The Cleveland Baseball Team 2021 Top 50 Fantasy Prospects

Cleveland remains one of the most stacked farm systems in baseball

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

The Cleveland Baseball Team is one of the best farm systems in baseball. The talent that they have been able to tease out of their international signees and MLB Draft picks is absolutely mind-blowing. One of the reasons that Cleveland can justify (even if they should hang on to some of their stars a bit longer) trading away players like Clevinger, Kluber, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, and, coming soon, Jose Ramirez, is due to their ability to consistently get the most out of their farmhands. Pitchers like Civale, Plesac, and Bieber were not highly touted prospects when they were coming up through the system, but Cleveland has turned them all into viable major league starters, with Bieber shining brightly as the crown jewel of the development department.

When you look up and down the list you will notice a plethora of contact-oriented middle infielders signed from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. One need only look at the development of Jose Ramirez to see what the possibilities can be for players like Angel Martinez, Brayan Rocchio, and Jose Tena. Jose Ramirez hit a grand total of 13 minor league home runs in 334 games before becoming one of the most potent power/speed threats in fantasy baseball. You simply can’t give up on any hitter or pitcher in this system until they are fully cooked.

Cleveland fans are definitely hurting after the loss of Francisco Lindor this offseason, but there is more help on the way, and it will start arriving this year in the form of Nolan Jones and (potentially) Tyler Freeman. The prospects they got in return for Lindor and Carrasco all possess traits that Cleveland has been able to maximize in the past. It’s awful to see a beloved home-grown player get traded to a big market club when your owner is a billionaire, but it is still a great time to be a Cleveland Baseball Team fan.

 

1. Nolan Jones – 1B/3B

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: AA

Nolan Jones is one of the most interesting hitting profiles in the minor leagues. He has both an incredible amount of patience and an incredible amount of power. In 77 games at High-A in 2019, Jones turned in a walk rate of 20.1%. Jones also makes a ton of hard contact and isn’t reliant on pulling the ball to get to his power. Simply put, Jones is going to be an OBP league monster in the very near future with a stat line that could very easily look like seasons we have seen out of Rhys Hoskins.

Jones will need to start hitting the ball in the air more often than he does now (29-35% currently in the minor leagues) in order to reach that type of ceiling, so keep an eye on his FB% in 2021. Cleveland has worked him out at 3B, 1B, and in the outfield in preparation for his arrival on the Cuyahoga River this summer. The trick for Jones will be to find the happy place between aggression and patience at the plate. There are concerns that Jones is actually too patient and won’t be able to maximize his skill set without pushing down the throttle a bit more, so finding the balance will be key.

With Jose Ramirez still manning 3rd for Cleveland this season, Jones will have to break through Jake Bauers at 1st or work his way into the outfield depth chart. Cleveland is currently working with Josh Naylor and Daniel Johnson at the corner outfield positions, so the opportunity for Jones to assert himself should be there in 2021. Something unique that Jones brings to the table is a skill set that offers fantasy managers a predictable stat line. That type of predictability should present fantasy managers with the opportunity to plan out their lineups and rosters much easier than with some other prospects (see: Oneil Cruz). The floor for Jones is a three-true-outcome type of player who struggles against left-handed pitching, but his ability to control the strike zone should allow him to ward off being a platoon player.

ETA: 2021

 

2. Tyler Freeman – SS

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: High-A

I have been a big fan of Tyler Freeman for several seasons. He represents a prospect narrative that I have come to look for again and again when drafting teams and managing dynasty rosters. The lesson that Freeman should teach us all is this: it is easier for players with incredible contact abilities to grow into or develop power than it is for power-over-hit players to develop contact skills. Freeman has always been able to put the ball in play and tally up a healthy amount of doubles in his minor league career. His contact percentage has always been fantastic. The new development from the 2020 alternate site is his over-the-fence power.

