Breaking down the Indians' Top 30 Prospects

Cleveland expects to get plenty of help from farmhands in 2017

Breaking down the Indians' Top 30 Prospects

The Indians came within one win of ending the franchise's 68-year World Series drought in 2016, ultimately falling to the Cubs in extra innings in Game 7 of the Fall Classic.

But while their season may have ended in disappointment, it was still a banner season for the Tribe, which won 94 games, the second most in the American League, en route to its first division title since 2007 and the team's first pennant since 1997.

Cleveland's 2017 Top 30 Prospects list

Top 30 Prospects lists
Division Release date
AL East BAL, BOS, NYYTB, TOR
NL East ATLMIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
AL Central CLE, CWSDET, KC, MIN
NL Central CHCCINMILPITSTL
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
NL West ARICOLLADSDSF

Cleveland received significant contributions from its prospects along the way, most notably Tyler Naquin, who emerged as the club's everyday center fielder while hitting .296/.372/.514 with 14 home runs. On the mound, right-hander Mike Clevinger further established himself as a part of the team's future, while southpaw Ryan Merritt tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series against Toronto to propel the Indians to their sixth AL pennant.

The acquisition of Andrew Miller from the Yankees at the Trade Deadline came at a steep cost for the Indians, however, as they were forced to part with a pair of top prospects in Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield. Yet, the Tribe's farm system remains strong heading into 2017, boasting four Top 100 prospects in Bradley Zimmer (No. 22 overall), Francisco Mejia (No. 40), Triston McKenzie (No. 57) and Bobby Bradley (No. 95), as well as plenty of positional and pitching depth.

Zimmer, after finishing last season at Triple-A Columbus, is nearly ready for the Major Leagues and should arrive later in the year, as should Erik Gonzalez, Greg Allen and Yandy Diaz, all of whom rank among Cleveland's Top 10 prospects.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.

Jump: Willi Castro, SS (2016: 23 | 2017: 13)
Fall: Nellie Rodriguez, 1B (2016: 19 | 2017: 27)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hit: Francisco Mejia (55)
Power: Bobby Bradley (60)
Run: Gabriel Mejia (80)
Arm: Francisco Mejia (70)
Defense: Erik Gonzalez (60)
Fastball: Julian Merryweather (60)
Curveball: Brady Aiken (60)
Slider: Shawn Morimando (60)
Changeup: Adam Plutko (60)
Control: Ryan Merritt (60)

How they were built
Draft: 22
International: 6
Trade: 1
Waiver claim: 1

Breakdown by ETA
2017: 11
2018: 7
2019: 7
2020: 5

Breakdown by position
C: 2
1B: 2
2B: 2
3B: 1
SS: 3
OF: 7
RHP: 6
LHP: 7

Here's a look at the Indians' Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.