Tyler Freeman Just Keeps Hitting
Third baseman Nolan Jones hit his way to high Class A Lynchburg in 2018 after finishing last season in the short-season New York-Penn League.
The 2016 second-round pick out of high school in Philadelphia the year at low Class A Lake County and hit .279/.393/464 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs in 90 games.
That earned the 20-year-old lefthanded hitter a promotion to the Carolina League, where he continued to hit. In 30 games he hit .298 (31-for-104) with three homers.
Defensively at third base, Jones has a strong arm and has worked with infield instructor Travis Fryman to make great strides with his glove work.
Righthander Triston McKenzie got off to a late start in 2018 because of an injury. But once he returned to the mound, the 21-year-old confirmed his status as the Indians’ top pitching prospect. He might be the system's top prospect overall following the midseason trade of catcher Francisco Mejia to the Padres.
A forearm strain delayed McKenzie’s 2018 debut at Double-A Akron until June 7. He came out strong in that game, pitching five scoreless innings on one hit, and he pitched at or near that level in each successive start.
Through 16 starts he went 7-4, 2.68 while striking out 87 in 90.2 innings while allowing just 63 hits.
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KEEP AN EYE ON
Shortstop Tyler Freeman has had no trouble transitioning his hit tool to pro ball. At short-season Mahoning Valley this season, the 2017 supplemental second-rounder out of high school in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has been one of the New York-Penn League's top performers.
In 72 games, the 19-year-old Freeman hit .352/.405/.511 with two home runs and 14 stolen bases. He led the NYPL in average, hits (95) and doubles (29).
"Tyler had made a smooth transition from high school to pro ball,” Indians farm director James Harris said. "He has a mature approach to the game and has adapted to pro pitching very quickly. He gives competitive at-bats and is a leader defensively. There is a lot to like about this young man.”