Cleveland Indians Top 5 Prospects Post-Trade Deadline

Cleveland Indians Top 5 Prospects Post-Trade Deadline

by August 31, 2021 0 comments

The Cleveland Indians are starting the transition to a new core. With four prospects in the top-100 and the 13th-ranked system in all of baseball, the Indians are set up to have a very young, but very talented team in 2022. A lot of the Indians’ top-tier hitting talents will more than likely be making their debuts next year. While the Indians have had an embarrassment of riches in their rotation since Terry Francona took over in 2013, they are a little thin due to injury.

Luckily, they have some good arms that are starting to rise up the ranks. The 2021 season has been hard for many reasons. Injuries, underwhelming performances, and the loss of Francona due to health concerns. However, the future is bright, so let’s take a look at the future for Cleveland.

Make sure to check out all of our Updated Prospect Articles.

1. George Valera– OF

  • HIT-60
  • POWER-55
  • RUN-50
  • ARM-50
  • FIELD-50
  • OVERALL-50

The 20-year-old international product signed with the team in 2017 out of the Dominican Republic. For the first time in his young career, Valera is starting to be considered as the team’s top prospect. Valera spent the summer of 2020 at the team’s alternate site getting at-bats against pro-ball pitchers. One Cleveland scout was surprised at how advanced Valera is in his progression at age 20. In 63 games at double-A this season, Valera slashed .256/.430/.548 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs. His power numbers and ability to barrel up the ball are rising while his strikeout rate and batting average continue to stay consistent, with a slight improvement in both areas. This is tremendous news for the team.

While he spends most of his time in center field, Valera’s game translates more to a corner spot. His speed and arm strength are average but show promise for a 20-year-old. Much like a few others in the system that will be in Cleveland soon, Valera just needs some time to work on the little things. The difference is, Valera is doing great things at a very young age.

ETA- 2023

2. Nolan Jones– 3B/OF

  • HIT-50
  • POWER-60
  • RUN-40
  • ARM-60
  • FIELD-50
  • OVERALL-55

Jones is a 22-year-old second-round selection in the 2016 first-year player draft. For the first time in a few years, he has fallen below Valera in many prospects lists. This is because of worries around his glove and what position he will play when he reaches Cleveland. Jones’ offense is headlined by his pure power and ability to work the count. He has a career .398 OBP in the minors, which is down due to some midseason struggles.

Despite his high strikeout rates, Jones does not have issues making contact. With 13 home runs and 25 doubles in 99 games this season, Jones has proven that the raw power is for real and he should have no problem transitioning to the major-league level. His natural athletism and eye for the strike zone allow him to take over at-bats and select his pitches.

Defensively, Jones has a lot of work to do. While he is a third baseman, his lack of lateral quickness and range give him a massive disadvantage at one of the corner spots. While there is a level of concern, the Indians have dealt with a very similar situation with Jose Ramirez back in 2016. Jones just needs some polishing up and he will be ready to roll.

ETA- 2022

3. Tyler Freeman– SS

  • HIT-60
  • POWER-40
  • RUN-50
  • ARM-50
  • FIELD-50
  • OVERALL-55

Freeman was drafted by Cleveland in the second round of the 2017 draft. At every stop, Freeman has had no problems making contact with the ball. Barring any setbacks of his recovery from shoulder surgery, Freeman should make his debut next season. His elite hitting potential showed early in his career. In 2018 he slashed .352/.405/.511.

While Freeman has a great feel at the plate, his power remains to be a concern. While his bat progression has continued to be very impressive, his 11 career home runs are very disappointing. The Indians have had a rich history of developing power-deficient infielders into homerun threats at the major league level. While power just isn’t a big part of Freeman’s game, there is some promise that it will improve once he reaches Cleveland.

ETA- 2022

4. Daniel Espino– SP

  • FASTBALL-70
  • CURVEBALL-55
  • SLIDER-60
  • CHANGEUP-50
  • CONTROL-50
  • OVERALL-50

Espino was drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft. He was widely considered to be the best pitcher from the state of Georgia. When Espino moved to Georgia during his sophomore year of high school, he was already pushing mid-80s on his fastball. By his senior year, his fastball was starting to hit the mid to upper 90s.

His main weapon is his fastball that has a deadly combination of power and movement. While this combination produces a lot of strikeouts, his ERA has risen this year. Espino has been able to succeed with his strength, but he is prone to lose control of his breaking pitches. He has improved after a year off in 2020 and is a prime candidate to join a struggling rotation in Cleveland next season.

ETA- 2022

5. Bo Naylor– C

  • HIT-50
  • POWER-50
  • RUN-45
  • ARM-55
  • FIELD-55
  • OVERALL-50

Naylor was drafted in the first round of the 2018 draft. If the name looks familiar to you it’s because his brother, Josh Naylor, is also with the Cleveland Indians. His biggest strength is his ability to barrel up the baseball. In 2019, Naylor ranked fifth in single-A with 39 extra-base hits, 10 of which were triples. While his numbers are down across the board this season, the team is still enthralled with his potential at the plate.

There are some rumors going around that Naylor may be moved to a different position as they are more focused on his offense, Naylor was able to throw out 37 percent of base stealers in 2019. His arm and glove have vastly improved after Naylor focused on his mechanics at the alternate site during the covid season, but there is still room for improvement.

ETA- 2023

The Indians’ farm system may not have top-tier talent, but it is incredibly deep. With the team transitioning into a new era after their 2016 World Series run core is all but gone, and that they will officially become the Guardians next season, we could see a lot of these guys at the major league level next season.


Check us out on our socials: 
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @ptsportstalk

Follow Daniel Corrigan on Twitter @Corrigan_Tweets

Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Leave a Reply