2020 Minor League Thread

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BimboColesHair

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AZ_

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A Conversation With Cleveland Indians Pitching Prospect Ethan Hankins
by David Laurila
January 16, 2020
Ethan Hankins has one of the highest ceilings in Cleveland’s pitching pipeline. The 6-foot-6 right-hander possesses a first-round pedigree — he went 35th overall in 2018 — and a heater that sits mid-90s with late life. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel ranked him 15th in Cleveland’s system last year. Moreover, he’s wise beyond his years. Still just 19 years old, Hankins is studious enough about his craft that he could reasonably be referred to as a pitching nerd.

Hankins split his first full professional campaign between Short-season Mahoning Valley and Low-A Lake County, logging a 2.55 ERA and fanning 71 batters in 60 innings. No less impressive are the strides he’s continued to make between the ears. The former Forsythe, Georgia prep may have bypassed Vanderbilt University to sign with the Indians, but his quest for knowledge has by no means waned. Influenced heavily by his off-season experiences at Full Count Baseball, it continues unabated.

Hankins discussed his cerebral approach, and the improvements he’s made to his repertoire, late in the 2019 season.

———

David Laurila: Is pitching more of an art, or more of a science?

Ethan Hankins: “The game we’re playing right now, with all the analytical stuff we have access to, and use — especially with the Indians — it’s starting to become more of a science. I feel like it used to be more an art. Even a few years ago. But it’s been growing into something that can be called a science, because of the average velocities, the spin efficiencies, true spin, 2D spin, 3D spin. There are all of these numbers that can be beneficial if you know how to use them in the right way.“

Laurila: It sounds like you lean science.

Hankins: “Yes, but that’s not because the Indians have thrown it in my face. It’s because I’ve taken to learning how these numbers can benefit you. Granted, the Indians help a lot. They obviously have all of this knowledge. But not everybody uses it. We don’t get pressured to use it.”

Laurila: How do you use it?

Hankins: “There are a million different ways that… oh gosh. I’d say that I’m using it to develop my offspeed, more than anything. My curveball has made a huge jump over the past year. I don’t credit that solely to the Rapsodo, or any of the other technology we have access to, but that does give you a lot of insight. It tells you, ‘This is where you are.’ From there, you’re able to say, ‘OK, I want to be here; I want this pitch to have this much efficiency. This is the direction I want.’

“The information is really valuable, but you have to be very careful with how you’re using it. You have to figure out what works for you. If you see that your numbers are this, but you want them to be that… you may not be heading in the right direction. You might be overthinking it, because while your numbers aren’t good on paper, that pitch might be getting a swing-and-miss nine times out of 10. The pitch you think you want to throw might get a swing-and-miss three times out of 10.”

Laurila: That said, how do you go about making the data actionable? Wanting to improve something like spin efficiency, or spin axis, isn’t the same as actually doing it.

Hankins: “There are different mechanical changes, different tweaks, and it’s not all your upper half. Your foundation is your bottom half. Your bottom half can make you go a lot of different ways with your arm. For me, it’s been that lower half — my load on my back side — that’s really increased the depth on my curveball. I’ve been able to get on top of it more. I’ve been able to throw it harder, because I’m more structured, more directional to he plate.

“It’s also a matter of consistency. It’s hard to be perfectly consistent, especially at this level. So it’s almost a mental cue thing. It can be, ‘I want to be here with my hand,’ Or it can be, ‘My arm needs to be a little bit more on top.’ You might recognize that your front shoulder is flying open, causing you to miss arm side. Making little tweaks can make a huge difference.”

Laurila: Have you increased the spin rate on any of your pitches?

Hankins: “Technically, yes. But that’s not really a goal. I’m not trying to rip 3,500 revolutions per minute, or anything like that. As long as I’m able to make my curveball break as much as I possibly can, and have it mirror my fastball — be able to tunnel them off of each other — that’s the end goal. I want to have a fastball that rises, and a curveball that goes straight down as much I can make it go straight down with my low-three-quarters arm slot. That’s my natural slot. I’ve pretty much been chilling there my whole life.”

Laurila: How are you balancing tunneling and break? Increasing one can often decrease the other.

