Indians: Impending Rule 5 Draft decisions to be made

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Cleveland Indians
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The Near Locks

Daniel Johnson – OF
Triston McKenzie – RHP

I don’t like saying anyone is a 100% lock for anything, but I’d argue that Daniel Johnson and Triston McKenzie are about as close as you get. Johnson came to the Cleveland Indians in the Yan Gomes trade last year and had himself a real bounce-back season in 2019. He got selected for the Futures Game in Cleveland this past summer and had himself a heck of a year. He started the season in Double-A but was in Triple-A before long and helped the Columbus Clippers to the International League title.

Johnson is exactly the type of player the Indians could use in their outfield at the moment too: A left-handed hitting cOF (capable of playing CF) that has speed and pop. Between Akron and Columbus, he hit a robust .290/.361/.507 with 19 home runs, 34 doubles, and seven triples. He may actually compete for a big league outfield job in Spring Training and almost certainly will see the parent club at some point in 2020.

Triston McKenzie is the former first-round pick of the Indians who has been either at the top or near the top of Tribe prospect lists for a few years now. He’s had some setbacks with injuries the last couple years but still has the upside to dream on. Maybe he’s no longer a future “Ace” but it seems like worst case he should be able to help out a big league club in the bullpen. And given how the Tribe’s bullpen looks they’d be nuts to let another team steal him away.

That’s not to say McKenzie will be with the Indians organization come Opening Day. I could see him as a guy that’s traded this winter to improve the big league club too, but the value in a trade or the Indians is just too great. Like with Francisco Mejia a few years ago, this is a slam dunk easy pick, he’s being rostered.

Odds of each being rostered: 99.9%