The Cleveland Indians called up prospect Matt LaPorta last week and all likelihood he will be here to stay.
LaPorta was the prize for the Indians in a deal last year that sent C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers. The 7th overall pick in 2007, he has done nothing but hit at every level of the minors. The 24-year old slugger is expected to immediately provide a boost to Cleveland’s lineup.
This season in Triple-A he was batting .299/.388/.530. His wOBA was an impressive .400 and his walk rate (11.1 percent) and strikeout rate (16.6 percent) have both shown improvement.
LaPorta’s numbers translate to a MLE of .263/.336/.446 which are nearly identical to the American League average of .266/.335/.430. Not bad for a rookie making the league minimum.
He is well known for his power hitting ability as evidenced by his 17 home runs this year. His career isolated power in the minor leagues is .266 which is tremendous.
There are concerns about whether or not he can stick as a corner outfielder as his defense is average at best. However, he should drive in enough runs to warrant a move to first base in the future.
The Indians are smart to allow LaPorta to get his feet wet in the majors for the next month as he will probably be the starting left fielder in 2010.