Hankins: “It’s kind of just having that feel for a fastball. It’s thinking ‘fastball, fastball, fastball,’ knowing what you have to do when you get to the point where the ball is flying out of your hand. It’s impossible, according to science, to… there is no release point. You can’t control where you release the ball. The ball just naturally flies out of your hand. You can adjust where your arm wants to be when the ball flies out, but if the ball wants to fly out of your hand, it’s going to fly out out of your hand.”

Laurila: Have you had an opportunity to talk to Trevor Bauer?

Hankins: “I haven’t, although I’ve talked to Cody Buckel a lot. He’s good friends with Trevor, and talking to him is like talking to Trevor. He’s really big into Driveline. I’ll ask him a question, and we’ll go on that question, build off that question, for 30 minutes to an hour. Cody is an extremely smart guy when it comes to pitching and pitch design. Everything along that line.”

Laurila: Have you been to Driveline?

Hankins: “I haven’t, but back home we have our own system, our own program, which is kind of like Driveline. It’s called Full Count, and I’ve been going there since my sophomore year. A lot of guys in North Georgia go there, including a bunch of big-leaguers. We have access to a lot of the same things I have with the Indians. There are a lot of great baseball minds there that have experience with Rapsodo, Edgertronic… everything. I actually work there in the off-season.”

Laurila: In what capacity?

Hankins: “I work with kids — younger kids, high school kids — trying to pass along the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, including from the Indians. We do weighted balls. We do… I mean, it’s essentially the same type of goals they have at Driveline. Everybody wants to throw harder —- everybody wants to throw gas — but we want to develop guys as pitchers, not just to throw hard. We talk about making pitches better, and how to pitch. Like what to look for with guys’ swings. If he’s late on a fastball, what do you do? Pitching is more than just throwing hard.”

Laurila: What have you topped out at?

Hankins: “I’ve been up to 98 this year, but I’m not worried about top velocity. What I want is to maintain my velocity from the first inning throughout how many I go that day.”

Laurila: What about your spin rate?

Hankins: “I’ve been between 2,600 and 2,700. I get ride, but because I throw from a lower arm slot it’s not a consistent ride. You have guys like James Karinchak who throw from up here [a high arm slot] and get like 30 inches of vertical ride. It will look like the ball is skimming the ground, but really, it’s up in your eyes.”

Laurila: What are you throwing besides a four-seamer and a curveball?

Hankins: “A changeup, which I feel is my best pitch when it’s on, and a slider. My slider is a pitch I’ve been working on, but not working-on-working-on. That’s because my curveball was further along when I first got drafted. They were like, ‘OK, we’re going to focus on your curveball.’ My slider is going to come along once I get more feel for it. I need to better understand what to look for with ‘my slider.’

“Different guys are different. Like Chris Sale. His slider is big and sweepy. He can make it slower, or he can make it faster. I don’t have that type of feel yet. I also don’t want mine to be like his. I want mine to be more of a Verlander slider — short, sharp, and 86 [mph]. Almost like a cutter, but with depth. Short and sweet, with just enough to miss a barrel.”

Laurila: You said your changeup is your best pitch when it’s on. What’s the story behind it?

Hankins: “It’s a circle change, and Trevor Hoffman taught it to me. Honestly, he didn’t even mean to. It was during the Perfect Game All-American game. I was throwing a bullpen, and he was standing there. He said, ‘Is that a changeup?’ I was like, ‘Yeah; it’s not very good.’ He goes, ‘Why don’t you try to throw it like this? This is how I threw mine.’ I said, ‘OK’ So I did, and it went straight down. I was like, I’m going to stick with this.’

“It’s progressively gotten better and better. It’s to the point of beyond words that can explain how happy I am with it. That’s something I’ve always wanted to throw, but it had always been like a BP fastball. It was 83-84. Now it’s like 88-90 with good depth. Sometimes it gets classified as a sinker.”

Laurila: You said it’s a circle?

Hankins: “Yes. There’s nothing all that funky about the grip. I just let it roll out of my hand like a regular circle changeup. There’s not… like if I over-pronate, I tend to fly open. It’s kind of like a mental thing where I’m trying to break it more, which isn’t what I should be doing. Your arm naturally pronates. It turns over that way, so when I over-pronate, it just sails on me. I miss really bad. You don’t want miss really bad. Right?”
 

