Some Indians Prospects to Keep an Eye On in 2020 as Spring Training Gets Closer

Matt Loede

The 2020 Cleveland Indians are a team that likely is going to have to be made up of the veterans already on the roster and an influx of young players that will get chances once camp opens in Goodyear, Arizona.

The team already acquired one prospect this offseason in relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase, who is expected to be a part of the back end of the pen throwing over 100 miles per hour. Clase came to the Indians as part of the Corey Kluber deal which sent him to the Texas Rangers.

You can bet though that Clase is not going to be the only young player getting a chance, as the team has been grooming the players in the minor league to get ready to get a call, and once they are called upon they are expected to step in and be impactful at the Major League level.

While some of the very top prospects are still maybe one to two years away, you are going to hear their names a lot in 2020 as the team starts to push for those players to get ready to make an impact when they do get the call to Cleveland.

Here today is a list of some of those top players you’ll hear about in the minors in 2020, but get use to these names, as they will be here sooner than later and ready to do some damage for the Major League Tribe.

Nolan Jones (21-year-old 3B)

Expected MLB Debut: 2021

The 6-foot-2, 185 pound Jones is the top prospect for the Indians entering 2020, gaining that title by most of the prospect publications around baseball.

Jones had a strong finish to 2019, and was able to show what he could do at High-A Lynchburg as well as in AA Akron with the RubberDucks, where he likely will start in 2020. He hit 15 homers and drove in 63 runs in the minors last season, and really could use one complete year in AA and AAA to get more seasoned to get ready for the Majors.

A September callup is not out of the question, but right now there is no sense of urgency to force Jones to be at the Major League level anytime soon. Two more springs in Goodyear and another full year in the Minors will determine exactly when he’s wearing the script Indians in the Majors.

George Valera (19-year-old OF)

Expected MLB Debut: 2022

The Queens native inked a $1.2 million dollar bonus with the Indians back in 2017, showing how much faith they have that he will make an impact eventually at the Major League level.

Last season he continued to make strides and moved up the ranking to 47 in the top 50 of Baseball Prospectus, and it looks like he could move up even higher in 2020 if he stays motivated.

His bat has the franchise excited as some have said he’s got the natural talent to be a very good hitter at the Major League level. This is a very important year in his development as the team would love to see him move up the farm system, but he’s got to work on the strikeout percentage and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start 2020 at single-A Lake County.

Daniel Espino (19-year-old Right Handed Pitcher)

Expected MLB Debut: 2022

This 19-year-old from Panama was the Indians first-round pick with the 24 pick in the 2019 amateur draft, and last year got a chance to reach Mahoning Valley in his first extended look for the Tribe.

He has already in his time in the minor league levels showed good control for a young pitcher, and last year at Mahoning Valley struck out 18 batters with five walks.

Espino has a big fastball that has the Indians brass excited, one that during the Under Armour All-America Game reached 99 miles per hour.

This is a big season for the youngster to make more strides in the minors and continue to develop as he makes strides to eventually get to the Majors.

Tyler Freeman (20-year-old SS)

Expected MLB Debut: 2021

Freeman made the list as one of the top 100 prospects by Baseball America, and while people are wondering when the team is going to eventually trade Francisco Lindor, this very well could be your shortstop of the future.

Some say that if Lindor is dealt in July or after the season that it could open the door for Freeman if he can put together a good season in the minors in 2020.

He had everyone excited when he hit .352 at Mahoning Valley in 2018, and while his number dipped some on the offensive side in 2019, he still hit .319 with 25 strikeouts and eight walks at Lynchburg.

There will be a lot of pressure on Freeman in 2020 with one eye focused on getting to the Majors, but he has a lot of work to do to make that happen.