Cleveland Indians 2020 Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
STATE OF THE SYSTEM
The strength of the Indians’ system is in its lower levels, where the likes of 2B Aaron Bracho, RHP Daniel Espino, RHP Ethan Hankins, C Bo Naylor, SS Brayan Rocchio and OF George Valera make for a formidable core. It will still be some time before that wave reaches Cleveland, but it could soon give the organization a top-five farm system. Coming ahead of them are top prospects 3B Nolan Jones and SS Tyler Freeman, as well as a bevy of promising pitchers who are even more intriguing after the organization graduated Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac in quick succession. Overall, it’s a solid system, though its biggest impact likely won’t be felt for a few more years.
1. Nolan Jones, 3B
Jones has an easy lefthanded swing, a patient approach and plus raw power. His time in the big leagues is fast approaching and he’s in the team’s 60-man pool, though his ETA is probably still a year away.
2. Tyler Freeman, SS
Freeman stands out most for his hittability and excellent feel for the barrel. Those attributes have helped him move quickly in the minor leagues, and the 21-year-old is a part of the team’s 60-man pool.
3. Bo Naylor, C
Naylor has standout offensive tools and his defense has been a pleasant surprise. The precocious 20-year-old is a part of the team’s 60-man pool, though he has yet to advance past low Class A.
4. George Valera, OF
Valera’s advanced offensive skill set has allowed the Indians to move him aggressively in the minor leagues and the 19-year-old was included in their 60-man pool despite limited experience in full-season ball. He’s still got a way to go but fits the corner-outfield profile well.
5. Brayan Rocchio, SS
Travel restrictions from Venezuela have prevented Rocchio from returning to Cleveland to join the Indians’ 60-man pool. It’s the first time anything has been able to hold back the 19-year-old in pro ball, as his advanced approach has helped him move quickly in the minor leagues and earned him the nickname “The Professor.”
6. Daniel Espino, RHP
Espino was one of the best prep pitchers in the 2019 draft class and after signing he quickly showed why in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Now, the 19-year-old is a part of the Indians’ 60-man pool in his first full professional season.
7. Triston McKenzie, RHP
After a lost season in 2019 due to an upper back injury he couldn’t shake, McKenzie is back in action in 2020 and trying to get back on the track that had previously made him the Indians’ No. 1 prospect. He’s a part of the team’s 60-man pool and a big league debut in 2020 isn’t out of the question.
8. Ethan Hankins, RHP
Hankins has considerable upside thanks to his powerful arsenal and 6-foot-6 frame. He’s a part of the team’s 60-man pool, but the 20-year-old is still a long way from Cleveland after just reaching low Class A at the end of the 2019 season.
9. Aaron Bracho, 2B
A switch-hitter, Bracho has a smooth, compact swing and more power than his 5-foot-11 frame suggests. The 19-year-old is a part of the Indians’ 60-man pool, but like fellow teenagers Valera and Espino, he still needs plenty of development before he reaches the big leagues.
10. Gabriel Rodriguez, SS
Rodriguez, a 2018 international signee, made an impressive professional debut in 2019. At 18 years old, he didn’t make the Indians’ 60-man pool, but already stands out for his consistency and all-around tools.
11. Carson Tucker, SS
12. Logan Allen, LHP
13. Bobby Bradley, 1B
14. Scott Moss, LHP
15. Tanner Burns, RHP
16. Carlos Vargas, RHP
17. Logan T. Allen, LHP
18. James Karinchak, RHP
19. Emmanuel Clase, RHP
20. Sam Hentges, LHP
21. Luis Oviedo, RHP
22. Yordys Valdes, SS
23. Angel Martinez, SS
24. Ernie Clement, SS
25. Yu Chang, 3B/SS
26. Daniel Johnson, OF
27. Lenny Torres, RHP
28. Will Benson, OF
29. Jose Pastrano, SS
30. Jose Tena, SS/2B
The system is strongest in the lower levels—the top 10 in the 2020 Prospect Handbook (which remains unchanged in this update) was one of the youngest ever. Shortstop is a big area of strength for the system as well. Ten of the top 30 play shortstop, and even more shortstops are in the next group of players just off the list. There’s also a fair amount of depth on the mound, an area the organization has proven adept at developing.
The outfield is one of the weaker position groups in the system. George Valera is a potential star and Daniel Johnson may help this season, but it gets a bit sparse beyond that duo and 2016 first-rounder Will Benson.
PLAYER POOL TIDBITS
Eleven of the Indians’ top 15 prospects are in the 60-man pool. The four missing are Brayan Rocchio (5), Gabriel Rodriguez (10), Carson Tucker (11) and Tanner Burns (15). Tucker was the team’s first-round pick, but for the 18-year-old not to be included is hardly surprising, given how cautiously the team is with its prep first-rounders. While Rodriguez isn’t a newly drafted player, like Tucker he is just 18 and his absence is to be expected. Burns, meanwhile, didn’t sign until mid-July and Rocchio is dealing with travel restrictions from his native Venezuela. Otherwise, despite having one of the youngest Top 10s in Prospect Handbook history, the Indians brought the whole group to summer camp.
RHP Lenny Torres missed last season due to Tommy John surgery but is healthy now and working out in Arizona.