Written By: Drake Mann
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**Right below is the Indians Top 20 list simplified. Scroll further down for FULL Present/Future Grades, FV, ETA, and summaries on EACH PLAYER ranked in the system! Tons of Statistics on each player as well! Some player highlights, future outlooks and more enjoy!**
|1||Nolan Jones||3B||2nd Round – 2016 Draft|
|2||George Valera||OF||International FA Signing 2017|
|3||Daniel Espino||RHP||1st Round: 24th Overall – 2019 Draft|
|4||Bo Naylor||C||1st Round: 29th Overall – 2018 Draft|
|5||Tyler Freeman||SS||2nd Round – 2017 Draft|
|6||Gabriel Arias||SS||Trade with Padres|
|7||Ethan Hankins||RHP||1st Round: 35th Overall – 2018 Draft|
|8||Triston McKenzie||RHP||1st Round: 42nd Overall – 2015 Draft|
|9||Joey Cantillo||LHP||Trade with Padres|
|10||Brayan Rocchio||SS||International FA Signing 2017|
|11||Aaron Bracho||2B||International FA Signing 2017|
|12||Owen Miller||2B||Trade with Padres|
|13||Carson Tucker||SS||1st Round: 23rd Overall – 2020 Draft|
|14||Tanner Burns||RHP||1st Round: 36th Overall – 2020 Draft|
|15||Lenny Torres||RHP||1st Round: 41st Overall – 2018 Draft|
|16||Gabriel Rodriguez||SS||International FA Signing 2018|
|17||Angel Martinez||OF||International FA Signing 2018|
|18||Emmanuel Clase||RHP||Trade with Rangers|
|19||Petey Halpin||OF||3rd Round – 2020 Draft|
|20||Logan Allen||LHP||2nd Round – 2020 Draft|
1. Nolan Jones -1B/3B – Akron RubberDucks (AA)
22 Years Old – Bat: L – Throw: R – Ht: 6’2 Wt: 185 – ETA: 2021
Jones was a second-round draft pick back in 2016 and all he’s done since then is hit. The most impressive part of his game is his high on-base abilities as he has a career .409 on-base percentage in 1,453 plate appearances. Jones has an open stance that allows him to hit the inside pitch well. He does have an amazing ability to spray the ball and has some legit power potential, especially to the opposite field as he hit there 42.1% of the time in 211 plate appearances at the Double-A level. While Jones was a heavy ground ball hitter earlier in his career he’s seen a steady increase of flyball contact. In 2019, Jones had a rather high 39.3% ground ball percentage but a promising 35.0% flyball percentage at the Double-A level. This will help unlock his 20-30 home run power in the end.
Defensively, Jones has plus arm strength but lacks proper range at third base to stick there long term. I think a corner outfield spot is in his future where his arm strength suffices for the lack of range. Jones still has plenty of swing and miss in his game and still needs some seasoning but if he continues to hit at the higher levels of the minors, the result could be an everyday starter for the Indians.
2. George Valera – OF – Lake Country Captains (A)
19 Years Old – Bat: L – Throws: L – 5’11” – 185 lbs – ETA: 2024
Valera was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017 for $1.3 million. Valera has all the makings of being an everyday regular for the Indians. At the moment, he is still raw and will need to grow into his frame as he’s 160lbs. While both his contact and power have the potential to be above average, his swing is flat at times and this produces mass amounts of groundballs. However, flyballs are a major part of his game and once he gains the necessary muscle his power will become more evident. He will take his walks but still struggles with recognizing off-speed. He is young, so the experience will help as he ages. The Indians have started to refine his stance to have less movement in the box. Overall, this will help him get his timing and make his contact tool blossom long term.
He’s an average fielder and may fit better in a corner outfield spot long term. This based on his overall speed and range in the outfield. This also helps because of his good arm strength that has a chance to get better as he matures. Overall, Valera will need a lot of time in the minors but his bat is advanced for his age and Indians fans should be excited for this young outfielder.
3. Daniel Espino – RHP – Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A-) – 19 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2″ – 205 lbs – ETA: 2024
Espino was among the top prep pitchers available in the 2019 draft. He dropped to 24th overall due to injury concerns. Espino has started his pro-career off on a good note pitching to a 3.80 ERA, xFIP of 3.24 and 34.7 K% in 23.2 innings. Espino has a fastball that touches 100 mph and is consistently in the mid-90’s. He also displays a curveball in the high-70’s and a slider in the high-80’s. He’s starting to throw his changeup more that will need plenty of refinement but still could become a solid pitch for Espino. While Espino has a power arm, his control remains his biggest fault.
