Cleveland Indians: 5 internal options to be Cleveland’s shortstop of the future
Brayan Rocchio, 2B/SS, Cleveland Indians
Brayan Rocchio is a name that could potentially be making moves towards Cleveland in the coming season, but for now he finds himself at High-A Lake County. One of the notable players from the Tribe’s heralded 2017 crop of international signings (the class containing George Valera and Aaron Bracho as well), Rocchio hails from from Venezuela, and has made a good mark on the Indians organization thus far.
Cleveland’s No. 7 ranked prospect, Rocchio has slashed .264/.341/.447, with 13 homers and a .789 OPS this season. Given that he is only 20 and still in the lower levels of Minor League Baseball, he is probably not an immediate short-term option at shortstop for the Tribe going into 2022. That being said, continued growth and development in Akron and Columbus over the next season or two could put him on a trajectory to Cleveland by as early as 2023 or 2024, if he continues to perform at a strong level.
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Angel Martinez, 2B/SS, Cleveland Indians
The last prospect with shortstop-of-the-future potential is young infielder Angel Martinez. A shortstop by trade, he comes to Cleveland’s organization from the Dominican Republic, and was brought in via the 2018 international signing class.
He is currently ranked as the Tribe’s No. 8 overall prospect, and has a ways to go before he’ll find his way to Cleveland. In Low-A Lynchburg, Martinez has slashed .255/.327/.404, not a bad overall look in his first pro-baseball stop outside of rookie ball. While it is hard to imagine him having any kind of short-term impact on the pro club, he is a name worth watching as he develops in Cleveland’s system in the coming seasons.
If indeed Amed Rosario is moved from shortstop (or the organization) going into 2022, the Indians (who will be the Guardians by that point) will have a good selection of talent to evaluate in the spring. At some point, given the confines of the 40-man roster, the reality of the Rule 5 Draft, and the talent within Cleveland’s organization, moves will have to be made to ensure that the best talent is utilized and protected from other clubs.
Whether the front office believes that Andres Gimenez will blossom into the guy Cleveland hoped to get in return for Francisco Lindor, or if they opt to go with Gabriel Arias out of Columbus or Tyler Freeman out of Akron, the decisions they make will be crucial to the state of the organization as they move into 2022 and beyond.