Before this development, Freeman was a David Fletcher with more steals type of hitter. A player who can hit .300 and swipe you 15+ bags in a full major league season would certainly have some fantasy value, but a zero in the HR column is a hard pill to swallow. We will all have a better understanding of Freeman’s newfound power potential when we can see him in games again. This ranking is based on the assumption that Freeman could offer 10-15 home runs at the major league level. Freeman’s prospect stock will get a massive influx of helium if he has indeed turned himself into a potential .300/15/20 player. If I had a “Top 10 Minor League Players To Watch in 2021” list, Freeman would absolutely be on it.

ETA: 2022

 

3. Brayan Rocchio – SS

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: Low-A

Ok, I will admit it: Brayan Rocchio is one of my prospect obsessions. He is a little (5’10 & 150lbs) switch-hitting twitchy middle infielder with above-average defense. His swing is nearly identical from both sides of the plate and his ability to put the barrel on the ball is well established. The obsession started when I heard of a home run he hit as an 18-year-old that went 420+ feet. That type of stuff is rare for a kid who is playing against much older competition. Rocchio absolutely crushed the Arizona League in 2018 to the tune of .343/.389/.448 and backed it up in 2019 as a member of the NY-Penn League.

What I see in Rocchio is the chance to become a version of what Cleveland had in Lindor. It would be aggressive (and irresponsible) to saddle him with that expectation at this point, but his body should be able to add some good weight and unlock more power going forward. Rocchio was unable to get out of Venezuela and into the alternate site due to the pandemic, something which would have likely boosted his prospect value (much like it did with Freeman) heading in 2021. The time to buy is now. A “normal” minor league season in 2021 could easily out Rocchio as another .300/15/20 hitter coming out of the Cleveland Middle Infield Factory and absolutely ballon his value.

ETA: 2023

 

4. Bo Naylor – C

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A-Ball

Bo Naylor is an athletic catcher who has shown the ability to get the very most out of his skills so far in his minor league career. Naylor has so far been able to command the strike zone well and put a lot of hard contact on the baseball. In just 107 Midwestern League games, Naylor tallied up 18 doubles, 11 triples, and 10 home runs. In 2019, his hard-hit rate was 30.8% with a medium-hit rate of 55.1%. Add all those extra-base hits to his 9.5 BB% and the ability to stick behind the plate and you have yourself a top-3 fantasy catcher in the making.

Reports of his work ethic and makeup are sky-high, attributes that are essential for developing into a legitimate major league catcher. Naylor spent time at the alternate site in 2020, giving us prospectors a good indication of how the organization views his future role at the club. Naylor should head to High-A or even Double-A to start the 2021 season and get a good opportunity to show off his power and baseball IQ, solidifying his prospect stock for the future.

ETA: 2023

 

5. George Valera – OF

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A-Ball

There are prospects with high floors and there are prospects with high ceilings. George Valera is most certainly a ceiling prospect. His swing and ability to put a charge into the ball remind a lot of evaluators of Robinson Cano. That said, his approach at the plate is very raw and the results so far have involved a lot of whiffs. If everything breaks right for Valera, he is a potential star. Cleveland brought him to the alternate site to give him a chance to work on his approach against some more advanced competition, ideally giving him a better foundation at the plate for 2021 and beyond.

The stats so far will look somewhat pedestrian, but it is important to note that Valera was nearly three years younger than his competition in the NY-Penn league and more than held his own with a .236/.356/.446 triple slash and 8 home runs. Valera has a higher ceiling than most of the players listed above him, but the risk that comes along with his profile keeps me from listing him any higher than #5 at the moment.