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A Conversation With Cleveland Indians Pitching Prospect Ethan Hankins
by David Laurila
January 16, 2020
As of now, when do you project to be Young Hankinstein’s ETA?
 

AZ_

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As of now, when do you project to be Young Hankinstein’s ETA?
2022 best case, IMO

Start 20 in Low A, get to A+ by EOY
Start 21 in A+ or AA, progress to AA or AAA depending.

Maybe gets the late nod in Sept 21 if he blows it away. But I'd bet on pushing his service time to 22 and him getting into the mix around then.
 

Derek

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FWIW Baseball America is my preferred outlet for rankings and prospect reports.
 
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Derek

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Reading Baseball America's top 100 for 2020 and one thing that stuck out to me was Nolan Jones's exit velocity. His average was 92 mph, higher the Wander Franco and Luis Robert, the #1 and #2 prospects.

The only one I saw higher was Jo Adell, the #3 prospect, at 93 mph.

If our hitting instructors can continue to work with Jones on his launch angle, he could be a big-time power guy.
 

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Reading Baseball America's top 100 for 2020 and one thing that stuck out to me was Nolan Jones's exit velocity. His average was 92 mph, higher the Wander Franco and Luis Robert, the #1 and #2 prospects.

The only one I saw higher was Jo Adell, the #3 prospect, at 93 mph.

If our hitting instructors can continue to work with Jones on his launch angle, he could be a big-time power guy.
Thats all I have been asking for. For the love of God find Franmil & BB some contact coaches.

 

Derek

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TOP 10
PLAYER REPORTS
  1. Nolan Jones | 3B

    Born: May 7, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Drafted: HS--Bensalem, Pa., 2016 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Mike Kanen.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 60. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 60. Run: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Jones was one of the players the Indians targeted with their first-round pick in 2016. The team instead selected Will Benson 14th overall and didn’t expect to see Jones still on the board when they next picked at No. 55. But he remained available and the Tribe didn’t pass on the Pennsylvania prep product a second time, happy to be able to select one of the best high school hitters in the draft class. He’s lived up to that reputation in pro ball, showing off his offensive ability at every stop in the minor leagues. In 2017, Jones led the New York-Penn League in OPS (.912) as a 19-year old and has followed that up in full-season ball. He had a busy 2019, beginning the year with high Class A Lynchburg, where he played well enough in 79 games to be selected to the Carolina League all-star team. He also was selected for the Futures Game and the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game, and in July was promoted to Double-A Akron. His season came to an end in October when he re-aggravated an injury to his right thumb and had surgery to repair a ligament. He is expected to be back to full strength to start 2020.

    Scouting Report: Jones has an easy lefthanded swing and uses the whole field to hit. He is a patient hitter and has led all Indians’ minor leaguers in walks in back-to-back seasons (89 in 2018, 96 in 2019), though his patience also means that he often works in deep counts and will always strike out fairly often as a result. He has plus raw power and has started to turn that into in-game production. Jones fits the third-base profile but throughout his career has dealt with questions about his ability to stay at the position. He has plus arm strength and has worked hard to improve his defense and infield actions, especially when ranging to the right. He’s improved his footwork and agility, giving him a strong chance to stay at the hot corner. While the Indians generally work to add versatility to all their position players, Jones has played exclusively third base since he was in Rookie ball. Still, his athleticism and speed should play in the outfield if required.

    The Future: After his impressive 2019 and stint in the AFL, Jones is nearing the big leagues and will likely open 2020 with Triple-A Columbus. He’s a potential impact bat who also stands out for his work ethic. His impending big league debut and Jose Ramirez’s versatility gives the Indians options over the next couple of years, but even if Ramirez stays in the hot corner, Jones’ offensive ability is such that the team will find a way to get them both into the lineup.


  2. Tyler Freeman | SS

    Born: May 21, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 170
    Drafted: HS--Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., 2017 (2nd round supp).
    Signed By: Mike Bradford.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 40. Run: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55.

    Track Record: Freeman turned in a stellar first full pro season in 2018 that saw him lead the New York-Penn League in a host of offensive categories, including batting (.352) and slugging (.511), as a 19-year-old. He followed that with an impressive 2019, earning a promotion to high Class A Lynchburg in his first taste of full-season ball. Despite being one of the youngest players in the Carolina League, he more than held his own after his promotion to Lynchburg and is now a career .319/.379/.441 hitter.