There is injury risk with Espino as his arm motion is long and may cause arm issues. However, Espino’s stuff shouldn’t be overlooked and if he stays healthy, he has solid number two potential but his stuff would play better in the bullpen if health persists.
4. Bo Naylor – C – Lake Country Captains (A) – 20 Years Old – Bats: L – Throws: R – 6’0″ – 195 lbs – ETA: 2023
Naylor was drafted 29th overall in 2018, and Naylor is extremely advanced for his age. He is the younger brother of Indians outfielder Josh Naylor and looks to be a fixture in the Indians lineup. He started his pro career off hitting .274/.381/.402 with a 126 wRC+, only issue has been his rising strikeout rates in his first two seasons with his first season resulting in a 20.1 K% and 23.0 K% in his second. Naylor has a projectable frame at 6’0″ 195 lbs. He has a slightly open stance and keeps his hands inside the ball well, that results in a future plus contact tool. He’ll be a extra-base hit machine because of his gap to gap power. He even hit 10 triples in 2019.
He’s got plus arm strength but lacks arm accuracy and has become a good pitch framer even at his young age. Naylor is considered by many to be the purest hit tool and may even have the most upside in the system. The Indians have both the Naylor brothers in their system, and Bo could provide more value with his potentially lethal tool set.
5. Tyler Freeman – SS – Lynchburg Hillcats (A+) – 21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’0″ – 170 lbs – ETA: 2022
The Indians 2nd round pick in 2017, Freeman has established himself as a vital part of the Indians future. Freeman has some interesting hitting mechanics that include lower hands in his stance, and a double-toe tap that might need to be refined in the future to better his timing. So far, he’s hit for high average and a high on-base percentage. In his career, he’s hit .319/.379/.441 and while he’s only contributed seven home runs in three seasons, his projectable frame allows for some power potential. While he has excellent plate discipline he doesn’t walk as much as your normal on-base threat. Another thing to like about Freeman is his ability to put the ball in play, he has a microscopic 8.7 K% in 992 plate appearances.
Freeman has average arm strength but good range at shortstop but that arm strength might lead him to a spot at second base. Freeman has average speed but could become an all-around good baserunner just based on his aggressiveness. The Indians will continue to be aggressive with Freeman, if his contact tool continue to show plus potential we could see Freeman in Cleveland very soon.
6. Gabriel Arias SS- Lake Elsinore Storm(A+)
20 Years Old – Throws: R – Bats: R – 6’1” – 201lbs – ETA: 2022
Was a part of the Padres spending spree in the 2016/17 season. Arias is another player that’s coming off a breakout 2019 season. He had a 120 wRC+ and a .302/.339/.470 with 15 home runs and a .809 OPS. His defense outweighs his hitting but his hitting tools are starting to show on a consistent basis. Arias has two loads that are used in different counts in an at-bat. If he’s behind in the count, he relies more on a toe-tap that’ll help with contact but if he’s ahead or even in the count he has a leg-kick that provides most of his power. One fault with the bat is Arias has trouble recognizing off-speed and is out-in-front which develops weak contact. Defensively, Arias has a cannon from the shortstop position and shows some impressive range.
The big piece of the Mike Clevinger trade for the Indians, there’s plenty of risk here as the bat may never develop but the gold glove potential defense of Arias could make him the starting shortstop of the future. However, with other names such as Brayan Rocchio and Carson Tucker, Arias has some competition for the shortstop position in the future.
7. Ethan Hankins – RHP – Lake Country Captains (A) – 20 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’6″ – 200 lbs – ETA: 2022
Hankins was taken 35th overall in the 2018 draft, he has the best pitchability in the system and what I like about him is how much movement he creates on his pitches. Hankins throws from a three-quarter arm slot and uses his front half extremely well in his delivery. I do believe he needs to use his lower half more as that will take less stress off of his arm over longer outings. In terms of stuff, Hankins operates between 93-95 with his fastball that plays more like a sinker with its movement. His curveball is already plus and his changeup could end up being a plus pitch as well, but his slider he uses sparingly.
