Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cleveland Indians. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.
|34||Jean Carlos Mejia||23.7||A+||RHP||2020||40|
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Anthony Gose, LHP
Gose lost rookie eligibility back in 2012 as an outfielder, so he’s not eligible for this list, but he deserves to be mentioned because of the likelihood he impacts Cleveland’s bullpen this year. He was a two-way prospect who Philadelphia drafted in the 2008 second round, and Gose quickly reached Hi-A as a power/speed/arm center field prospect. He was traded to Toronto as part of the Roy Halladay deal in 2010. Some strikeout-related statistical yellow flags emerged once he reached the upper levels of the minors and his bat stalled out against big league pitching. Toronto traded him to Detroit for Devon Travis and things spiraled from there, culminating in a dugout confrontation with Toledo manager Lloyd McClendon in the middle of 2016. The following year, Detroit moved him to the mound. Gose was throwing very hard almost immediately (he was up to 97 in high school) but only pitched in 11 games at Hi-A all year. He elected free agency after the season and has since bounced around, first to Texas on a minor league deal, then Rule 5’d and returned by Houston, and then to Cleveland in 2019. He was touching 100 this spring, he has a plus curveball, and he had struck out nine in 5.2 innings before the shutdown. He could have a huge impact on Cleveland’s bullpen.
The most common Cleveland prospect trope is the contact-oriented infielder; here are several more. Pastrano signed for $1.5 million last year. He’s 17.7 on date of publication, and like a lot of the players in this system, he’s a switch-hitting infielder with advanced feel for contact and a medium frame. I’m a little lower on Pastrano than others because I think he’s a 4 athlete. Lopez was sent to Mahoning Valley at 19 and dealt with some injuries last year. He has a sweet lefty swing and I think he has had some of his playing time crowded out by other talented youngsters in this system. Cairo is Miguel Cairo’s son. I think he has a utility ceiling based on the tools. Naranjo was a SoCal pop-up bat who needs to get there by way of an elite hit tool. He doesn’t have much power projection so the contact has to carry the whole profile, à la Jake Bauers‘ prospectdom. Durango has a tweener fourth outfielder vibe but could be a regular if he ends up with a plus bat. He signed for $500,000 last year.
Ramirez is 21 and was the last cut from the main section of the list. He’s only up to 95 coming out of the bullpen and the body is pretty maxed out, but I love how his arm works and how athletic he is, and think he might yet throw harder. I’m staying on Stephens to some degree. He was a 40 FV swingman type, then had a bad 2019. McCarty is another lefty whose fastball has huge carry and misses bats even though it’s 88-92. His breaking ball has vertical action. Burgos, the youngest of this group at age 21, throws strikes, has an average breaking ball, and a chance for an above-average changeup. The velo is a little light for the main section of the list.
Holmes can fly but still has very limited feel for baseball at just shy of age 21. Gonzalez is a big-framed corner outfield prospect with huge power and one of the least-selective approaches in pro baseball. Diaz is a college-aged catcher who was far too physical for the AZL, where he did most of his 2019 statistical damage. He does have above-average power but is also quite swing-happy and has a hole on the outer half. Bartlett, 19, has 55 raw but is a low probability, right/right first base fit.
For a while there, it was clear Cleveland was willing to pay a talent premium for young big leaguers and near-ready prospects. Trading Tahnaj Thomas for Jordan Luplow and Jhon Torres for Oscar Mercado, among others, was at least partially motivated by the org’s competitive window with its 2017 core. Last year, the opposite started to occur. The Victor Nova and Andres Melendez acquisitions were motivated by 40-man space, but it was also the first time in a while that we got to see Cleveland’s pro department target low-level players.
The amateur arm of the org shows clear patterns of player acquisition, which I’ve gone on about ad nauseum for a while. They seem to end up with a lot of very young players (Jordan Brown, Raynel Delgado, Korey Holland), contact-oriented hitters (both domestic and international), pitchers with odd deliveries (there are several sidearmers in this system, and remember this org used a Rule 5 pick on Hoby Milner), and prospects who performed as underclassmen and regressed in their draft year.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.