Four Cleveland Indians were listed on Baseball America’s Top 100 rankings.
Baseball America published their list of the game’s top 100 prospects, and the Cleveland Indians have players on the list.
With limited financial resources to spend, the Indians are banking heavily on player development to compete in the post Lindor era.
Here’s a look at which Cleveland Indians prospects are on the rise (BA link).
Who are Cleveland Indians top prospects?
BA listed pitcher Triston McKenzie as the Tribe’s top prospect (26th), while third baseman Nolan Jones (45th), Andres Gimenez (66th) and Tyler Freeman (82nd).
What it means now and long term?
Three of the players listed in BA’s top 100 could appear for the Tribe in 2021. Two were already big leaguers by the end of 2020.
Triston McKenzie carved out a spot in the rotation last season while going 2-1 in six starts while posting a 3.24 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 33.1 innings.
Like McKenzie, Gimenez was a regular by the end of 2020. Acquired from New York in the Francisco Lindor trade, The Mets inserted the shortstop into the starting lineup and Gimenez batted respectably enough (.257, .756 OPS in 378 plate appearances) to finish the season as the starter, despite having never played at Triple-A.
Jones is expected to get reps in the outfield this spring, with Jose Ramirez blocking his promotion at the hot corner. Jones may not break camp with the club, but it won’t be stunning to see him in a Tribe uniform by June–especially with the Indians’ offense expected to slump.
Freeman has worked his way up the prospect rankings after being drafted in the second round of the 2017 draft. He’s primarily been a shortstop, but it’s long been speculated that he’d make the move to second base.
By acquiring Gimenez, one would think that if Freeman is going to reach the big leagues, it will be a second base. Look for the Tribe to find a stop gap for this season, with Freeman eventually reaching the big leagues at some point in 2022.
How Cleveland Indians stack up with rest of Central
The Tigers lead the Central’s prospect rankings, with five players in the top 100. Every other team besides Detroit has four. Cleveland would’ve had three had the team not acquired Gimenez.
The Tigers (1B Spencer Torkelson, 5, P Tarik Skubal, 20), Royals (SS Bobby Witt Jr.,18, P Daniel Lynch, 25) White Sox (P Andrew Vaughn, 21, P Michael Kopech, 24) all have two prospects in the top 25. The Twins have one, outfielder Alex Kirilloff.
Ones to watch
Baseball America also published a list of 10 players who came close to making the Top 100 list. No Cleveland Indians were listed there, but the publication also listed all of the players who at least received one vote.
Those players are C Bo Naylor, 2B Aaron Bracho, SS Brayan Rocchio, SS Gabriel Arias, and OF George Valera.
Arias was acquired in the trade for Mike Clevinger. Valera has an excellent bat and was invited to the Indians’ summer camp before the start of the truncated 60-game season. Valera has a nice bat, and may be the first one to wear an Indians uniform out of this group.