    Scouting Report: Freeman stands out most for his hittability and excellent feel for the barrel. He has a very aggressive approach at the plate and rarely walks, but when he swings, he makes contact. Thanks to his ability to consistently square balls up, he has doubles pop now and may be able to add more power as he physically matures. Freeman was drafted as a shortstop and the Indians are developing him at that position. He’s shown improvement with his hands, infield actions and instincts. He’s still an average runner with average arm strength, however, which limits his range and might ultimately push him to second base, especially in a system with as many high-end defensive shortstops. Regardless of where he ends up defensively, his bat will stand out.

    The Future: Freeman is on the leading edge of the Indians’ group of young middle infielders, meaning he can move quickly through the system. That probably means he’s ready for Double-A Akron in 2020.


  3. Bo Naylor | C

    Born: Feb 21, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Drafted: HS--Mississauga, Ont., 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: Mike Kanen.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 50. Run: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

    Track Record: Naylor, the younger brother of Padres first baseman Josh Naylor, compiled a long track record of success as an amateur, especially facing premium competition with the Canadian Junior National Team. That helped ease his transition into his first year of pro ball, when he found success as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League.

    Scouting Report: Naylor, like his older brother, has standout offensive tools, but he’s a different kind of hitter. He’s more hit over power, though he has solid pop as well. He has an advanced hit tool thanks to his smooth swing, pitch recognition and approach. His power showed up more in 2019 than it had previously, and he makes consistent hard contact and has the ability to drive the ball. Naylor is an above-average runner and his athleticism plays well behind the plate. He earns high grades for pitch-framing, and his strong arm helped him throw out 37 percent of basestealers, but teams were still very willing to test him, attempting 128 stolen bases in 85 games. Still, Naylor has proven himself enough defensively to largely quell any talk of him moving to third base, where he played a lot as an amateur.

    The Future: Naylor will continue to work on refining his defensive skills in 2020 at high Class A Lynchburg, when he will be just 20 years old.


  4. George Valera | OF

    Born: Nov 13, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 160
    Drafted: Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Jhonathan Leyba/ Domingo Toribio.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 55. Run: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

    Track Record: The Indians made a splash on the international market in 2017 and signed Valera, the fifth-ranked player in the class to a $1.3 million deal. He was born in New York and lived there until his family moved to the Dominican Republic when he was 13. After a broken hamate limited him to six games in 2018, he spent most of 2019 with short-season Mahoning Valley, where he was the youngest position player in the league, before a late-season promotion to low Class A Lake County.

    Scouting Report: Valera has a loose, compact swing and keeps his bat in the zone for a long time. His feel for the barrel, bat-to-ball skills, pitch recognition and discipline all help him to make consistent, hard contact and give him the kind of hittability the Indians covet. He has above-average raw power and gets to it in games well, hitting eight home runs in 46 games as an 18-year-old in the New York-Penn League. Valera profiles as a corner outfielder with average speed and arm strength.

    The Future: As an amateur, Valera drew comparisons to Juan Soto. He’s not going to match Soto’s meteoric rise to stardom, but he’s proven to be advanced enough to handle challenging assignments. He’ll likely return to Lake County to begin 2020 and another mid-season promotion could be in the cards.


  5. Brayan Rocchio | SS

    Born: Jan 13, 2001
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 150
    Drafted: Signed: Venezuela.
    Signed By: Jhonathan Leyba.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Very High
    Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 30. Run: 60. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50.

    Track Record: While the Indians made a big splash on the 2017 international market with the heralded signings of Aaron Bracho and George Valera, their move to ink Rocchio flew more under the radar. The Venezuelan native has quickly made his own mark, however. After a strong 2018 in Rookie Ball, he advanced to short-season Mahoning Valley, where he held his own as the third-youngest position player.

    Scouting Report: Rocchio doesn’t stand out physically but was nicknamed “The Professor” because of his high baseball IQ and game awareness when he was in the Rookie-level Arizona League. A switch-hitter, he has a smooth, consistent swing from both sides of the plate and excellent pitch recognition. He’s an aggressive hitter and consistently barrels up the ball. He’s likely always going hit be hit over power but as he physically matures he’ll start sending some of his line drives over the fence. Rocchio has largely answered any questions about his ability to stick at shortstop. He’s a plus runner, and his hands and arm are good enough for the position, especially because his instincts and baseball IQ help his tools play up.

