The Cleveland Indians have two prospects that placed in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. However, there are less heralded names that are flying under the radar, including Mitch Longo.
Mitch Longo was drafted by the Indians in the 14th round in 2016, and he has been an on-base machine since then. The 23 year old outfielder was born in Mayfield, Ohio, went to school at Ohio University, and has been a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Indians.
Perhaps that’s why he’s been playing so well in his first year and a half as a professional. In 2016, Longo finished with a .307 average and 11 extra base hits in just 38 games. That’s a pretty good debut. But he continued to improve in 2017, showing that he’s not intimidated by the professional stage and that this is no fluke.
In 60 games split between Low-A Lake County and High-A Lynchburg, Longo finished with an astounding .376/.448/.541 slash line, including 20 doubles, four homers, and 20 stolen bases. In High-A Lynchburg, Longo went 9-for-16 with four walks and a .563/.650/.688 line. Granted this was a very small sample size over five games, but it’s still a great stretch.
In just under 100 games as a professional, Longo has amassed a .349 average with a .902 OPS and 24 stolen bases.
What does Longo’s future look like?
Longo has all the tools of an ideal leadoff hitter. He hits for a high average, he’s fast, he doesn’t strike out a lot, and he can draw walks. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he doesn’t need to. Being drafted out of college, Longo already had an advanced bat, so he needs less development time than those players drafted out of high school.
Longo got a taste of High-A Lynchburg at the end of last season, and he figures to start there again in 2018. But he may not be there for long. If he continues to hit for a high average, he should be in Double-A at some point in 2018. And once you make it to Double-A, you’re just one phone call away from the majors.
While it’s unlikely Longo reaches the majors this year, it’s not impossible. The likeliest outcome is that Longo will get a chance in 2019. If he stays at his current pace, he could be in line for a Spring Training invite in 2019. Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall are scheduled to be free agents and may not return after this season. That could present an opportunity for Longo.
He’s spent most of his professional career in right field, meaning he has a strong throwing arm. He’s also played some center field as well. Overall, Longo has a bright future ahead, and he’s just getting started.
It would be an absolute dream come true for Longo to make it to the majors with the Cleveland Indians. Putting on that uniform for the first time would no doubt be surreal for him. Hopefully everything goes right and Indians fans can see him in Progressive Field soon.