Naquin among Tribe's representatives in AFL

Naquin among Tribe's representatives in AFL

ATLANTA -- The Arizona Fall League will feature a handful of standouts from within the Indians' farm system this year. Heading the Cleveland class will be outfielder Tyler Naquin.

Naquin, who was the Tribe's first-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, will join catcher Tony Wolters and second baseman Joe Wendle with the Surprise Saquaros. Class A (low) Lake County pitching coach Steve Karsay fill also fill the same role for the AFL's Surprise squad. Catcher Jake Lowery will suit up for the Peoria Javelinas.

The Indians have yet to announce the participating pitchers from their affiliates.

There will be plenty of eyes on Naquin during his first taste of the AFL.

"He had a great start to his career," said Indians assistant director of player development Carter Hawkins. "He really bought in to the process and has made adjustments to be successful at the upper levels. He's played hard all year and we feel like this is just a natural progression from [Double-A] Akron to see this competition.

"We feel like he'll be really successful out there and it can springboard him into next year."

Naquin, 22, has spent 119 games between Class A (high) Carolina and Double-A this season, hitting .273 with a .341 on-base percentage and a .419 slugging percentage. Entering Tuesday, the outfielder had 10 homers, 46 extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases, 48 RBIs and 76 runs on offense, and 11 assists from center field.

Wendle has hit .295 with 15 homers and 59 RBIs through 100 games for Class A Carolina, while Lowery has posted a .264 average with 31 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs through 78 games between Carolina and Akron. Wolters, who has hit .283 with 16 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 75 games at Carolina this year, is continuing a transition to catcher from the middle infield.

"The more we can get him back behind the dish, the better he's going to be," Hawkins said. "And the more he can be around older players, and guys that really know what it's like to play that position at the upper levels, the better it's going to be for him. We certainly think he can handle the competition."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.