ETA: 2023

 

6. Triston McKenzie – RHP

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB

Sticks! After a full year lost to injury in 2019, Triston Mckenzie burst back onto the scene and into our hearts in 2020 with some incredible pitching performances for Cleveland. In his first professional game since 2018, McKenzie tossed a 6-inning, 10-strikeout gem against an impotent Detroit lineup. At 6’5″ and only 160 pounds, Sticks (what a nickname) has really struggled to keep his body healthy as he has developed his arsenal. While the overall stat line in 2020 looks very promising, the worries over his ability to maintain his fastball velocity with a larger workload are well-founded. McKenzie lost velocity on his fastball in every subsequent game he started in 2020 (94.6 to 90.2). If he can’t show the ability to maintain his velocity as a starter and remain healthy, he could be turned into a 3-inning opener or multiple-inning reliever. McKenzie is currently listed as the 4th starter for Cleveland and should be allowed to work out his durability issues on the mound in 2021, for better or for worse.

ETA: Arrived

 

7. Daniel Espino – RHP

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: Low-A

Daniel Espino is one of the most highly-touted prep arms in minor league baseball currently. With a fastball that can touch 99 and a slider that grades out as a plus pitch already, Espino is a potential SP2 who could sneak into (warning: prospect analyst third-rail incoming) SP1 territory if he keeps progressing his secondaries. While there is still a ways to go in his development, he is a plus athlete with incredible flexibility who has performed well so far in his minor league career. Cleveland had him at the alternate site in 2020 in order to work on his developing curveball and changeup, two pitches that lag behind his other two offerings at the moment but can flash plus at times. If his arm holds out with more of a workload and he can add another above-average pitch to his offerings there is serious potential here.

ETA: 2023

 

8. Aaron Bracho – 2B

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Low-A

Signed out of Venezuela for 1.5M in 2017, Bracho is a stout (5’11”) switch-hitter that has shown some impressive pop in the limited looks we have had from him. In just 30 games in the Arizona League in 2019, Bracho blasted 6 home runs, 10 doubles, and 2 triples. That’s more than an XBH every other game and he was younger than most of his competition. Bracho is also adept at commanding the strike zone, walking 28 times in his 38 total games in 2019. The hype on Bracho is robust, but there may not be much more that can be added to his body in terms of usable mass, so it is best to temper expectations somewhat until we get a look at him in the higher levels of the minors.

The BB% numbers so far are very auspicious. Any hitter who can walk more than 14% of the time needs to be followed. Another aspect of Bracho’s game that should help him get the most out of his power is a swing (from either side) geared towards getting the ball into the air. Bracho had a fly-ball rate of 51.8 in the AZL in 2019. An advanced approach and penchant for hitting fly balls a long way can carry a slightly weaker hit tool and Bracho has so far been able to get the most out of his skills. It almost seems like a forgone conclusion that Rocchio and Bracho will be holding down the middle infield for Cleveland (with Freeman playing 3B) in the near future.

ETA: 2023 

 

9. Andres Gimenez – SS

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB

Acquired this offseason in the Francisco Lindor trade, Andres Gimenez is a slick-fielding shortstop with decent bat-to-ball skills. Gimenez is unlikely to develop any more power going forward, but he won’t give you a zero in the category either. The results from the minors and majors present us with a pretty reliable picture of his future fantasy value. Gimenez is likely to provide fantasy managers with a decent average and 20+ steals a season until he starts to lose a step on the bases. The move from Citi Field to Progressive Field will definitely give Gimenez a boost. The Mets play in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, with Cleveland offering a much friendlier environment for hitting.

Gimenez doesn’t hit the ball exceptionally hard (86.8 average exit velocity), but his launch angle was a solid 13.5 last season, and was able to hit a ball 109.5 against major league pitching. The move to Cleveland likely brings in the possibility of a 10+ home run season. Indeed, the projection systems all seem to agree that a full season of Gimenez in Cleveland will produce a .255/11/23 stat line for fantasy managers. Recent history in Cleveland would suggest that Gimenez will be allowed to run, so it’s a good bet that he can steal 30 bases if he remains healthy all year. All in all, Gimenez provides a reliable defensive stopgap for Cleveland while the rest of their middle-infield prospects continue to season in the minor leagues.

