Daniel Espino, SP, Cleveland Indians
One player in the organization that we really have talked about a whole lot here is Daniel Espino. Now, the No. 5 prospect for the organization, Espino was a first round pick by the Tribe in the 2019 MLB Draft. At just 20-years old, he’s already looking impressive for High-A Lake County.
Being so young, it will probably be a couple more seasons before Espino makes it to the big league level, but he’ll turn 21 in January so that’s not much of an issue. The good news is that by the time he’s ready, Cleveland will likely need him.
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If this season has taught us anything it’s that a team can never have too many starting pitchers ready for the big leagues. Getting Espino to that point will be key over the next couple seasons. While the starting rotation might be locked up for now, injuries and struggles can derail those plans at any time.
The 2024 season is the last time that Shane Bieber will be under cheap team control with Plesac, Civale and Quantrill all following the next season. If Espino can be ready by the time that all happens, that would be a huge advantage for the club given their recent rate of moving expiring contracts.
It might seem a long time off that Espino could be replacing Bieber in the rotation, and hopefully not missing a beat, but the time between now and Opening Day 2025, about three and a half years, is the same amount of time that Bieber has been up in Cleveland.