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Burning River Baseball’s 2017 Cleveland Indians Prospect Rankings: #31-40
Siri closes out a game for the 2016 AZL Indians. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

40. Dalbert Siri – Right Handed Relief Pitcher
2014 International Free Agent
Age: 22
Level: A Lake County

By Justin Lada
The 6’2″ Dominican right hander finally got his first mostly full year in affiliated ball and responded by putting himself on the map thanks in large part to a fastball that touches up to 96 and sits 93-94 and a good slider that sits in the mid-80s. Siri came into the year with those two weapons in his arsenal but the question was always command.

He struck out 35 in 19.2 innings the first half of the season, but that came with 16 walks. As the year went on, Siri’s command improved and his stuff held firm. He pitched 21 innings in the second half, striking out 29 but walking just 10. Hitters just managed a .192 average off of him and he finished with a swinging strike rate of 14.8%. Siri’s two pitch mix of above average pitches that potentially could become plus-plus make him a perfect candidate for a back end of the bullpen role if his command continues to improve as he moves up. He’ll start the year in High-A Lynchburg, but he’ll be 23 next year and if he improves his command, it’s not out of the question that he see’s AA next year to hopefully put himself in position for a bullpen debut in Cleveland in 2019. The potential of his two pitch mix feels a bit low on this list.

Wakamatsu steps up the plate for the AZL Indians in 2015. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

39. Luke Wakamatsu – Short Stop
Drafted 2015, 20th Round
Age: 21
Level: A Lake County

By Caitlin Boron
The switch hitter just rounded out his first full season of play since being drafted by the Indians in 2015 with Lake County, and picked up right where he left off in 2016. His natural talent for shortstop mixed with growing up surrounded by the game continued to prove its worth once again.

If he can stay healthy I can see a positive future for the young shortstop, though the path forward is littered with other high quality shortstops that may halt the forward progress a bit.

38. Aaron Bracho – Short Stop
2017 International Free Agent
Age:  17
Level: DNP in 2017

By Gavin Potter
Considered one of the best 20 players in the 2017 international free agent pool, Bracho received $1.5 million from Cleveland. A switch-hitting middle infielder, reports say Bracho’s hit and power tools may be good enough to carry him even if he doesn’t project as a shortstop in the long term. While the upside is there, as such a young prospect, fans will need to wait 2-3 years before they start to make any judgement on Bracho.

Chu bats during his rehab assignment in Arizona in 2016. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

37. Li-Jen Chu – Catcher
2012 International Free Agent
Age: 23
Level: A Lake County

By Justin Lada
Chu was the Lake County Captains lone consistent offensive threat from start to finish in 2017. The 23 year old native of Taiwan clubbed 17 homers and drove in 67 runs while posting an average walk rate of 7.7% in 518 plate appearances with a strikeout rate of a respectable 17.6%. His 348 wOBA and 117 wRC+ are nice for a team that lacked any consistent punch. At 23, Chu is further up the older end of the age spectrum in the Midwest League than you’d like to see and his performance relative to age and competition isn’t as nice as it seems on the surface.

While he did show some pop and the ability to have a decent batting eye, it’s hard to believe he will continue to improve on that moving up as he faces better pitching. It’s possible he’s a bit raw as that was his first full season state side since coming over in 2014, but age and performance relative to level tends to be a pretty good marker of future success. I personally had him a little lower on the top 50, but his bat alone is at least interesting if he can even continue the same numbers next year at High-A Lynchburg.

Chu has already had an elbow injury and surgery and started just 50 games behind the plate, mostly serving as the DH. When he was behind the plate, Chu showed a very capable arm, but a very average pop time to second base and less than average footwork. His bat will likely take him as far as he can get unless he improves and finds a way to show off his decent arm.

Gonzalez takes a big step with his front foot before swinging in a 2017 MiLB Spring game. – Caitlin Boron, BurningRiverBaseball

36. Oscar Gonzalez – Left Field
2014 International Free Agent
Age: 19
Level: SS Mahoning Valley

By Joseph Coblitz
Gonzalez showed incredible potential for power in 2016, slugging .566 with eight home runs while playing home games at the Major League sized Goodyear Ballpark, but saw his numbers drop drastically in a smaller park in 2017. This is most likely due to the increase in quality of pitching.