ETA: Arrived

 

10. Isaiah Greene – OF

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: NA

Isaiah Greene is a prep hitter out of California that has a lot of raw tools and a chance to develop into a full five-tool talent. Greene’s best tools so far are his speed and his contact skills, but he is very athletic and should be able to add good weight without taking too much away from his speed profile. As he develops more mass his power will increase accordingly, provided he can get the ball in the air. Taken in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, Greene will take several years to develop, but starting with a foundation of blazing speed, decent contact skills, and elite athleticism is a great base to build on. Not to knock the Mets, but I like the move to the Rust Belt for a player like Greene. Cleveland has a fantastic track-record for developing players with speed and contact skills in the recent past. Can’t wait to get a look at this kid in minor league games. Once we see him on the field he could easily vault into the top five – or down to the 20s – on this list.

ETA: 2024

 

11. Tanner Burns – RHP

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: NCAA

Talk about a match made in heaven. Tanner Burns is a hurler with four pitches (FB/SL/CB/CH) who has improved his control in each of the last two college seasons pitching for Auburn in the SEC. Cleveland has proven again and again (and again) that they have the ability and know-how to take pitchers with good pitchability and figure out how to get the most out of their arsenal. Burns is a little on the small side (6’0″), so there is some reliever risk here, but with an arsenal like his and an organization like Cleveland, I think he sticks as a starter. From his freshman year to his sophomore year, Burns was able to dramatically lower his long balls (10 to 6), increase his K/9 (8.0 to 11.4), and lower his BB/9 (3.8 to 2.6) in a powerhouse college conference. Burns was off to a fantastic start in 2020 before the season was canceled. Cleveland scooped him up with the 36th overall pick in the 2020 draft and should be able to turn him into a very useful pitcher in the near future.

ETA: 2023

 

12. Ethan Hankins – RHP

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A-Ball

There is a lot to like when you look at Ethan Hankins. The reason he has fallen down this list for me is due to his inability to control his fastball and secondary offerings. He is only 20, so there is plenty of time for him to figure it out at the Cleveland Pitching Factory, but there are growing concerns that he might end up a reliever instead of a starter. Hankins is a big (6’6″) and imposing presence on the mound and his fastball can get into the high 90s. He pairs the fastball with a slider that flashes plus and a decent curveball and changeup. Getting a better look at Hankins this minor league season will bring his future possibilities into focus. If he can hone his control and dominate the next level of competition he will rise back into the top 10 on this list and project out as a potential SP3 for Cleveland in the future.

ETA: 2024

 

13. Josh Wolf – RHP

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

This is certainly an aggressive ranking for a prep pitcher, but the early returns in the Gulf Coast League have been good for Wolf, specifically with regard to his control. Reports on the mechanics are mixed, so it will be important to see if Wolf can produce the same control numbers in longer stretches this season. The fastball has topped out at 97 at times, a number that is very encouraging given the fact that Wolf has yet to fill out his frame (6’3″ and 170lbs). Taken in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft and signed away from a commitment to Texas A&M with a 2.15 million dollar bonus, Wolf is another pitcher that gets a boost for me now that he has landed with Cleveland. All of his secondaries (SL/CH/CB) show promise, so let’s see what Cleveland can get out of him going forward.

ETA: 2024

 

14. Carson Tucker – SS

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: NA

Carson Tucker‘s older brother is already in the big leagues with the Pirates, so we know that the bloodlines are there. A prep hitter out of California, the reports on Tucker laud him for his bat speed and ability to control the strike zone. He only struck out 18 times in his high school career against 40 walks. Now, those are high school numbers, so it is best not to get carried away, but it is fun to note stats like that on a young kid. The power profile is somewhat lacking right now and Tucker is leaning towards a sum-of-his-parts type of prospect. That said, I like to bet on hitters who have decent contact abilities and an advanced understanding of the strike zone. Tucker was taken 23rd overall in the 2020 draft and will likely head to Cleveland’s lowest level minor league team to start the year.