    The Future: Rocchio is on an accelerated track and there’s no reason to slow him down now. He’ll head to low Class A Lake County for his first taste of full-season ball.


  6. Daniel Espino | RHP
    Born: Jan 5, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 205
    Signed By: Ethan Purser
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: Espino was born in Panama before moving to the United States when he was 15. He enrolled at Georgia Premier Academy, where he was able to continue his education while also adopting a close to professional mindset. That approach was apparent when he arrived at the Indians’ complex in Arizona after they drafted him 24th overall. His performance and mentality allowed him to become first prep player the Indians have promoted to short-season Mahoning Valley during his pro debut since Francisco Lindor in 2011.

    Scouting Report: Espino was one of the best prep pitchers in the draft class and has big overall upside. He’s on the shorter end of what teams look for in a righthander, but his excellent athleticism, explosiveness and flexibility help him access his lower half in a way most pitchers his size cannot. That helps him produce elite velocity and his fastball reach 99 mph and sit at 96. He throws both a curveball and slider, with the slider earning better grades as a potential plus pitch. He also throws a firm changeup that needs refinement but has a chance to give him a fourth at least average offering. He has a long arm action but typically pitches with average control. He’ll need to refine his command as he faces more advanced hitters who are less susceptible to chasing his offspeed stuff.

    The Future: Espino has put himself on an accelerated track already and he’ll likely start his first full professional season with low Class A Lake County, where he and righthander Ethan Hankins will team up for a premium 1-2 punch the Indians hope will stick together all the way to Cleveland.


  7. Triston McKenzie | RHP

    Born: Aug 2, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 165
    Drafted: HS--Royal Palm Beach, Fla., 2015 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Juan Alvarez.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 60.

    Track Record: McKenzie has ranked as the Indians’ top prospect the last two years but that standing has slipped after an upper-back injury cost him all of 2019. The Indians have been very cautious with him throughout his career, partially due to his rail-thin frame. But he’s always shown exceptional upside, and he pitched in the 2017 Futures Game and reached Double-A in 2018 as a 20-year-old.

    Scouting Report: There have long been questions about McKenzie’s durability. He suffered from some forearm soreness early in 2018, but his 2019 injury might speak even more to his durability because it may stem from a lack of strength in his shoulder. If he can avoid similar issues going forward, however, he should be able to get back to the high-end upside he’s also long shown. His fastball sits at 92 and can touch 95. It plays up thanks to long extension and high spin rate. He also has a good feel for his curveball, which can be an out pitch, and his changeup has the potential to be an above-average offering. He commands the ball well and earns praise for his makeup and understanding of his craft.

    The Future: After missing all of 2019, McKenzie needs to get back on the mound and show that he’s ready to pitch a full season. He’s still just 22 and hasn’t been challenged much yet on the field. If he can get back to the level he was at a year ago, he’ll soon again be in position to work himself into the mix for a spot in the big leagues.


  8. Ethan Hankins | RHP

    Born: May 23, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 200
    Drafted: HS-- Gainesville, Ga., 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: C.T. Bradford.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

    Track Record: The Indians were thrilled to draft Hankins with the final pick of the first round in 2018. Following his performance the previous summer and fall, he had been considered the best prep player in the draft class but a minor shoulder injury in the spring caused him to slide on draft day. After introducing him to pro ball, the Indians eased back on the leash during his first full pro season and in August sent him to low Class A Lake County.

    Scouting Report: Hankins has a long, lean frame and uncommon athleticism for a pitcher of his size. At his best, he ran his fastball up to 97 mph and typically sits in the mid 90s with plus life. He has the makings of quality secondary pitches, but they’ll need to become more consistent offerings.His slider and changeup both have the ability to be above-average offerings and he also throws a bigger curveball, though it lags behind his other pitches. Hankins controls his arsenal well, but it will be important for him to maintain his delivery as he grows into his large frame.

