Gabriel Arias, INF, Cleveland Indians
So far, in a very limited sample size, it would appear the Cleveland Indians are the early winners of the 2020 Mike Clevinger trade. Josh Naylor showed plenty of flashes this season before a gruesome leg injury, and Cal Quantrill turned a corner in July and blossomed into an actual major league caliber starting pitcher. The book is still out on Logan Allen, but the next player to tip the scales of this trade is Gabriel Arias.
Arias didn’t play in 2020 like most minor-leaguers, but upon arriving with Cleveland this spring he jumped from High-A ball in the Padres system all the way to Triple-A Columbus at just 21-years old. He’s primarily a shortstop with plenty of experience at the hot corner, and even a handful of games logged at second base.
Arias’ defense has come a long way in a relatively short time after committing 67 errors between rookie ball and High-A in the Padres system to registering just 10 so far in Triple-A.
His bat has also been developing nicely as the Triple-A season has progressed, slashing his way to a .280/.357/.451 line after an abysmal May to begin the year. He’s chipped in 14 doubles and nine home runs in 72 games this season, doing most of the damage in July where he slashed .310/.361/.520 in 26 games.
For Arias to transition from High-A to Triple-A after not playing all of 2020 has been nothing short of impressive, and if he can come close to his last full season of production at one level that saw him slash .302/.339/.470 with 21 doubles, 17 home runs and 75 runs driven in then he will be a legitimate threat.
Arias is the prospect that I personally have the highest hopes for in Cleveland’s current farm system. He represents a very flexible infield option with a still developing hit tool that could use some major league seasoning this September. The Indians would have to get creative if they intend to keep Owen Miller and Ernie Clement on the roster, but Arias may very well take the job by force if given an opportunity.