Gonzalez has major issues discerning the strike zone and pitchers in the AZL are often just trying to get a ball over the plate, not necessarily worrying about pitch quality. Even so, he struck out 58 times to just nine walks last year. In short season A ball, he faced more college pitchers as well as high school and international picks that were a year older and that ratio got even worse at 61 K’s to 5 walks in 55 games. Defensively, he’s at or below average in left and right, but that’s acceptable if he’s slugging over .550. If he can’t figure out the strike zone, however, that will never happen again and he may not make it past A ball.

Brady pitches for the Glendale Desert Dogs in 2017. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

35. Sean Brady – Left Handed Starting Pitcher
Drafted 2013, 5th Round
Age: 23
Level: A+ Lynchburg/AFL

By Joseph Coblitz
One of the Indians top ranked left handed starters, Brady missed almost all of 2017 with an injury, only returning to Lynchburg in August. He’s currently trying to make up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League with mixed results. He definitely has some swing and miss ability and has better command than most of his contemporaries.

Brady doesn’t project to be an elite starter, but he’s reliable enough that he could potentially hit the big leagues either in the back end of a rotation or in the bullpen. At 23, he’s already a little behind, however, so a strong finish to the AFL season and a quick promotion to AA in 2018 will be big in making sure he stays on schedule.

Aiken pitches in a game during the 2016 AZL season, his first back from Tommy John surgery. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

34. Brady Aiken – Left Handed Starting Pitcher
Drafted 2015, First Round
Age: 21
Level: A Lake County

By Peter Conti
Since getting Tommy John surgery, Brady Aiken is looking to contribute to the Indians as fast as he possibly can. While most pitchers, struggle to get their previous command back in a timely manner, Cleveland is hoping that he can change that trend. I see him on a major league mound within the next  3-4 years barring any potential aggravations of that injury he suffered early in his career.

Aiken had major control issues with the Captains in 2017 and a losing record to show for it. Despite being the Indians’ number one draft pick in 2015, Aiken finished with a overall record of 1-10 and an ERA of 4.39. While he likely will not be a top of the rotation guy, a stint in the bullpen until he gains control of all his pitches could be a step in the right direction. If he is able to stay healthy for a period of time, he could also pan out as a back of the rotation starter.

Ice bats during 2016 Instructional League play in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball.com

33. Logan Ice – Catcher
Drafted 2016, 2nd Round
Age: 22
Level: A Lake County

By Caitlin Boron
Ice started his second season in the Indians organization with their single-A full season team, the Lake County Captains. There was an instant improvement at the plate from his first year with Mahoning Valley, though it was cut short due to an injury to his throwing wrist that put him on the disabled list in May. He returned in the middle of June.

Ice is a hard worker that puts all of himself into bringing his everything on to the field. He’s perfecting his game calling abilities and fully believes there was a reason why he, a catcher, was chosen so highly in the 2016 draft. There are quite a few catchers ahead of him in the system, but he has the will to blow passed them and the passion to stay grounded when things get rough. He’ll probably stay in Lake County for the better part of next season to continue his growth behind the plate before moving on, but the way his bat jumped after his promotion, it’s tempting to see him go higher early.

Mathias smacks a ball four during 2015 Instructional League play. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

32. Mark Mathias – Second Base
Drafted 2015, 3rd Round
Age: 23
Level: AA Akron

By Gavin Potter
A top-100 draft pick in 2015, Mathias has a profile similar to other Cleveland prospects like Tyler Krieger and Tyler Freeman – a college infielder with average athleticism and little power, who is unlikely to stick at shortstop. As a result, Mathias needs to hit for a high average to advance as a prospect. With a career .264 average in the minors, Mathias has a ceiling of utility man in the MLB, with a better chance of failing to reach the majors.

Tully pitches against the Korean national team during the 2016 Instructional League in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

31. Tanner Tully – Left Handed Starting Pitcher
Drafted 2016, 26th Round
Age: 22
Level: A Lake County/A+ Lynchburg

By Michael Melaragno
Tully is probably my favorite Indians prospect in the system and a pitcher whose stock is on the rise. He’s so hot, in fact, that he pitched at four different levels in his first full professional season.The Indians assigned Tully to Low-A Lake County to open the 2017 season. He pitched very effectively for the Captains over the first two-thirds of the season. In 77 innings, he had 76 strikeouts and only ten walks. He limited opposing hitters to a .243 average and had an ERA of 3.16, an effective start to his first full season. His success earned him a promotion to Akron for three starts and Columbus for one.