Cleveland Indians Top Prospects

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The Cleveland Indians won 102 games in 2017, but their future is only getting brighter. We now present our Indians’ top prospects list.

NamePositionGradeETARiskNotes
1Francisco MejiaCA2018Relatively LowIt’s hard not to like Mejia, as he has an elite arm, a plus hit tool and solid power and speed for a catcher. Furthermore, he is a switch-hitter which improves his stock even more. He probably doesn’t start 2018 in Cleveland, however a midsummer call-up seems likelier, and he could stick. He’s still just 22, so expect some growing pains early on, but there is a lot to love here.
2Triston McKenzieRHPA-2019MediumHow McKenzie fell to 42nd overall, is a complete mystery. McKenzie is as polished and durable as you could hope for in a high-school draft pick with scouting grades of 60 for both his fastball and curveball, and 55 for his changeup and control. We’re looking at an ace here. The overall profile reminds me a little bit of Cliff Lee.
3Nolan Jones3BB+/B2020MediumThe arm is unbelievable, and helps his third base profile. There is some power, however it’s not necessarily abundant, however he is definitely going to hit for average with good on-base numbers. Overall, he looks like a No. 6 hitter who can slash a healthy .280/.370/.420 line with about 5-10 bombs a season.
4Julian MerryweatherRHPB/B+2018LowLet me begin by saying Merryweather could be a very solid mid-rotation starter. That being said, the Indians are loaded in the rotation, while having some obvious holes in the bullpen. Furthermore, Merryweather is already 26, but about as safe as an option as you could hope for. Indians fans, this could be your replacement for Shaw.
5Bobby Bradley1BB2018Relatively LowBradley has no doubt power, however his hit tool is below average, he strikes out a lot and he has absolutely no speed. Bradley looks like a No. 7 hitter, Mark Trumbo type. who you can rely on for about 25-30 home runs a season, albeit with a low average and a low on base percentage.
6Conner CapelOFB2020Extremely HighCapel has the potential to be a generational player. We’re looking at a guy with 30 home run potential, 40 stolen base potential and a plus glove and arm in center. The only issue is, he hit .246/.316 in Class A with a 108/43 K/BB ratio. It is impossible to predict what he becomes, but don’t take your eyes off of him. If he starts making more contact, he’s an MVP candidate.
T-7Aaron CivaleRHPB2019Relatively LowCivale looks to me like a very solid No. 3. He’s not the guy who’s going to make opposing fans and players quiver in their boots, however he’s the type of guy who gives his team a shot to win every time he’s on the mound. Overall, he looks like a 3.90-4.20 ERA guy who can go 190-200 innings. One thing to note, but he’s the Indians’ No.3 given their depth.
T-7Shane BieberRHPB2019Relatively LowCivale and Bieber are very, very similar pitchers. The biggest difference is that Civale has a plus fastball, but a only one true secondary, whereas Bieber is average across the board. Both guys, however are control artists. Once again, he’s co-rated. This is not being lazy- this is just insanely similar profiles
T-9Yu-Cheng ChangSSB2018MediumThis profile reminds me a lot of Freddy Galvis. The glove is amazing and there is no doubt pop in the bat, but the question is whether or not he will be able to hit for any average in the major leagues.
T-9Willi CastroSSB2019MediumWilli Castro as a starter who can quietly club 15 homers and 20 stolen bases, with a very strong glove, but post a .250 batting average with a .290 on base percentage. He looks like another Freddy Galvis type. The question will be, which one of Chang or Castro will turn out better.”}”>Castro as a starter who can quietly club 15 homers and 20 stolen bases, with a very strong glove, but post a .250 batting average with a .290 on base percentage. He looks like another Freddy Galvis type. The question will be, which one of Chang or Castro will turn out better.
11Ernie Clement2BB-/C+2019MediumClement was a personal favorite in this draft. He looked like a 2nd or 3rd round selection between 70-90 based on his glove, hit tool, speed and pitch selection, in terms of not striking out. He looks like Juan Pierre offensively. His lack of power will certainly have him at the bottom of the line-up, but there’s no reason that he can’t be a 3.0 WAR per year player over a 10+ year career.
