downside to youth is inexperience, and all the praise that Lindor receives for this tools and his polish can’t change the reality of his limited existence. It’s likely that Lindor moves to full-season ball at some point in 2012, and the jump will represent the biggest challenge so far in Lindor’s brief career. Development is about failure and adjustment, and given the level of competition Lindor is likely to face, I think he could initially struggle, at least until he makes the necessary adjustments. This is a player that needs to see sharp breaking balls, that needs to see above-average velocity, that needs to face sequences and situations that you just can’t simulate with the same intensity on a practice field. Failure can be a good thing for young players, even if the exposure to failure is short-lived, as it most likely will be in the case of Lindor. I think he has a chance to be a star, and to be honest, I think he makes the necessary adjustments very quickly and emerges as a top tier prospect in the game before the year is out.

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January 19, 2012 3:00 am

Future Shock: Indians Top 11 Prospects


Kevin Goldstein

Big-league graduations have depleted the system and made it one of the biggest question marks in the game.

Previous Rankings: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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November 30, 2010 9:00 am

Future Shock: Cleveland Indians Top 11 Prospects


Kevin Goldstein

Picking the best out of one of baseball's deepest farm systems.

Previous Rankings: 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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