ETA: 2026

 

15. Joey Cantillo – LHP

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: High-A

Acquired in the Mike Clevinger during the 2020 season, Joey Cantillo is a tall (6’4″) left-handed pitcher who has compiled a large number of strikeouts so far in his minor league career. His fastball currently lacks velocity, but he doesn’t need to add all that much to it in order to turn it into a major league pitch. The reason Cantillo doesn’t need to get his heater into the mid-90s in order for it to play at the major league level is due to his excellent changeup. Cleveland should be able to get the most out of his skill set. Cantillo struck out 144 batters in 111 innings in his last professional season.

ETA: 2024 

 

16. Angel Martinez – SS

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Dominican Summer League

Signed for just $500,000 in the 2017 J2 period, Angel Martinez is a switch-hitting middle infielder with above-average contact abilities. His professional debut in the Dominican Summer League came with a 134 wRC+ and a fantastic 11.1% walk rate paired with an identical 11.1% strikeout rate. His triple slash was .301/.402/.428 and he tacked on 11 stolen bases in the 56 games he played in during 2019. Another very encouraging sign from his debut season is the 38.7% fly-ball rate he posted. I don’t anticipate him adding all that much power as he matures, but a .280 hitter with a high OBP and 15-20 steals is a very valuable fantasy asset, especially if it comes with 35+ doubles to pad the slugging line.

ETA: 2024

 

17. Gabriel Arias – SS

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: High-A

Another prospect who came over in the Clevinger deal, Gabriel Arias is a defense and power forward prospect who has made some recent strides with his hit tool and pitch recognition. After several seasons of below-average hitting performances, Arias popped up with a fantastic .302/.339/.470 triple slash in 2019. He tallied up 17 home runs that year and was finally able to realize some of his power potential. If he can build off of the gains he made in 2019 the defense should help get him to the bigs on a quicker timeline.

ETA: 2023

 

18. Gabriel Rodriguez – 3B/SS

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

Cleveland handed out their largest (to date) international bonus to Gabriel Rodriguez in the 2018 J2 period. Handing over 2.1 million dollars to a teenager is always risky, but Cleveland was confident enough in his power potential to ink him to a contract. The early returns have not been great. Rodriguez struggled with making contact in his Dominican Summer League debut in 2019. Despite the struggles, Cleveland promoted him to the Arizona League later that year. Well, it went from bad to worse in the AZL and Rodriguez struggled to make contact in his 18-game stateside sample. He is a power-over-hit profile who is more likely to land at 3rd base long term. If he doesn’t start making more contact his prospect stock will fall considerably.

ETA: 2025

 

19. Petey Halpin – OF

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: NA

Petey Halpin was taken in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft and was given an over-slot bonus to keep him from heading to college. Halpin is a hit-over-power type of hitter who has been getting rave reviews from several in the industry. Halpin has posted exit velocity numbers around 90, putting him in the 93rd percentile for the prep class. Cleveland could have very well stolen a diamond in the rough from the 2020 draft.

ETA: 2026

 

20. Owen Miller – SS

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: Double-A

Every single place that Owen Miller has been sent, he has hit. He dominated at Illinois State, played well in summer wood-bat leagues, and has handled the lower minors with aplomb. He hit .336 in his first professional season and followed it up by hitting .290/.355/.430 in Double-A. Miller has increased his walk-rate at every professional level and kept his strikeout rate well under 20%. He is a classic sum-of-his-parts type of prospect who is solid across the board when it comes to tools but doesn’t have anything that grades out as elite. Cleveland has been great at getting the most out of this type of hitter.

