CLEVELAND -- When Cody Anderson took the mound for the first time last season, he stood on the pitching rubber at Canal Park in Akron, Ohio. Progressive Field was only 40 miles away, but the big leagues probably felt a lot more distant than that for the young pitcher.By June,
CLEVELAND -- When Cody Anderson took the mound for the first time last season, he stood on the pitching rubber at Canal Park in Akron, Ohio. Progressive Field was only 40 miles away, but the big leagues probably felt a lot more distant than that for the young pitcher.
By June, Anderson was in the Majors, logging quality innings for Cleveland and helping the team claw back into the playoff race until the final week of the season. As the Indians plan for 2016, there are a handful of prospects worth monitoring down on the farm. Anderson showed that even an under-the-radar prospect can make an impact earlier than anticipated.
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Who might be in a position to be this season's Cody Anderson?
"We have a kid named Clevinger, who's in Triple-A, who really had a heck of a year," Indians manager Terry Francona said recently. "And we got hit on him all winter. Teams wanted to trade for him every other day, it seemed like."
That would be right-hander Mike Clevinger, who is an intriguing pitching prospect for the Tribe. As MLB.com continues its look at various aspects of the roster in the days leading up to Spring Training, here are some prospects, along with Clevinger, who are worth keeping an eye on this season for Cleveland:
RHP Shawn Armstrong: Armstrong (rated as the Tribe's 27th-best prospect by MLB.com last year) got a taste of The Show in 2015, turning in a 2.25 ERA with 11 strikeouts in eight innings with the Indians. The hard-throwing righty had 80 strikeouts and a 2.36 ERA in 49 2/3 innings at Triple-A Columbus last season, and he will be vying for a bullpen job with Cleveland this spring.
1B Bobby Bradley: The 19-year-old Bradley is still a few years away from the Majors, but he is Cleveland's top power-hitting prospect in the farm system. The young slugger belted 27 homers and had 92 RBIs in 110 games between Class A Lake County and Class A Advanced Lynchburg last season. MLB.com ranked Bradley fourth among first base prospects and 93rd overall on its recent Top 100 prospects list.
RHP Clevinger: Acquired from the Angels in exchange for reliever Vinnie Pestano in August 2014, Clevinger enjoyed a solid showing in '15. The righty was two seasons removed from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow and responded with a 2.73 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 158 innings at Double-A Akron. Clevinger was ranked No. 15 on Cleveland's Top 30 prospects by MLB.com last year.
OF Clint Frazier: MLB.com pegged the 21-year-old Frazier as the seventh-best outfield prospect and 27th-best prospect overall in 2016. Last year, he hit .285 with 16 homers, 36 doubles, 72 RBIs, 88 runs and 15 steals in 133 games with Lynchburg. Frazier was the Indians' top pick (fifth overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft.
OF Tyler Naquin: The 24-year-old -- along with fellow outfielder and 2012 first-round draftee James Ramsey -- is on the 40-man roster and will be in camp with the Indians this spring. Naquin (No. 5 on Cleveland's Top 30 list last year) might have a leg up on competing for a roster spot. Last year, Naquin hit .300 with 33 extra-base hits in 84 games during an injury-plagued 2015 showing with Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
RHP Adam Plutko: Ranked as Cleveland's 14th-best prospect last year, Plutko went 13-7 with a 2.39 ERA, 137 strikeouts and 28 walks in 166 innings between Lynchburg and Akron last season. The 24-year-old Plutko -- picked in the 11th round of the 2013 Draft -- will be in camp as a non-roster invitee this spring and, like Clevinger, is a starter who could be rising fast.
OF Brad Zimmer: With shortstop Francisco Lindor now in the Majors, the 23-year-old Zimmer is Cleveland's consensus No. 1 prospect. He was ranked 26th on MLB.com's recent Top 100 list and sixth among outfield prospects. Zimmer (a first-round pick in 2014) hit .273 with 16 homers, 26 doubles, four triples, 63 RBIs, 44 steals and 84 runs scored between Lynchburg and Akron in '15.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.