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Cleveland Spiders Top Ten Prospects

1. 3B Michael Dransfeldt. Age 19. HiA. ETA: Late Season 11.Hit a .342/.401/.754 in 62 games in Low A after being the #2 overall pick in Season 8. Drafted as a shortstop, he has been moved to 3B where his range is more than adequate and his glove and arm should be huge assets. Possessing superb pitch recognition, power, and contact, nothing should stop a player with these talents and this makeup from becoming an All-Star fixture, perhaps as early as Season 12.

2. SS Omar Olivares. Age 21. AAA. ETA: Season 10.Viewed as a future star after hitting .330/.417/.626 in AA as an 18 year old, his failure to put together the kind of performance that would mark him as a future superstar has led to him being eclipsed by Dransfeldt as the crown jewel of the Spiders' farm system. He continues to struggle with left-handed pitching and there are concerns that he might not live up to potential as a fielder. The bat doesn't play quite as well at second or third, so staying at shortstop is a key. Nonetheless, no one is blocking him at the big league level and with reasonable progress he is probably the Spiders' starting shortstop on opening day next year.

3. CF Russ Mercedes. Age 24. ML. ETA: Now.Acquired in the Season 9 Rule 5 draft, Mercedes will start the season as the Spiders' centerfielder; and not just out of necessity. He possesses a bat that would play quite well at any up-the-middle position (.293/.363/.520 at AAA last year), but despite spectacular range, he lacks the arm for SS and the glove for CF. He profiles beset as an above-average 2B with both the bat and glove. However, need will force him to centerfield for the Spiders in Season 9.

4. SP Dan Darwin. Age 21. AA. ETA: Late Season 11.The first pick made by the current Cleveland front office (#2 overall in Season 8), Darwin has a spectacular fastball-curveball combination and pinpoint accuracy. He was among the league leaders in ERA, WHIP and K/9 amongst Low A starters for the majority of Season 8, but failed to qualify for the league titles because of lack of innings. His inability to go deep into games (he lasted just under 5 IP/GS in Season 8) prevents him from having #1 upside. Due to his velocity and two-pitch repertoire, some scouts prefer projecting him as an All-Star closer rather than as a #2 or #3 starter.

5. RF Alex Carrasquel. Age 20. High A. ETA: Season 12.After winning Silver Slugger awards and garnering All-Star nods in Season 7 (RL) and Season 8 (Low A), Carrasquel is projected as a solid ML starter, though perhaps he doesn't have the upside of a player viewed as a perennial All-Star candidate. Adequate on defense and with a well-rounded approach at the plate, his upside is that of a #3 hitter, but he probably projects more reasonably as a #6 hitter and a LF on a first division team.

6. RF Felipe Guzman. Age 22. AA. ETA: Sometime Season 10.Close to his ceiling, Guzman could play as an adequate RF or as a stopgap 3B in the majors right now. In the long-term, it is expected that he'll be overtaken by Dransfeldt at 3B and Carrasquel at RF. Still, his 1.218 OPS across Low A and High A last year speaks loudly that some ML career awaits him.

7. SP Damaso Miro. Age 20. AA. ETA: Season 12.A big Season 7 International Signing, Miro is a bit of an enigma. With a huge, whip like frame (6' 7", 189 lbs), well above-average stamina and velocity, and great control of a 4 pitch arsenal, he looks all the world like an ace in the making. However, perhaps an inability to command his pitches within the strike zone is holding him back. Too many gopher balls (31 in 183 IP last year) limits his upside. He held his own as a 19-year-old in AA last year - an impressive feat - but, he'll be repeating that level this year.

8. C Denny Ramirez. Age 23. AAA. ETA: Season 10.If the scouts thought he could remain at catcher, he'd move up this list significantly. However, this Season 5 RL MVP appears destined for a move to DH and the bat is merely adequate there. Season 9 is Ramirez's last change to prove himself as a major league catcher as he handles a number of Quad-A pitchers in AAA.

9. CF Jose Trevino. Age 19. High A. ETA: Season 12.Originally viewed by Cleveland scouts as a plus-plus centerfielder with an solid bat, Trevino's stock has dropped considerably as his defense is now viewed as merely adequate. He still projects as a adequate fourth outfielder.

10. SP Bryan Turnbow. Age 21. AA. ETA: Season 11.Two minor league all-star appearances, an appearance in the Season 8 Futures Game, and a Season 7 RL Cy Young are impressive, but Turnbow has a modest ceiling and projects as a back-of-rotation big league starter.

Also of note: OBP-machine MIF Trenidad Blanco, IFA Bonus Baby SP Esteban Ramirez, and fragile SS Grant Bonham.

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