ETA: 2023

 

21. Daniel Johnson – OF

 

Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Currently listed as the starting right-fielder for the big league club (albeit with a platoon), Daniel Johnson is a super-athletic player who can absolutely mash baseballs when he is able to connect. His 2019 season in Triple-A was solid, but there are a lot of holes in his swing and I worry about his ability to handle major league pitching, even in a platoon.

ETA: Arrived

 

22. Logan S. Allen – LHP

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB

Logan Allen was sent to Cleveland in the Trevor Bauer/Yasiel Puig deal back in 2019. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and is very hittable. As of now, he is penciled in as the 5th starter for Cleveland and I am a little worried about the results. So far in this MLB career, Allen has posted a FIP over 5. The results in the minor leagues were much better than what he has shown so far. Likely a move to the bullpen is in his future if he continues to get clobbered.

ETA: Arrived

 

23. Emmanuel Clase – RHP

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB

Emmanuel Clase was traded to Cleveland when they shipped Corey Kluber off to the Rangers. Clase spent most of 2018 and 2019 scorching his way through the minor leagues with his power fastball. Sadly, Clase was hit with an 80-game PED suspension at the beginning of 2020 and missed the entire year. The MLB was gracious enough to lift his suspension heading into 2021 despite Clase only missing 60 games. He should be in the Cleveland bullpen to start the year and we will see what his fastball looks like after the long layoff.

ETA: Arrived

 

24. Carlos Vargas – RHP

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Low-A

Signed for $275,000 dollars out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, Vargas has a big fastball that touched triple digits before he was able to legally buy a drink. Considering the struggles he has had commanding his arsenal so far, it seems as though a future in the bullpen is the most likely outcome.

ETA: 2024

 

25. Lenny Torres – RHP

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

Taken 41st overall in the 2018 draft, Torres looked great in his debut season before needing Tommy John surgery. Before the surgery, Torres was known for his mid 90s fastball and excellent slider. Between the lost season to TJS and another lost to the pandemic, it is hard to know exactly how Torres will perform going forward. There is still a lot of ceiling here.

ETA: 2024

 

26. Logan T. Allen – LHP

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: NCAA

In 183.2 innings for FIU, Logan T. Allen punched out 242 batters. He is exactly the type of pitcher who Cleveland has made the most out of in the recent past. Taken in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, Allen throws strikes, commands his pitches well, and generates a lot of whiffs. If the Cleveland development team can work their magic (again), he could move fast through the system.

ETA: 2023

 

27. Jhonkensy Noel – 1B

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

Some big dudes can surprise you with their athleticism. Jhonkensy Noel is one of those dudes. Signed right after the J2 period in 2017, Noel has blossomed into a 230-pound monster capable of blasting balls to all fields. After his 10 home runs as a 16-year-old in the DSL, Noel took his talents stateside the following season and turned in a .287/.349/.455 triple slash against much older competition. The calling card is the power and the question is whether he can hit enough to continue to access that power moving forward.

ETA: 2024

 

28. Cody Morris – RHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: High-A

Cody Morris is a power pitcher with a fastball that tops out at 98 who has already been through Tommy John surgery. Morris’ overall stats so far have been on the average side, but what he has always provided is a healthy dose of strikeouts. Cleveland is taking is slow with Morris, but if he keeps striking dudes out at the rate he has shown so far, his stock will continue to rise. As with any post-TJ pitcher with a big fastball, reliever risk abounds.

ETA: 2022

 

29. Nick Sandlin – RHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: Triple-A

Nick Sandlin is a submarine relief pitcher who has racked up a shocking number of whiffs in his two professional seasons. The control has fallen apart in the recent past, but if he can regain control of his arsenal there’s a good chance we see him in the Cleveland bullpen in 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

30. Alexfri Planez – OF

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

Alexfri Planez’s prospect stock was skyrocketing at the beginning of 2020. Another signing from the 2018 J2 period, Planez was given a $400,000 bonus coming out of Venezuela. Planez has a bigger body that will continue to add weight as he matures, boosting his power potential along the way. His debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2018 was filled with XBH. Planez doesn’t walk much and currently has a bit more swing and miss than you would like to see from a kid in the lower minors, but there is enough here to dream on the power potential and keep a close watch in 2021.