    The Future: Hankins’ impressive first full season was a reminder of just how big his upside can be. He’s set to start back with Lake County where he and Daniel Espino will make for an impressive 1-2 punch that the Indians hope will stick together all the way to the big leagues.


  9. Aaron Bracho | 2B
    Born: Apr 24, 2001
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 175
    Drafted: Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
    Signed By: Hernan Albornoz/Rafael Cariel.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD
    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 45

    Track Record: The Indians spent big on the 2017 international market. Bracho, who was ranked as a top-20 player in the class, as well as outfielder George Valera and shortstop Brayan Rocchio were a part of that class and now rank as top-10 prospects for the club. Bracho was banged up at the outset of his career and missed 2018 due to an arm injury. He was back to full health in 2019 and made his professional debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League and earned a late-season bump to short-season Mahoning Valley, where he joined Valera and Rocchio.

    Scouting Report: A switch-hitter, Bracho has a smooth, compact swing from both sides of the plate and produces good bat speed. He has an advanced approach and walked more than he struck out in Arizona, a rarity for an 18-year-old with limited game experience. Listed at just 5-foot-11, he has more power than his frame suggests, and he could end up hitting for at least average power. Bracho was signed as a shortstop but he’s already moved to second base. His hands and range are good enough to keep him there, but he’s likely to be more of an offensive second baseman.

    The Future: After an impressive debut, it’s easy to see why Bracho had as much hype as he did as an amateur. He’s probably advanced enough to start 2020 with low Class A Lake County as Rocchio’s double-play partner, but the Indians middle-infield depth and his minimal game experience may lead to him coming back to Mahoning Valley to start the summer.
  10. Gabriel Rodriguez | SS
    Born: Feb 22, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 174
    Drafted: Signed: Venezuela, 2018.
    Signed By: Hernan Albornoz.
    VIEW PLAYER CARD

    BA Grade: 55. Risk: Extreme
    Tool Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55.

    Track Record: The Indians’ 2018 international signing class wasn’t as big as the 2017 group that produced three of the club’s top-10 prospects, but in Rodriguez it has a true headliner. The Venezuelan native was the eighth-ranked player overall in the 2018 class and lived up to the hype with an impressive pro debut in 2019, earning a midseason promotion to the Rookie-level Arizona League.

    Scouting Report: Rodriguez stands out for his consistency and all-around tools. He has a short, simple swing and an advanced approach at the plate. As he physically matures, he figures to develop at least average power and he has already shown the ability to drive balls to all fields. He shows plenty of power potential during batting practice. The next step is to learn how to take it with him into games. His strong arm and instinctive actions will allow him to stay in the infield, likely at third base, if he does need to move.

    The Future: Rodriguez is advanced enough to follow an aggressive developmental track, much like the premium players in the 2017 class. That would likely mean he starts 2020 back in Arizona and will have a chance to advance to short-season Mahoning Valley later in the summer.
 

Derek

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Thats all I have been asking for. For the love of God find Franmil & BB some contact coaches.

Power is a bit overrated. It's why I've never been particularly high on Bobby Bradley.

The main thing that has me high on Nolan Jones is his athleticism and an advanced approach at the plate.

His walk rate has been tremendous at all levels.
 

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I'm going to have to make an effort to get out to Lake County a few times this year

Is Jones expected to start with Columbus? I thought it would be more likely be has a brief stay in Akron first
 

MadThinker88

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I'm going to have to make an effort to get out to Lake County a few times this year

Is Jones expected to start with Columbus? I thought it would be more likely be has a brief stay in Akron first
First: I'm guessing Jones starts the season in Akron & Freeman starts the season in Lynchburg. Both would be in line for moving up during the season if they are performing well.

As for getting to a few games - Perhaps a few of us should arrange a group outing to share observations and thoughts on what is seen...
 

MadThinker88

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Can you explain the risk ratings for me?

Do they ever have a risk rating of low or medium?
Those risk ratings are from BA. As for Low/ Medium risk ratings - Triston McKenzie was listed as Medium in the 2019 BA Handbook..

Medium risk rankings in 2019 were also given to Keston Hiura, Alex Verdugo, Will Smith (LAD), Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette & Victor Robles. Wander Franco had a very high risk ranking in 2019..

A Low risk ranking was given to Caleb Ferguson (LAD)..
 

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