Cleveland Indians: Rule 5 Draft roster decisions as deadline approaches

(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Longshots

Will Benson – OF
Ka’ai Tom – OF
Jose Fermin – INF

I don’t expect any of these players to be added but Will Benson is a former first-round pick so perhaps he gets some consideration. He’s an athletic outfielder that has an intriguing power/speed package, but has yet to put it all together.. He had a great season at Lake County in 2019, but then struggled when he moved up to Advanced-A Lynchburg. Strikeouts remain a huge issue and why I can’t see him being added or taken.

Ka’ai Tom is a player I’ve liked for a number of years and had at the back of my top 30 prospect list a few times. He screams fourth outfielder, but honestly so what? He can do a bit of everything and, in my opinion, can bring you as much as Greg Allen ever did. Given how bad the Tribe’s outfield has been it’s a shame he never has gotten a look, but he was eligible for the draft last year and no team took him. Odds are that happens again.

Jose Fermin gets lost in the plethora of infielders the Tribe has, but he’s maybe my favorite under-the-radar prospect. Not known for his bat, he hit very well in both 2018 and 2019 posting a 134 and 123 wRC+, respectively. He reached Lake County in 2019 and hit .293/.374/.379. He’s not going to give you any power, but did steal 28 bases. He can play either middle infield spot as well. A utility infielder probably but he feels like he could be a decent one.

Odds of any being added: <5%

Surprises and conclusions

Every so often the Cleveland Indians throw us a curveball and add someone that no one really expected. They did it with Danny Salazar nearly a decade ago and have done it with guys like Dylan Baker, Mejia, and Stamets more recently. So just because I didn’t mention a guy above doesn’t not mean they can’t or won’t be added, I just don’t think the odds are that high it happens…but I can be (and often am) wrong.

Relievers are tough to gauge with respect to the Rule 5 Draft. Some teams could see something in a player that others don’t and either protect him or leave him at risk and see him taken. The Indians haven’t been as big on adding strictly relievers of late though, opting more for the starting pitcher types like Mejia and Sam Hentges, guys who could move to the pen if needed.

Ultimately though I think the Indians add just three guys: Jones, Arias, and Morgan. Vargas is a guy I think the Indians take a gamble on and leave off though part of me hopes I’m wrong. I would love to see a guy like Clement or even Fermin/Tom added too, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

So who do you want/expect to see added? Did I leave off an obvious candidate? Let us know in the comments below.

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