Acquired: 7th round pick in 2008
2011 Stats: .308/.385/.408 with 3 HR and 63 RBI and 10 SB in 132 games between AA Akron and AAA Columbus
Scouting Report: Fedroff was a 7th round pick in 2008 outof the University of North Carolina, and the former Tar Heel had a really solid year across the board in 2011. He’s not a big, powerful outfielder, but a smaller guy who has classic top of the order skills. He was one of the hottest players in minor league baseball for the month of May, leading the Eastern League in hitting and OBP (.412/.465) while putting together an impressive20-game hitting streak. It helped earned him a promotion to AAA Columbus, where he held his own, hitting .272/.370/.362 with a HR and 28 RBI in 62 International League games. He was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League after the season, but a shoulder injury limited him to just three games in the desert.
Fedroff has a plus hit tool and an advanced approach. He makes a lot of solid contact, and sports a career minor league batting average of .290 in 372 games. He has below average power, with just 11 career home runs. He’s an average runner with a fringe-average arm, which pretty much limits him to LF defensively. His bat profiles much better in CF and that’s where he’s spent most of his minor league career, but doesn’t project to be able to play there long-term. He’s a hard worker who goes 100% on every play, so he’ll always be a guy who gets the most out of his tools.
No one part of Fedroff’s game outside of his raw hitting ability projects as above-average, and he’s not a guy who scouts drool over as a future star. Still, there’s a lot to like in his game as none of his tools other than his power project as below average. He probably profiles best as a 4th OF, but there’s a chance he could turn himself into a 2nddivision starter if he can remain a consistent hitter like last season. He’ll likely open 2012 where he finished 2011; back in AAA Columbus. If he can improve on last year, add a little bit of pop and maintain his on base skills, he’ll solidify his standing as one of the better OF prospects in the system.
Glass Half-Full: A 2nd division starter in LF
Glass Half-Empty: A 4th OF
39. Michael Goodnight, RHP
Acquired: 13th round pick in 2010
2011 Stats: 6-12 with a 4.06 ERA with 123 K and 66 BB in 135 IP between Lake County and Kinston
Scouting Report: Goodnight was actually drafted twice by the Indians,once in the 27th round in 2008 and then again in the 13thround in 2010 when he signed for $315,000. He throws a fastball, slider, curve and change. The fastball sits between 90-93 MPH and has touched 95. He has a chance to add a couple MPH onto the pitch as he fills out his 6’4” frame, which would help the pitch move from the “above average” to “plus” range. He uses his height well, doing a nice job getting on top of the ball and attacking hitters from a downward plane. His best secondary pitch is his slider, which is a mid-80’s offering with nice, late life. The curveball has a future average grade, and he just started developing the changeup last year so it’s not as far along as the rest of his repertoire. It’s a starter’s arsenal, and there’s no reason to believe that Goodnight can’t stick in the rotation long-term.
Goodnight had a decent but not great K/BB ratio lastyear, and it’s an area that he needs to improve upon. He needs to be able to get ahead of hitters with his fastball and then rely on his secondary stuff to put them away. The more he can get guys to chase his slider out of the zone the better. Developing his changeup will be important for his development, as it could be an effective pitch to help keep hitters honest by changing speeds. It’s a difficult pitch to learn and one that can take a while to get a feel for, so more than anything else Goodnight just needs innings. He should begin 2012 in the rotation for high-A Carolina, and will likely pitch there for most if not all of this season. He’ll turn 23 this season, so needs to move up at least one level a year to be on a solid prospect timeline.
Glass Half-Full: A middle of the rotation starter
Glass Half-Empty: A bullpen arm who’s stuff plays up in shorter outings
38. Bryson Myles, OF
Acquired: 6th round pick in 2011
2011Stats: .302/.394/.401 with 1 HR, 15 RBI and 20 SB in 50 games for short season Mahoning Valley
Scouting Report: Myles put up some crazy numbers at Stephen F. Austin State his senior year, hitting .411 with 8 HR and stealing 53(!) bases. The 53 stolen bases were good to give him the lead in all of college baseball for the year. He was a centerfielder in college, so if you haven’t seen Myles before you’re probably picturing a guy that looks like Kenny Lofton or Alex Cole. Myles is anything but though, as he had a scholarship offer to play linebacker at TCU coming out of high school. He’s an even 6’ tall and 230lbs of solid muscle. He’s not really a burner on the bases, but he has 60-grade speed and outstanding instincts and baserunning skills. He’ll likely be limited to LF in the pros, as he doesn’t quite have the defensive chops to remain in CF long-term.
Myles was given an $112,500 bonus to sign, and that figure is looking like a bargain after his first professional season. He signed early enough to play in 50 games for the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers, going for a .302/.394/.401 line with a HR, 15 RBI and 20 SB. He showed a solid approach and top of the order skills, walking 24 times against 32 strikeouts. Myles made the New York-Penn League All-Star team, and was 5th in the league in batting average, and was in the top-10 in the league in stolen bases and OBP as well.
