Oscar Gonzalez, OF, Cleveland Indians
The Indians are not nearly as deep in the minors with outfield talent as they are infielders, and the prospects the team does have high hopes for are mostly Double-A and lower. Recent promotion Richard Palacios is the only other top 30 outfield prospect according to MLB.com currently in Triple-A with Daniel Johnson, so it’s somewhat surprising the first choice for the outfield is outside the top 30 list. Cleveland fans, meet Oscar Gonzalez.
Gonzalez signed with the Indians as a member of the 2014 international class, and has worked his way to Triple-A Columbus at just 23-years-old. The best news about him? Gonzalez has been a hitting machine at almost every level of the minors in his six-year pro career.
He has a career slash line of .282/.311/.435 across all levels of the Tribe organization, and a .311/.347/.544 slash line in 2021 split between Akron and Columbus.
The other good news about Gonzalez? Unlike some other outfielders in recent memory in The Land, Gonzalez has mashed both right and left-handed pitching in his time in the minors. He has an excellent track record his entire pro career, but so far has hit .314 against righties and .293 against Southpaws in 2021. Coming in at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, there’s plenty of power to be packed into a frame that’s already hit 110 doubles and 53 home runs in the minors.
To further build on his hitting prowess, Gonzalez currently leads the entire farm system in hits, home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. If there’s an area to watch with Gonzalez, it’s a 23.3% strikeout rate paired with just a 3.7% walk rate, pointing to a player that makes a ton of contact, but needs some patience at the plate.
He’s played just 22 games with the Clippers this season, so it may be premature to throw him to the wolves this September, but we’ve seen the alternatives outside of Harold Ramirez this year. He couldn’t possibly be any worse.