Prospect Review: Kyle Denney and Eric Crozier

Moving on with my look at the minors:

These two players aren’t going to make any prospect lists due to their age, but they also have good chances of helping out a major league club before their careers are over.

RHSP Kyle Denney

Age: 26 (Born 7/27/1977)

Roster Status: Off 40-man roster

Rule 5: Eligible

2004 Stats: 86.0 IP, 3.77 ERA, 78 SO, 24 BB

As far as starting pitchers, he’s the best option the Indians have in the minors to come in and contribute. Like Jason Stanford, Denney has quietly overcome higher draft picks throughout every level in the organization, and it looks like the Indians are finally fitting him into their long-range plans. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his stuff, but he has good enough command to avoid walks and even miss bats. You could do much worse for a 5th starter, as the Indians have found out recently. With the demotion of Jason Davis, all that’s standing in Denney’s way is Scott Elarton. Do I really need to say anything else?

1B Eric Crozier

Age: 25 (Born 8/17/1978)

Roster Status: Off 40-man roster

Rule 5: Eligible

2004 Stats: 221 AB, .299/.382/.615, 16 2B, 18 HR

Eric is a full two years younger than Ben Broussard, so there’s a legitimate case to be made that Eric deserves a shot at first base before the end of the year. He fought injuries in 2003, and this is his first year in Buffalo, so I think he still should be considered a prospect. Like Denney, Crozier wasn’t a top draft pick, so he too has had to fight past more celebrated prospects to get where he is. He recently was named the International League Player of the Month for June. You could argue that Crozier is the best player the Indians drafted in 2000, and Eric was drafted in the 41st round. Only Brian Tallet has made the majors, and Crozier might be the second if he beats out Ryan Church.

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