Cleveland Indians Top Prospects

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

Name Position Grade ETA Risk Notes
1 Francisco Mejia C A 2018 Relatively Low It’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.
2 Triston McKenzie RHP A- 2019 Medium How 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.
3 Nolan Jones 3B B+/B 2020 Medium The 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.
4 Julian Merryweather RHP B/B+ 2018 Low Let 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.
5 Bobby Bradley 1B B 2018 Relatively Low Bradley 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.
6 Conner Capel OF B 2020 Extremely High Capel 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-7 Aaron Civale RHP B 2019 Relatively Low Civale 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-7 Shane Bieber RHP B 2019 Relatively Low Civale 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-9 Yu-Cheng Chang SS B 2018 Medium This 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-9 Willi Castro SS B 2019 Medium Willi 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.
11 Ernie Clement 2B B-/C+ 2019 Medium Clement 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.
12 Greg Allen OF B-/C+ 2018 Low Allen 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.
13 Rob Kaminsky LHP C+/B- late-2018 Medium This 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.
14 Will Benson OF B-/C+ 2021 Extremely High Benson 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.
15 Ryan Merritt LHP C+ 2018 Low His 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.
16 Shawn Morimando LHP C+ 2018 Low Morimando 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.
17 Mike Papi OF C+ 2018 Relatively Low Papi 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.
18 James Karinchak RHP C+ 2019 Relatively High The 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.
19 Quentin Holmes OF C+ 2022 Extremely High The 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-20 George Valera OF C+ 2023 Extremely High You 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-20 Aaron Bracho SS C+ 2023 Extremely High Again, see Valera.
22 Logan Ice C C+/C 2019 Medium Ice 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.
23 Eric Stamets SS C/C+ 2018 Medium Stamets 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.
24 Tyler Freeman SS C/C+ 2021 Medium Freeman 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.
25 Dorssys Paulino OF C/C+ 2018 Medium Paulino 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.
26 Oscar Gonzalez OF C/C+ 2021 High Watching 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.
27 Marco Gonzalez SS C/C+ 2022 Extremely High 215 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.
28 Nellie Rodriguez 1B C 2018 High Rodriguez 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.
29 Leandro Linares RHP C 2018 Low Linares 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.
31 Tyler Krieger 2B C 2018 Low Krieger 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.
32 Jonathan Rodriguez OF C 2022 Extremely High It 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).
33 Luke Wakamatsu SS C 2020 High His 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.
34 Mike Rivera C C 2020 High The glove is certainly there, but there is absolutely nothing in the bat. Personally, advancing past High-A is uncertain.
35 Juan Hillman LHP C 2020 Extremely High Juan Hillman is the stereotypical “ 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 “ 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.
36 Brady Aiken LHP C 2019 Medium Aiken 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.
37 Mark Mathias 2B C 2018 Medium Mathias 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.
38 Drew Maggi INF C 2018 Low Maggi 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


One Response

  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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