The Cleveland Indians have made a few substantial moves in calling up some of their big name prospects from Triple-A Columbus. So who is next to get the big call from the Tribe?
We’ve seen the Cleveland Indians call up some of their more intriguing prospects from Triple-A this year. Shane Bieber answered the call and is quickly becoming a key piece for the team. Adam Plutko answered the call before Bieber and has earned three wins for the Tribe. Greg Allen also earned some big league playing time this year and made an impact.
So who is next? The Indians have a few big names in Triple-A that fans have been watching blossom this year. In the unfortunate event of injury, or simply because someone is playing hot; we may see yet another big call-up before the year is over. We take a look at who the lucky prospect could be.
Yandy Diaz spent nearly 50 games of the 2017 season with the Indians big-league club. He wasn’t blowing anybody away during his time in the Majors, but he has shown signs of hope in Triple-A Columbus this year.
Yandy has an OPS of .812, good for fourth on the Columbus roster. His bat still isn’t creating much havoc but when you look at his stats one thing really stands out. Diaz has 49 walks in 56 games. Its good for a BB% of 19.8. When you’re walking in almost 20 percent of you AB’s you’re doing something right.
Another factor that plays into Yandy’s favor is that he has big-league experience. Unfortunately for Yandy one thing that isn’t in his favor is that his bat isn’t quite getting it done. He does; however, have versatility on his side. Diaz can play OF as well as 3B and he does have two options remaining.
With injuries plaguing Bradley Zimmer and the continued struggles with his bat, Brandon Barnes has stepped up as a heavy hitting CF stud in Triple-A. Barnes joined the Tribe this offseason after being acquired by the Marlins in the Rule 5 draft. He’s played pro ball since ’06 and has spent Major League time with the Astros and Rockies.
Barnes has a team-high 26 doubles with Columbus and a team-high 43 RBI’s. His call-up is not likely unless a few detrimental injuries arise to the Tribe outfield, but his numbers with Columbus and could find himself in the International League All-Star game that will be in Columbus.
Barnes isn’t on the 40-man roster, but things may change if he continues to rack up RBIs for Columbus. He might be a long shot to make the big-league roster, but his efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Francisco Mejia seems like the sure-fire answer to this question. Mejia was called up for a day only to be sent right back down. We’ve mentioned in our roundtable that Mejia could find some playing time. But it may not be in his best interests.
While Roberto Perez has struggled, Mejia should be playing every day. He’s been able to do that to get his reps in to increase his AB’s. Mejia is tied for the lead in home-runs for the Clippers with six.
What is perhaps the most interesting trait Mejia has adapted this year is his ability to use the whole field. He is going opposite field 32 percent of the time and is pulling 47.1 percent of the time. It’s not much but it is a vast improvement of how much of a pull-hitter he’s been for much of his career.
The Tribe’s top prospect has a bit to go before he is MLB-ready. But if Tribe catcher Roberto Perez continues to struggle at the plate, Mejia could find playing time sooner than expected.
Last on our list is the Clippers closer, Ben Taylor. Taylor did not fare well in his MLB service time this year. He allowed four runs in six innings with two home runs. While the sample size was small, it’s clear he wasn’t ready just yet.
But Taylor has done well in Columbus. He leads the team in saves with five and has 32 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. His 2.39 ERA and one home run have made him look even more impressive in Triple-A. Allowing just four walks is pretty great too.
So while Ben Taylor needs a little bit more time to develop, maybe he’ll find himself back in an MLB bullpen soon enough.
All of these players have a chance at some playing time this year. The Indians have been plagued by the injury bug all year. While it’s never fun to see someone else be hurt or sent down, we’ve seen this year that when one door closes another opens. Looking at you, Shane Bieber.