Catcher: Francisco Mejia is struggling in 2018, hitting .205 at Class AAA Columbus, but make no bones about it. This guy’s the center piece of the future at The Corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
It will be interesting to see how he performs in the second-half of the minor league season. He’s too a hitter to slump for an entire season.
1B: Two names here because Noah Naylor will only be 23 at the start of the 2023 season, but by then, he’ll have spent close to 4 1/2 seasons in the minors developing.
The Indians are likely to develop him at catcher, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get work in at third and first base along the way.
A first-round pick comes comes with some serious shine, but his selection doesn’t not guarantee he’ll even make the big leagues.
Nine of the 20 players taken 29th between 1995-2015 have reached the majors, while only four of those played in at least 100 MLB games, according to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto.
You never know, though. The best player selected 29th overall is George Brett.
If you catch Naylor in the minors, you may be seeing the Tribe’s clean-up hitter of the future.
There’s a another power hitter in the Tribe’s minor league system that offers plenty of intrigue.
Bobby Bradley is currently the No. 4 ranked prospect in the system.
There’s a question over whether he can hit consistently enough, though. He’s got 10 homers this season, but he’s hitting just .192 at Akron with a .293 on-base percentage.
2B: Tyler Freeman, 2017 second-round pick, spent his first pro season playing shortstop. He could stay there, or he could make the move to second base.
The Indians drafted him because of his bat, and considering they’ll be losing Francisco Lindor to free agency around the time Freeman’s ready to jump to the big league’s, well, “The A-Team” said it best: “I love it when a plan comes together.”
SS: Technically Erik Gonzalez could be a free agent following the 2022 campaign, but realistically, he’s someone the Indians could extend if he puts together some consistent seasons.
No one expects him to continue batting over .340, but he’s got the range to play shortstop and if his bat comes around–well the Indians will be counting their blessings.
Before offering an extension, the Indians will have to get a look at him every day before deciding to commit to an extension, though.
3B: Jose Ramirez–If he plays out his current contract and Indians use their options on him, Jose Ramirez will be an Indian through the 2024 season. It’s almost too-good-to-be true with this guy. At the rate he’s going in 2018, he’ll be a top-3 finalist for MVP while earning $4.1 million.
The Indians might want to stay ahead of the curve and extend him again,try to extend him again. Eventually, his agent is going to convince him that’s playing for peanuts compared to what other MVP caliber players earn. Just wait until his infield partner commands $200 million on the open market.
Perhaps, down the road, the Indians appease Ramirez by throwing some more cash his way that they’re going to have on hand since its unlikely they sign Lindor.