ETA: 2025

 

31. Raynel Delgado – SS

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A-Ball

Raynel Delgado is a Cuban-born player who made his way over to the states early in his life (age 7) and was eligible for the 2018 MLB draft. Lauded for his makeup and worth ethic, Delgado’s minor league performance has so far been average. He’s always been a little bit young for his level, clocking in at about two years younger than most of the players he has competed against. He will need to inject some more power into the ball and keep his walk rate up in order to keep progressing through this stacked system.

ETA: 2025

 

32. Jordan Humphreys – RHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: High-A

Jordan Humphreys is a pitchability-over-stuff type of starter that knows how to use his arsenal to maximize effectiveness. He limits walks and long balls extremely well and has, so far, been able to tally a K/9 over 9.0 in his minor league career without having an elite pitch. This is the type of pitcher that Cleveland has been able to develop very effectively. If you feel like you have read that before, well, you’re right. Cleveland has a great development system and the fruits of their labor are playing all over the MLB.

ETA: 2023

 

33. Eli Morgan – RHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: Triple-A

Eli Morgan is a pitcher with great control and a devastating changeup. He has used his best pitch and ability to throw strikes to dominate the minor leagues at the lower levels. That said, his fastball struggles to break 90 and was tagged pretty consistently once he made his way to Triple-A. The lack of velocity may keep him from finding an effective pathway to the majors.

ETA: 2022

 

34. Sam Hentges – LHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: Double-A

Sam Hentges is a lefty with a decent fastball, at least in terms of velocity. He has struggled with his control and allowing hard contact as he has progressed through the minor leagues, so he will need to show that the secondaries have continued to develop during the lost season in the upper minors in 2021 if he is going to avoid the bullpen fate.

ETA: 2023

 

35. Jose Tena – SS

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

Jose Tena is an aggressive hitter with above-average contact skills. The results in the lower minor have so far been solid. Tena hit .325/.352/.440 in his stateside debut in 2019. The issue comes with the 3.0% walk-rate he paired with that decent triple slash. His aggressiveness will be exploited by better pitching, so it will be fun to see if his contact skills can bail him out enough for him to realize some of his power.

ETA: 2025

 

36. Yu Chang – UTIL

 

Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Yu Chang makes the list because he is going to be a part of the big club in 2020, albeit as a utility hitter who won’t offer much fantasy value without a rash of injuries hitting the starting squad. He can hit a few home runs and steal the odd base, but at the end of the day it comes down to playing time.

ETA: Arrived

 

37. Bobby Bradley – 1B

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: MLB

Bobby Bradley is a power-over-power-over-hit prospect who has hit a lot of minor league home runs. His debut in 2019 was not pretty. Bradley presents the classic prospect question: “can he hit enough to get to his power?” So far, the answer is a resounding “no,” and the fact that he didn’t get any at-bats in 2020 should be an indication of how the front office feels about his talent. Sell your shares.

ETA: 2021

 

38. Junior Sanquintan – SS

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Dominican Summer League

Junior Sanquintan is a switch-hitting middle infielder who has yet to make his way stateside. Reports are that the tools across the board are all solid, but he is a bit raw. Could be a big riser or a big faller on this list depending on how he looks once he is playing in the lower minors.

ETA: 2026

 

39. Jose Fermin – 2B

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A-Ball

Jose Fermin is an above-average contact hitter with very little power. He adds to his value by walking more than he strikes out and maintaining a good OBP. The on-base skills also support his speed tool, something he used to steal 28 bags in the 2019 season. If the contact skills and speed hold up through the upper minors he will likely have a major league role at some point.

