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Cleveland Indians: Top 10 Dynasty Prospects

fantasy baseball prospects MLB prospects rookies call-ups

We continue our look of the best prospects in each MLB team's farm system with the Cleveland Indians. Once the 2020 MLB season begins, it may turn out that Minor League systems will be more important than usual. Franchises are losing money during the pandemic layoff, so many teams will be looking for sources of cheap production. It might also take older players longer to rebound from a long layoff meaning we could see more injuries and more roster moves. We might even see expanded rosters, at least in the early going.

One important question to ask is: How will a long layoff affect prospects? One has to assume the more advanced prospects prior to the work stoppage will be at an advantage, while the more “toolsy but raw” type could be hurt with the lack of repetition and in-game action; throwing or hitting in simulated environments just doesn’t match up to the real thing. Many prospects will have to work jobs during the pandemic just to make ends meet, while players who signed for large bonuses will have an advantage. Other prospects that lack strong discipline and commitment to their craft could struggle to stay in shape.

We won’t really know what the layoff impact will have on baseball in general until things start ramping up. But we do know that a strong prospect pool will continue to be an important element for a successful baseball franchise. We're looking at the Top 10 (or more) dynasty prospects in each organization with an eye to discovering which organizations are best positioned to succeed with their player development when games resume. Make sure to check out all of our prospect content, including Top 50 for 2020 and Top 250 for Dynasty Leagues.

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Quick Synopsis

Cleveland’s system has some intriguing young players, but the majority of the talent is found below Double-A. It’s a middle-of-the-pack system that could trend up quickly if some of the players develop as the organization hopes.

 

1. Nolan Jones, 3B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 28
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Raw power and strong on-base numbers are Jones’ calling cards. To fully tap into his potential, the young infielder needs to make adjustments to his swing to hit balls in the air more consistently. He also needs to be a little less passive at the plate as he can let too many hittable pitches go by, which leads to high strikeout rates. Over the past two seasons, he’s walked 185 times but also struck out 279 times in 246 games.

 

2. George Valera, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 60
2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2023

Valera held his own in 2019 as an 18-year-old playing against mostly college graduates in short-season A ball. He struggled to hit for average against the much older pitching last season, but showed a solid approach at the plate and should hit for a good batting average in time. He’s also willing to work the count and has the potential to hit 20-30 home runs in a season as he matures.

 

3. Triston McKenzie, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 89
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2021

Based on talent alone, McKenzie could be first on this list. He’s very athletic with an excellent pitcher’s frame, but repeated injuries have clouded his future. McKenzie hasn’t thrown a competitive pitch since mid-2018 due to forearm and serious back issues. At this point, he’s a wild card.

 

4. Brayan Rocchio, SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 116
2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

I expected a huge breakout season from Rocchio in 2019. He’s shown flashes of being a plus hitter, but he struggled out of the gate as an 18-year-old in short-season A ball. The encouraging news is that he was able to make adjustments and hit .283 with a .763 OPS in the final month of the 2019 season against much older competition. He has plus bat speed and could become a home run threat as his body matures.

 

5. Bobby Bradley, 1B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 125
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Bradley put an exclamation mark on his fifth straight Minor League season with at least 23 home runs by breaking the 30-homer mark for the first time. He’s one of the strongest players in the Minors and if he ever clues in that he doesn’t have to sell out for his power, he could be a solid big league contributor. However, he currently strikes out far too much and whiffed at a 33% clip at Triple-A in 2019. His willingness to take a walk helps offset the low batting average and gives him additional value in on-base leagues.

 

6. Tyler Freeman, 2B/SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 134
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Just 20 years old, Freeman is already pushing for a promotion to Double-A. He has average tools across the board, save for his plus hitting ability which has helped him hit more than .300 as a pro. Freeman isn’t flashy, but he could hit .280 or better for 30+ doubles, 10-15 home runs, and a handful of steals upon his eventual arrival.

 

7. Aaron Bracho, 2B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 149
2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

Bracho is similar to Freeman in that he’s a well-rounded player with mostly average tools across the board. He’s not quite the natural hitter that Freeman is, but Bracho has a little more power potential. In his pro debut as an 18-year-old in Rookie ball, the middle infielder posted a BB-K of 28-29 in 38 games so he has the potential to have increased value in on-base leagues, too.

 

8. Ethan Hankins, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 159
2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

Hankins possesses an impressive 6-foot-6 pitcher’s frame and can dial his heater up into the 94-97 mph range. He has a four-pitch mix with three possibly grading out as above-average. His command and control both need polish, but he does a nice job of keeping the ball down and avoiding the long ball when everything is clicking.

 

9. Daniel Espino, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 163
2020 LEVEL: SS-A
MLB ETA: 2023

Espino isn’t as physical as Hankins, but he has similar stuff. He can fire his heater in the mid-90s and backs it up with two breaking balls that show plus potential. A 2019 first-round Draft pick, the teenager overpowered hitters in rookie ball with 34 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.

 

10: Bo Naylor, C

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 177
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Naylor was a 2018 first-round Draft pick out of Canada but has a fairly advanced bat for a cold weather prospect. He’s the brother of Padres’ prospect Josh Naylor and is the better athlete of the two -- at least until the rigors of catching wear him down. The young catcher needs to slow things down at the plate and continue to gain experience against pro pitching as he looks to cut down on the swing-and-miss tendencies. But with maturity, there could be 15-20 home runs in his bat.

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