He showed his strikeout stuff in 2019, as he had a 28.6 K% across 60 innings. Another reason to like Hankins is his ability to deceive hitters with his different timed deliveries, and while his command is spotty the 20 year old should develop some decent command due to his athleticism and frame. Hankins is someone to watch in this system, the lost year of development shouldn’t effect the right hander that much but Hankins has all the tools to be a #2 starter for the Indians.
8. Triston McKenzie – RHP – Cleveland Indians (MLB) – 23 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’5″ – 165 lbs – ETA: 2020
No 2019 Stats – Injured
You might be asking to yourself, “why is McKenzie so far down on this list?” well-injuries and his frame are two of the bigger reasons. Plus, it seems that he has a velocity dip as he goes later innings into starts. McKenzie just has a lot of reliever risk to him. However, he started extremely well for the Indians as he had a 3.24 ERA (3.91 FIP) and a 33.1 K% in 33.1 innings pitched. He has a slight hesitation in his delivery and has good extension when throwing from a three-quarter arm slot. When healthy, McKenzie has a fastball that’s 92-95 MPH and touches 97, his best secondary offering is a mid-70’s curveball that projects to be plus. He also displays a slider in the mid-80’s, his changeup could have solid upside with more use as well.
McKenzie has had an up-and-down career to date but if he shows, what he did in 2020 long term, the Indians might have another good rotation piece to go with Bieber and Civale. It all depends if he can add muscle and stay healthy in the process.
9. Joey Cantillo LHP – Lake Elsinore Storm(A+) – 20 Years Old – Throws: L – Bats: L – 6’4” – 220lbs – ETA: 2022
Cantillo is one of my favorite pitching prospects ever since he was drafted in the 16th round in 2017. He broke out in a big way in 2019, he had a 1.93 ERA, 2.15 FIP and a 11.76 K/9 in 98 innings pitched for Single-A Fort Wayne before getting promoted to Lake Elsinore for another 13.2 innings where he had a 10.54 K/9 and a 4.61 ERA and a 4.98 FIP. Cantillo uses a deceptive delivery that includes throwing across his body and having a consistent three-quarter arm slot. His mechanics remind me of James Paxton quite a bit. His arsenal includes a fastball in the low 90’s that touches 94, a changeup that’s his best secondary offering with some late depth to it and a loopy curveball that’ll need some polishing for it to become a plus pitch. With the 2020 minor league season cancelled, this puts a dent in Cantillo’s progression but the Indians recognized the potential starter long term and made Cantillo one of the main parts of the Mike Clevinger trade.
I still think that Cantillo is among the most underrated pitching prospects in baseball and if he hits his potential he could be a solid number three for the Indians long term.
10. Brayan Rocchio – SS – Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A-) – 19 Years Old – Bats: S – Throws: R – 5’10” – 150 lbs – ETA: 2024
Rocchio is among my favorite prospects in this system. He was originally signed in 2017 for $125,000. He so far has been better than expected as he’s hit for a high average in 2018, hitting .335/.390/.442 in 269 plate appearances. The switch-hitting shortstop is projectable and has a more natural swing from the right side. His smooth swing and good discipline at the plate make him an advanced hitter at the plate for his age. He’s more of a contact hitter but will surprise with 10-15 home run power in the future thanks to his swing path that creates some loft. When completely matured he could be a top of the lineup force for the Indians with his on-base abilities and plus speed.
He might have a future at second base just because of arm strength but his quick hands and athleticism could keep him at short. In the end, after adding Arias to this already good infield depth, Rocchio will have some competition for the Indians starting shortstop job, but with how advanced the approach is for Rocchio, I see no problem with him reaching his ceiling as a starting shortstop for the Indians.
11. Aaron Bracho – 2B – Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A-) – 19 Years Old – Bats: S – Throws: R – 5’11” – 175 lbs – ETA: 2024
Bracho is another infielder with promising tools to be a starter for the Indians long term. The Indians signed Bracho for $1.5 million in 2017, and his first season resulted in a .296/.416/.593 slashline in Rookie Ball before getting a promotion to Single-A short season where he struggled to a .222/.344/.481 slashline and a 25.0 K% in 32 plate appearances. Bracho is quiet in the box and develops power with a double toe-tap. His quick and compact swing helps with his gap-to-gap power and pure hit abilities. His main trait is his abilities to take walks and get on-base. He’s another player with raw power that will become more evident when he adds weight and muscle.
