The Cleveland Indians have decisions to make regarding the 40-man roster before tonight’s deadline passes, making players eligible for the 2016 Rule 5 Draft.
Today is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster to protect them from the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. The Cleveland Indians will have until 8 p.m. to finalize their roster and, like many teams, have some big time prospects that need to be added or risk being lost in the Rule 5 Draft later this offseason.
The Cleveland Indians’ 40-man roster currently stands at 38; however, two of those roster spots are held by Michael Martinez and Chris Gimenez, who can easily be designated for assignment (Martinez was earlier this year by the Indians in fact). Last year the Indians also cut reliever C.C. Lee at this time to create an extra spot so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see someone like Jesus Aguilar and/or Austin Adams let go as well.
In any case, here’s a look at a few of the players the Indians could look to roster before tonight’s deadline.
The Near Certainties
Francisco Mejia – C (60 games, 7 HR, 51 RBI, .347/.384/.531, 165 wRC+ at A; 42 games, 4 HR, 29 RBI, .333/.380/.488, 140 wRC+ at A+)
Mejia was signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2012. He made his debut in 2013 and has been a hot name ever since. He’s an offensive-minded catcher who was in the national news this summer thanks to a 50-game hitting streak.
The 21-year-old switch-hitter can hit for average and power as he hit over .330 at both Class-A Lake County and Advanced-A Lynchburg this season while slugging 11 home runs at the two stops.
He was also recently named the top prospect in the Cleveland Indians’ system by Baseball America. He’s been named a top prospect in all of baseball by several publications over the last couple years as well. In addition to being a great offensive catcher, Mejia has proven to be a very solid defensive catcher as well. He threw out 43-percent of would-be base stealers at both levels this season.
Despite not seeing Double-A yet and likely starting the 2017 season back at Lynchburg, Mejia is a guy that is a virtual lock to be added today. Sure, he’s still got a lot to work on including his game calling, but the upside is way too high to even think about exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft. Never say never but it would be a major shock if Mejia wasn’t on the 40-man roster this season.