MLB Draft: Cleveland Indians stockpiling super-young shortstop prospects

The Cleveland Indians drafted another young shortstop in the MLB Draft, adding to their collection of super-young depth at the position.

The Cleveland Indians added another middle infielder to their prospect ranks, drafting 17-year-old Yordys Valdes, a switch-hitting shortstop, in the second-round (63rd overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft.

The native of Cuba hit .343 in 23 games for McArthur High School in Miami, Florida. Valdes had committed to Florida State, but the Indians probably feel confident they can sign him.

With the selection of Valdes, the Tribe made another move to bolster their middle infield depth, which is something they’ve been doing for a few years now. With the clock ticking on Francisco Lindor‘s time in a Tribe uniform, the organization is clearly working on finding a replacement.

The Tribe took Tyler Freeman 71st overall in the 2017 draft. He may end up playing second base at the big-league level, but his selection really signified, to me anyway, the beginning of the Tribe plotting its course to replace Lindor.

Freeman, 20, who just moved into MLB’s top 100 ranked prospects, his currently batting .314 for the Lake County Captains. He’s currently the third-rated prospect in the Tribe system, according to MLB Pipeline.

Targeting shortstops has also clearly been a focus when it comes to signing international free agents.

The Tribe signed Brayan Rocchio during the 2017-2018 international scouting period, and the switch-hitter is considered to have an advanced bat. Rocchio is just 18 though, and spent 2018 playing instructional league ball in Arizona, where he hit really well. He’s currently the Tribe’s seventh-rated prospect.

Aaron Bracho was signed in that same international class, and is another switch hitter. He ranks 14th among Tribe farm hands, according to MLB Pipeline.

Gabriel Rodriguez, 17, was rated as MLB Pipeline’s sixth rated intentional prospect going into the 2018 international period and the Tribe gave him $2.1 million for his commitment. He’s currently their 13th rated prospect.

Richie Palacios, ranked 21st, was drafted out of Towson in the third round last year. His scouting report describe this arm as “fringy,” though, so he may not stay at short. Palacios is the elder statesmen of this group, as he is 22. He made it to Class A Lake County last year and hit .300 in 20 games.

Raynel Delgado, 19, (Ranked No. 18), Jose Fermin, 20 (No. 23), Junior Sanquintin, 17 (No. 26) and Marcos Gonzalez, 19 (No. 28) are also middle-infield prospects down on the farm.

As you’ve gathered, all of these players are super young and won’t be helping the Tribe anytime soon. Even someone like Freeman, who was drafted in 2017, won’t appear at Progressive Field for at least another three years.

It will be interring to watch over the next three to five years, though, to see if the Indians’ scouting reports proved correct.