Bracho is average in terms of speed and he has average range and arm strength making him a second baseman for the Indians. Bracho is just the second international infielder on this list and the combination of Rocchio and Bracho could reek major benefits for the Indians.
12. Owen Miller 2B – Amarillo Sod Poodles (AA) – 23 Years Old – Throws: R – Bats: R – 5’11” – 197lbs – ETA: 2021
Miller was drafted 84th overall in the 2018 draft, Miller has made it clear he has the purest bat in the Padres system. He continues to have excellent bat control making for more hits and also takes his fair share of walks as he has a .367 OBP in his minors career. He will be that high average, high on-base top of the order bat going forward. Continuing, his contact tool has continued to get better and while he does have some raw power I don’t think he hits more than 10 home runs in a season. In 2019, he had a 121 WRC+ and a .355 wOBA in 560 plate appearances at Double-A Amarillo, most of that came from his high extra base hit total as he had 28 doubles, two triples and 13 home runs. Miller has already showed an increase of ability to hit at each level of the minors, it won’t be long before we see him in Progressive Field producing on an everyday basis.
The Indians also got Miller in the Mike Clevinger trade and he could fill out the utility role with the Indians with his decent arm strength and instincts. Which could make Miller a valuable asset going forward.
13. Carson Tucker – SS – 2020 1st Round pick – 18 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2″ – 180 lbs – ETA: 2024
No Professional Stats
Brother of Pirates infielder Cole Tucker, Carson rose the ranks quickly in the 2020 draft. The Indians took Tucker 23rd overall in this years draft. The projectable and dynamic Tucker looks to be another young shortstop in this loaded Indians system. Tucker has a lot of moving parts in the box but has incredible bat speed and has a good feel for the barrel. This in turn, will help his potential plus contact tool. A slight tweak to his bat path could make his power come around as his swing does tend to be flat resulting in a lot of ground balls. When the swing change occurs we could see 15-20 home run power from Tucker.
He has plus speed and good arm strength to stick at shortstop long term, Once fully matured Tucker should hit for a high average and hit for some power, the Indians are going to be careful with Tucker to let him fully develop into the starter profile Tucker is projected to be.
14. Tanner Burns – RHP – 2020 1st Round Draft Pick – 21 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’0″ – 215 lbs – ETA: 2023
No Professional Stats.
One of my favorite arms from the 2020 draft, Burns has the potential to be a rotation piece for the Indians. Burns has fluid mechanics that he repeats well and throws from an overhand arm slot, he has a low effort delivery that projects him as starter throughout his career. Burns dominated at Auburn, pitching to a 2.86 ERA, 26.8 K%, and a 1.16 WHIP. His repertoire includes a fastball that touches 98 and is in the 93-95 MPH range with some late life too it. His best secondary option is his slider that’s equally affective against lefties and righties alike due to its late movement and slower velocity. He also displays a changeup that projects as an average pitch but still could become a solid pitch with some refining.
One reason Burns dropped this draft was he did have some shoulder issues due to his smaller frame. The big issue with Burns is the velocity dip he has when he gets later into games, and Burns could get more predictable as he relies on his slider too much as well at times. However, if everything clicks Burns is a lock to be a number three in any rotation, and the Indians might’ve walked away with one of the most underrated picks of the 2020 draft.
15. Lenny Torres – RHP – Did Not Play (Injury) – 20 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’1″ – 190 lbs – ETA: 2024
No 2019 Stats – Injured
Torres was drafted in 2018 and immediately made an impact pitching to a 1.76 ERA, 34.9 K% and a 1.17 WHIP in 15.1 innings. Torres has interesting mechanics that involve a high leg kick and throwing across his body. Torres throws from a three-quarter arm slot but also puts pressure on his elbow due to his arm placement in his delivery. Torres is 93-95 with his fastball and has a slider with good depth and shows flashes of being a plus offering, his changeup needs some work but even it could end up being a plus pitch for Torres.
Torres is athletic and will need some refinement to his delivery to help better his control. One thing to note, is Torres had Tommy John surgery in 2019, so it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses after surgery. Torres could have a future in the rotation but if he regresses after Tommy John, I could see him in a similar bullpen role to Carl Edwards Jr. when he was a staple in the Cubs bullpen.
