20. Yandy Diaz– Third Base
Date of Birth: 8/8/1991
Acquired: Signed as international free agent on 9/23/2013
The Indians had their third baseman of the future join Francisco Lindor on the right side of the infield this year. Urshela’s main calling card is his defense, which saved his WAR from being negative last season. Yandy is the opposite, he doesn’t have much more than average power, but he can hit very well. He probably won’t be a super star, but he could be a solid offensive third baseman that starts for a team with a weakness there, or a good backup infielder. If Urshela falters next season, Diaz could get a shot and maybe platoon there. He’s a C prospect with a great chance of hitting his ceiling.
19. Erik Gonzalez Shortstop
Date of Birth: 8/31/1991
Acquired: Signed as international free agent on 8/26/2008
Gonzalez is stuck behind Francisco Lindor, so he could be trade bait at the deadline. That’s about the time when he should be a major league ready prospect. His biggest calling card is his glove, but he did hit very well in Double-A last year before struggling in Triple-A. He could be an average hitter with below average pop if he reaches that. I’m not as high on Gonzalez because I’ve seen many all-glove, close-to-no-bat prospects fail. Gonzalez plays the right position to succeed with that skill set as a backup utility infielder though, and the bat could always break out a little more. He’s still a lower C grade prospect.
18. Nellie Rodriguez– First Base
Date of Birth: 6/12/1994
Acquired: Drafted in the 15th round (473rd overall) of the 2012 draft
We go from the all glove shortstop stereotypical prospect, to the power hitting first base stereotypical prospect. Rodriguez has the virtue of not having stone hands though, which helps tremendously. He is an average hitter. Rodriguez’s power is going to be the thing that carries him to the majors if he makes it there. Rodriguez could arrive in the majors as soon as 2017, but if the Indians let him develop he has a chance of evolving into a better hitter. He’s a C grade prospect. Rodriguez not only has good game power, that led the Midwest League in 2014, he has a chance to get a ton of walks and doubles.
17. Luke Wakamatsu– Shortstop
Date of Birth: 10/10/1996
Acquired: Drafted in the 20th round (604th overall) of the 2015 draft
Wakamatsu was a highly ranked high school prospect that fell in the draft because many projected him to go to college. He instead signed on, and the Indians got a really good young talent in the 20th round of the draft. His skills are very raw, but each one has a chance to be above average and he’s a switch hitting infielder, which only helps. The Indians would be smart to start him at third base right now since they have a ton of shortstop prospects who are already stuck behind Lindor, who isn’t going anywhere for a long time. He could be a good third baseman who reaches the majors in three or four years. He is a high upside C graded prospect.
16. Tyler Krieger – Shortstop
Date of Birth: 1/16/1994
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round (124th overall) of the 2015 draft
He’s a good hitting middle infielder that can handle shortstop, which is a major plus when looking at prospects. The downside to Krieger is that he’s been injured a lot and will take his first pro at-bat at age 23, which puts him behind schedule. If he can hit and develop quickly then he can move up these rankings a bit, as he’s one of the better batters in the system. The uncertainty of everything is what hurts his value right now, but he’s definitely a talented player. He could reach the majors by 2018 if all goes according to plan, and he’s a C grade prospect with a good chance at improving.