ETA: 2023

 

40. Hunter Gaddis – RHP

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: Low-A

Taken in the 5th round of the 2019 draft on the strength of his fantastic changeup and above-average control, Gaddis cut up Rookie-Ball and Low-A hitters in 2019. It will be important to see if his fastball/changeup combo can continue to dominate as he rises through the system. He may end up getting pushed to the bullpen long term, but Cleveland will likely let him start for a while to see what can be made out of his exceptional changeup.

ETA: 2023

 

41. Jean Carlos Mejia – RHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: High-A

Injuries have held him back at times, but Jean Carlos Mejia has a decent fastball/slider combo and has been able to really limit walks in his minor league career so far. If he can stay healthy there is a chance to start, but, as with a lot of pitchers low on this list, bullpen risk is fairly high.

ETA: 2022

 

42. Will Benson – OF

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: High-A

Taken 14th overall in the 2016 draft, Will Benson is a super-athletic human who has struggled to translate his athleticism into baseball-related production. Simply put, he can’t put the bat on the ball enough for opponents to worry about his power potential.

ETA: 2025

 

43. Bryan Lavastida – C

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A-Ball

A bat-first catcher with a good eye at the plate, Lavastida’s defense currently lags behind the rest of his skillset and will likely mean a move off of the position if he can’t handle the rigors of catching. The bat is interesting, though.

ETA: 2024

 

44. Yordys Valdes – SS

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie Ball

A glove-first profile at the moment, Valdes is a raw talent that will need significant seasoning with the bat in order to gain any fantasy relevance. His glove represents his current pathway to the major leagues at the moment, but there is a lot of time left in his development.

ETA: 2026

 

45. Kyle Nelson – RHP

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: MLB

Kyle Nelson is a relief pitcher who has racked up whiffs in the minor league and made it to the majors in 2020, albeit for one game. Nelson has a classic fastball/slider combo built for the bullpen.

ETA: 2021

 

46. Richard Palacios – SS

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: A-Ball

Richard Palacios has hit the ball well every team he has been on. A labrum injury has held him back so far in his career. He has good strike zone management, contact skills, and speed. There is a chance that once he gets to the upper levels of the minors his prospect stock could rise considerably. All he needs is good health and a chance to prove that his skills can play against better competition.

ETA: 2022

 

47. Nick Mikolajchak – RHP

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: Low-A

A relief pitcher with a great fastball and curveball with above-average control, Mikolajchak was taken in the 11th round of the 2019 draft and has exceeded expectations. He’d be higher on a real-life list, but if he starts to close games in the minor leagues his stock could rise.

ETA: 2023

 

48. Adam Scott – LHP

 

Age: 25
Highest Level: Double-A

Adam Scott has a fastball/slider combo that has so far been solid against minor league pitching. Scott lacks an effective third pitch he is comfortable throwing, so his future is likely in the bullpen.

ETA: 2021

 

49. Angel Genoa – SS

 

Age: 16
Highest Level: NA

Angel Genoa was given 1.175 million dollars in the 2021 J15 period and reports are good on his hitting abilities. I can’t rank him much higher without much info to go on, but I wanted to make sure that Cleveland’s top signings this period made the list.

ETA: 2027

 

50. Fran Alduey – SS

 

Age: 16
Highest Level: NA

Fran Alduey is another small middle infielder with a great feel for the barrel that the Indians brought into the organization during the J15 period. Every time Cleveland signs a young middle infielder with a good feel for hitting, take note.

ETA: 2027

 

Featured Image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Kyle Brown

You are reading words written by the #1 Gary Sheffield fan of all time. I live and breath baseball 24-7-365. There is no offseason. Raised on the Rochester Red Wings, forged in Sheff's raging fire of blistering bombs, and steeled by my love of the Pirates, I am here to cut through minor league flotsam and provide you all with deep analysis of emerging minor league stars, regulars, and role players. Follow me 20,000 leagues under the MLB to find your next dynasty all-stars.

Account / Login
>