16. Gabriel Rodriguez – 3B – AZL Indians (R) – 18 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2″ – 174 lbs – ETA: 2025
Another extremely young and talented shortstop that was signed by the Indians. He was signed for $2.1 million in 2018, and it has been a slow start for Rodriguez in his professional career as he hit .231/.321/.361 and a 106 wRC+ but Rodriguez was 17 at the time facing competition that was about two years older than Rodriguez. Rodriguez has a straight up stance with his hands high in his stance. When swinging he’ll slightly lower his hands to get to the inside pitch better. He’ll be more power than hit for the Indians especially if his plate discipline matures and gets better. One thing I’ve noticed is he has trouble recognizing off speed and is out-in-front on some of his swings, making for less hard hit contact.
He is an average runner and has plus arm strength making him a good chance to stick at shortstop but the Indians should welcome a move to third base, where his power bat profiles better. The Indians have many infield prospects that could be game changing for the Indians.
17. Angel Martinez – SS – DSL Indians (R) – 18 Years Old – Bats: S – Throws: R – 6’0″ – 165 lbs – ETA: 2025
Originally signed for $500,000 in 2018, Martinez in his first season hit .306/.402/.428 with one home run and a 134 wRC+ in 261 plate appearances. Martinez sprays the bell well and remains balanced at the plate. He still did enjoy his pull side as he hit there 43.6% of the time. Martinez has insane bat speed that helps him with constant barrels. There’s plenty of projection with Martinez and he’ll be a high contact and high speed player. He has some raw power that could translate well once he adds more muscle. His advanced approach and good discipline will help with his continued high on-base percentage.
His instincts, quick hands and arm strength make him a good fielder and being a gifted athlete makes him another option at shortstop for the Indians. He’s still very raw but his tools are insane and could end up having some of the best upside in the system.
18. Emmanuel Clase – RHP – Cleveland Indians (MLB) – 22 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2″ – 206 lbs – ETA: 2021
The inclusion of Clase here is simple, he’s just too nasty to pass up. Clase started his MLB career with a 2.31 ERA, 22.3 K%, and a 78.5 LOB% in 23.1 innings pitched. He was acquired by the Indians in the Corey Kluber trade and looks to be the Indians closer long term. Clase has a fast twitchy delivery that includes a nice downhill plane. However, his delivery does tend to be rushed and that’s when his control goes haywire. In terms of stuff, his cutter touches 102 and is consistently 97-99. He also displays a slider in the low 90’s. I believe he should add a third pitch like a changeup that plays well off of his fastball. This, in turn, would be another look for hitters at the plate.
There’s some risk with Clase as he has all the makings to become a relief ace but a big part to watch will be his return from his 80-game suspension and how that affects his performance for the Indians in 2021.
19. Petey Halpin – OF – 2020 3rd Round Pick – 18 Years Old – Bats: L – Throws: R – 6’0″ – 180 lbs – ETA: 2024
No Professional Stats
Halpin was drafted 95th overall in the 2020 draft. There’s some projection with Halpin to fit his frame and Halpin’s swing creates loft that gives him constant flyball rates, which could translate to some easy power in the future. His advanced bat-to-ball skills makes him have a feel for consistent barrels and high exit velocities. While he creates torque with his hips he doesn’t use his lower half as well, that will help with his power stroke in the short term.
Defensively, Halpin can play all three outfield positions and continues to have above average arm strength and his speed enables him to have good range in the outfield. If everything clicks for Halpin, his power speed combo will play well in Progressive Field and he could eventually start for the Indians long term.
20. Logan Allen – LHP – 2020 2nd Round Pick – 22 Years Old – Bats: R – Throws: L – 6’0″ – 180 lbs – ETA: 2023
No Professional Stats.
No. not that Logan Allen…
Logan Allen that was the Indians 2nd round pick in the 2020 draft. While this Logan Allen is left-handed as well, he has some good upside. Allen’s pitchability remains his best trait that could let him advance through the minors quickly. Allen throws from a three-quarter arm slot and hides the ball well. He’s not a power pitcher by any means, but the deception he creates is what makes him so hard to hit. His fastball sits in the low 90’s with late-life to it. His best secondary offering is a changeup with a lot of late sink to it. Allen also displays a curveball that’s loopy but could still turn out to be a solid pitch.
He commands both sides of the plate well and gets good extension on his pitches making his stuff play up. Allen has the potential to be a back end of the rotation piece for the Indians it’ll all depend if he can continue his advanced pitchability moving on.
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