12Greg AllenOFB-/C+2018LowAllen looks a lot like Rajai Davis. He has plus speed, a solid enough hit tool and a great glove, however the power is pretty much non-existent. Allen is a perennial .250/.320/.380 line with 30 stolen bases.
13Rob KaminskyLHPC+/B-late-2018MediumThis kid misses one season due to injury and he falls off of almost every list despite the fact that over the past three seasons, he has posted 1.88, 2.24 and 3.28 ERAs while having opponents hit just .194/.239/.241. Obviously you want to be careful with a guy who has durability issues, but he could work as a late-inning reliever.
14Will BensonOFB-/C+2021Extremely HighBenson has all of the tools to be a plus center fielder who could be an all-star. The ceiling is extremely high, however he’s a huge risk given the fact that his hit tool is a bit below average and he hasn’t found a ton of success thus far in his career. He’s still young, but if he doesn’t want to be dismissed as another Domonic Brown, he’s going to need to begin making more consistent contact.
15Ryan MerrittLHPC+2018LowHis profile is that of a swing-man. On the current Indians’ roster, that is true, however, there isn’t room for him in Cleveland right now which could make him a waiver claim. Merritt, however, would be like when the Athletics claimed Danny Valencia off of waivers from the Blue Jays. They know that they are getting a more than capable major leaguer who was just the victim of a roster crunch. Expect him to be the No. 3 or No. 4 in some team’s starting rotation come opening day 2019.
16Shawn MorimandoLHPC+2018LowMorimando screamsVidal Nuno and not the Nuno who posted a 10+ ERA in Baltimore, (I still think there was a hidden injury that we didn’t know about), but the real Vidal Nuno who was consistent in finding some success as a lefty swing.
17Mike PapiOFC+2018Relatively LowPapi is more slept on than a pillow. Offensively, he strikes me as a Carlos Ruiz type bat who can hit .270/.380/.425 with 8-10 homers and plenty of doubles. Furthermore he has a great arm.
18James KarinchakRHPC+2019Relatively HighThe Tribe Brass need to stop messing around and move Karinchak to the bullpen full time. Karinchak, like Clement was among my favorites going into the draft- but the control and durability have always been red flags.
19Quentin HolmesOFC+2022Extremely HighThe bust potential here is very real. While just 18 years old with game-changing speed, he hit just .182/.220/.289 in the AZL with a 61/8 K/BB ratio. That line in the low minor leagues is exceptionally troubling.
T-20George ValeraOFC+2023Extremely HighYou can’t predict this. He has the ceiling of a very solid lead-off hitter, however he’s 16 years old, or what would be considered a first semester high school junior. Let me see how he plays in affiliated ball before placing a final verdict.
T-20Aaron BrachoSSC+2023Extremely HighAgain, see Valera.
22Logan IceCC+/C2019MediumIce will make it to the major leagues. His glove is very strong and the power also helps his case. What will limit his ceiling, however, is his hit tool. Ice will be a very solid offensive minded back-up with a good glove who you would feel comfortable with him filling in for an injured starter or as a placeholder on a rebuilding team, however he’s only going to hit .220/.290/.400.
23Eric StametsSSC/C+2018MediumStamets probably won’t be able to ever secure himself a guarantee of more than double the league minimum, however as a journeyman utility option who see’s about 90-100 games every year at a prorated $1.25 million salary for eight different teams in eight different seasons, he might be your guy. He has a good mix of speed and power and his glove is pretty decent in the infield. You could do A LOT worse.
24Tyler FreemanSSC/C+2021MediumFreeman doesn’t have many tools. He’s pretty much average across the board with his lack of power being balanced out by his plus speed, but for a utility infielder, that is plenty valuable. Despite the fact that he’s younger than a high school graduate, we should be willing to bet that he could be a very solid utility infielder.
