Cleveland Indians Prospects: A New Arrival and a Just Missed

Fermin stares down the pitcher during a 2018 extended spring training game in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

Last month my exhaustive look at the Indians Top 50 prospects was published (In case you missed it you can find that here) on Prospects 1500. As with any deep dive into an organization, once you get past 30 or so things can get a bit dicey. Luckily we have some astute readers who pointed out a couple of potential omissions and I’d like to take this opportunity to delve into their numbers and decide if they should be included in my Top 50, and also where they would have ranked if they do.

Andruw Monasterio, SS/2B
Age: 21
2018 Highest Level:  A+

Monasterio was a prospect on the move in 2018.  First he was shipped to the Nationals as part of the Daniel Murphy trade in August before he was included as the PTBNL in the Yan Gomes deal just before Christmas. He split time between SS and 2B in 2018 and can easily thrive in a utility role at both positions and possibly the hot corner on occasion.

Monasterio has a keen eye at the plate and makes plenty of contact, evidenced by nearly equal K% and BB% at around 13%. He also has above average wheels with about a dozen steals in 400 ABs, although he was caught 6 times so he could use some improvement there. Monasterio is very athletic, but also a bit undersized at 6’0″ and 175 lbs. so it isn’t surprising he hasn’t tapped into any meaningful power as of yet and it will likely never be a part of his game beyond running into a homer here and there.

While Monasterio is a very solid and useful player, his skill set is more of a super utility player who can spell guys all over the infield rather than an everyday regular. That isn’t to say that he wasn’t a good pickup as a PTBNL as he could prove to be very useful in that role for an Indians team that appears to be in a retooling/rebuilding phase. Had Monasterio been in the Cleveland organization when I was writing my Top 50, there is a chance he would have cracked the Top 50, but if he had it would have been in the 45-50 range.

Jose Fermin, 2B/SS
Age: 19
2018 Highest Level:  A-

Signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2015 for $500,000, Fermin spent his first two professional seasons in Rookie ball before logging 251 AB’s for short season Mahoning Valley in the New York-Penn League last year. Fermin and Monasterio have a lot of similarities, beginning with their stature and size. Fermin is 5′ 11″ and 160 lbs, and like Manasterio can play all over the infield. He also offers little in the way of power but has shown an ability to handle the bat.

Fermin has improved his contact skills each year, posting an impressive 8.4% K-rate in 2018 to go along with an equally impressive 12.4% walk rate that added up to a hearty .391 OBP. He also used his plus wheels to take advantage of those opportunities on the bases, swiping 17 bags in 21 attempts. As I mentioned, Fermin has very little over the fence power, hitting just 2 HR in those 251 AB’s. Instead he uses his solid contact skills to slap singles all over the field while occasionally finding the gaps for doubles and triples.

Monasterio and Fermin are very similar players in just about every respect, and a big league utility player is looking like the ceiling for the latter as well. He does have a bit more speed and a better success rate while hitting more line drives (19.8 LD% in 2018) so I think that I’ll give Fermin the edge here.

I actually had Fermin in my Top 50 initially, only to bump him as I navigated through a seemingly endless abundance of middle infield prospects in the lower minors. In hindsight, I think I should have kept Fermin on the list in lieu of an under performing guy like Logan Ice, and he likely would have slotted in around the high 40’s.

Thanks to those who pointed out these two players and please feel free to continue to do so in the future. Prospect writers and lists are not infallible, and constructive feedback not only helps us realize potential omissions and mistakes but also allows for intellectual interaction between writer and reader that I find very valuable.

John Stewart is a graphic & website designer, event promoter, and baseball enthusiast based in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been obsessed with minor league baseball since childhood, as the AAA Louisville Redbirds (now the Louisville Bats) were the only local team...which is still the case today. Now a season ticket holder, John enjoys watching top prospects as they come through town, as well as purchasing far too much cotton candy for his kids throughout the baseball season. Follow John on Twitter at @jonance.

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