Myles is going to play the 2012 season as a 22-year-old, so he needs to keep producing at a high level to move up the organizational ladder quickly enough to remain a legit prospect. He should begin the season in low-A Lake County once the teams break from Goodyear, and has a shot to move up to Carolina if he produces the way he did in Mahoning Valley last year.
Glass Half-Full: A really poor man’s Kirby Puckett
Glass Half-Empty: A poor man’s Wayne Kirby
37. Russ Canzler, 1B/OF
Acquired: For cash from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. Originally a 30th round pick of the Rays in the 2004 draft
2011 Stats: .333/.400/.333 with 1 RBI in 3 games for Tampa Bay;.314/.401/.530 with 18 HR and 83 RBI in 131 games for AAA Durham
Scouting Report: Canzler was acquired on the cheap from Tampa Bay this past offseason, with the Indians not even having to give up a player in exchange. The slugging 1B/corner OF won the International League MVP last year, posting a .931 OPS while pounding 18 HR for the AAA Durham Bulls. Reportedly, he hit the bull three times, and very much enjoyed the free steaks. He played all four corner positions, with 40 games at 3B, 17 at 1B, 41 in RF and 33 inLF. Canzler turns 26 on April 11, which is certainly on the old side for a prospect and why he was available this offseason. But his MVP season last year was as a 25-year old in AAA, so it’s not like he was THAT much older than most of his competition. If he’d had the same season two years earlier, he’d be rated among the top prospects in baseball. Age is a significant factor in determining prospect standing, but if you can hit you can hit, and it seems like Canzler can hit.
Canzler was drafted out of a Pennsylvania high school in the 30th round of the 2004 draft. His career minor league OPS is a solid .820, with an overall line of .280/.351/.469. He’s hit 84 HR and driving in 405 runs in 738 career minor league games. The most concerning number on Canzler is 129; that’s his number of strikeouts last year in 131games. John Gregg of Rays Digest did a nice piece on Canzler before he was traded that also highlighted his unusually high batting average on balls inplay (BABIP) last year of .396 last year, which is pretty tough to sustain. But he also did have a liner rate of 23.3%, which shows that he was making a lot of solid contact so the BABIP isn’t all smoke and mirrors.
I’d be lying to you if I said that I had heard of Canzler before the Indians traded for him, and I follow the minor leagues pretty closely. He became available after the Rays signed Carlos Pena to play 1B and then inked Jeff Keppinger to a $1.525 million deal. Canzler is a pretty good athlete and a decent defender, but will never contend to for a gold glove at any of the defensive positions that he can play. The Indians are in desperate need a middle of the order bat that can play 1B or LF, and Canzler should have a shot at filling that role. Is he a late bloomer who just needs a legit shot to contend for a big-league job? Or is he a AAAA player who will contend for International League MVP’s for the next several years? Time will tell, but there’s not really a better organization for him to get a shot to prove himself than the 2012 Indians.
Glass Half-Full: Casey Blake
Glass Half-Empty: Jeff Manto
Acquired: From the Tigers in exchange for Jhonny Peralta. Originally a 21st round pick of the Tigers in 2009
2011 Stats: 4-4, 3.23 ERA with 64 K and 21 BB in 64 IP for high-A Kinston
Scouting Report: Soto was pitching well with Kinston early in the season last year, but a left elbow injury slowed him in the middle of the season, an injury the Indians were understandably cautious with. Soto suffered from neuritis in his elbow, a condition that had him feeling numbness in the fingers of his throwing hand. Fortunately, Soto ended up being able to work through the injury with rest and rehab and avoided surgery. All this was after dealing with oblique issues in spring training last year. He came back to pitch in the complex leagues as well as the Carolina League before the end of the year, and then threw 13 2/3 innings in the Puerto Rican Winter League without incident.The Indians would like Soto to add some bulk to his wiry 6’3”, 180lb frame in order to stay healthy and avoid these types of nagging injuries so he can be healthy and productive moving forward.
Soto throws a fastball, cutter, curve and changeup.The fastball generally sits between 88-91 and has touched 94. He generally does a nice job commanding the pitch within the zone, and thus doesn’t give up a lot of hard hit balls. His best secondary offering is the cutter, a pitch that has outstanding late life and is extremely tough on lefties. The pitch really bears down on southpaws, getting in on their hands and giving Soto a great weapon. His curve is probably farther along than his changeup at this point, but both flash at least average and should become more consistent with more innings.
Soto does a nice job attacking hitters, and pitches without fear. He’s a smart pitcher who works to keep hitters off balance, often pitching backwards and putting them away with his sneaky-fast fastball. He’s still just 20 years old, and won’t turn 21 until May. Despite the injury issues, he’s built quite a resume at such a young age. For his career, Soto has a 2.64 ERA, 215 K and 78 BB in 278 1/3 IP. If he can add a little bulk and a couple MPH on his fastball, Soto could really take off as a prospect. He’ll likely be back in high-A with the Carolina Mudcats to begin the 2012 season, but with a solid first half he could push his way to Akron by season’s end.
Glass Half-Full: A middle of the rotation starter
Glass Half-Empty: Raffy Perez