25Dorssys PaulinoOFC/C+2018MediumPaulino has been as hot and cold of a prospect as you can find. One year he’s hitting .300, and then hits .250 at the same level the next year. One thing to note, however is that he will play the entire season at 23 years old and seems likely to be given a shot. don’t hang your hat on him, but as a part-time player, he’s solid.
26Oscar GonzalezOFC/C+2021HighWatching Oscar Gonzalez, is like watching Delmon Young‘s younger brother. He’s a guy who you can get away with putting in the No. 8 or No. 9 hole in the line-up who will hit .260/.290/.425 with 15 home runs and an absolutely elite arm in the corner outfield spots. That being said, he is still 19 years old. He carries a ton of risk needs to play above Low-A ball to be judged.
27Marco GonzalezSSC/C+2022Extremely High215 at-bats from an 18-year-old in the Dominican Summer League is a bit difficult to judge, however the plate discipline is exciting and the speed make him look like a potential lead-off guy. Obviously, however, he’s a ways away before we can accurately gauge where he’s at.
28Nellie Rodriguez1BC2018HighRodriguez looks like a poor man’s Chris Carter, who was the 2016 National League Homer Run king, but he barely found a home for the start of the 2017 season, but he was cut and on another team, struggling in the minors by the end of the year. They are similar profiles and Rodriguez would be an acceptable option for a rebuilding team.
29Leandro LinaresRHPC2018LowLinares will have a major league career in some capacity. While he may not be a closer, or even a consistent setup man, Pedro Beato has gotten contracts every single year since his debut and has made a career as an emergency call-up reliever. Linares will do the same.
31Tyler Krieger2BC2018LowKrieger can hit about 7-10 home runs and steal about 7-10 bases, but he isn’t going to hit for much, if any average and his defense won’t make him a standout. Krieger looks like a guy who is up and down until he runs out of minor league options and then becomes a journeyman who receives about 100 PA’s a year on minor league deals like a Pedro Florimon.
32Jonathan RodriguezOFC2022Extremely HighIt would be unfair to judge Rodriguez based on his results. He’s 18 years old and is still at least five years away from the majors. However, he doesn’t look like more than an emergency call-up outfielder similar to a Todd Cunningham (ceiling).
33Luke WakamatsuSSC2020HighHis glove and speed could very well get him a chance in the infield, but he looks like another Jayson NixMichael Martinez type player. He has struggled in Class A Advanced to post even average OPS and his defense isn’t good enough to make up for it.
34Mike RiveraCC2020HighThe glove is certainly there, but there is absolutely nothing in the bat. Personally, advancing past High-A is uncertain.
35Juan HillmanLHPC2020Extremely HighJuan Hillman is the stereotypical “MLB.com only ranks me so high because of his draft status”. Hillman posted a 6.08 ERA over 137.2 innings in Class A. Its hard to see how a fastball that averaged 89-92 and wore down as the season went on translates to a 55 rating. “}”>Juan Hillman is the stereotypical “MLB.com only ranks me so high because of his draft status.” Hillman posted a 6.08 ERA over 137.2 innings in Class A. Its hard to see how a fastball that averaged 89-92 mph and wore down as the season went on translates to a 55 rating.
36Brady AikenLHPC2019MediumAiken walked 12 more players than he struck out over 132 innings pitched in Class-A ball last year. If it wasn’t for his first round draft status, he would have been released years ago. At the very most, Aiken looks to me like an emergency call-up LOOGY, but even that seems like a stretch.
37Mark Mathias2BC2018MediumMathias seems like another Michael Martinez type who will keep getting cameos due to his glove, but will never hit enough to remain in the league.
38Drew MaggiINFC2018LowMaggi is pretty much just a Triple-A depth guy. He has versatility and might make it up as a call-up upon injury, but don’t expect much

 

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  1. Mike B

    You list skipped #30. Was that an oversight & others after should move up 1 spot OR was a name omitted in error. Thanks in advance…

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