Indians have new No. 1 prospect in Freeman

Cleveland well-represented in updated Top 100 list

August 21st, 2021
David Monseur/

CLEVELAND -- For the first time since 2017, the Indians have a top prospect whose name isn’t Triston McKenzie or Nolan Jones.

MLB Pipeline released updated midseason prospect rankings on Thursday and named shortstop the top prospect in Cleveland's organization. Although Freeman was shut down for the year after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder -- his non-throwing arm -- on Aug. 9, the excitement about his future is still prevalent.

Assuming his rehab goes well over the offseason, Freeman could easily find himself in the middle-infield mix at some point in 2022. The Indians will have a lot to figure out in regards to who will be manning second base and shortstop next season with Owen Miller, Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Freeman, Gabriel Arias (No. 4 in Cleveland’s Top 30) and Richard Palacios (No. 15).

Prior to his season-ending injury, Freeman was putting up impressive numbers in Double-A Akron, posting a .323 average with an .842 OPS, 14 doubles, two triples, two homers, 19 RBIs, eight walks, 21 strikeouts and four stolen bases in 41 games.

As he sits atop Cleveland’s prospect list, Freeman also found himself No. 65 overall in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. The Indians have four other representatives on the master list, including outfielder George Valera (No. 69 overall, No. 2 for Cleveland), third baseman Jones (No. 74, No. 3 for Cleveland), Arias (No. 89) and right-hander Daniel Espino (No. 100, No. 5 for Cleveland).

Indians excited for Williamsport trip

The Indians are prepared to quickly step away from Progressive Field in the middle of a nine-game homestand to host the Angels at Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field on Sunday in Williamsport, Pa., as part of the fourth annual MLB Little League Classic.

“I've never been,” Cleveland acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. “Throughout this last road trip games were on TV. You get to look at a couple of innings and you see the joy and passion of those kids. Also, you see the disappointment, too. I happened to watch one kid make an error and you saw the disappointment, but also the love of the game. So, I'm looking forward to it. I'm more interested to see the stadium that we're going to play at, too. It's an older Minor League stadium, so I figure the dimensions are legit. It's going to be a good time.”

Right-hander Cal Quantrill will get the ball for the event and is excited to see the place he’s watched on television for so many years, and also hang out with kids who have the same dream he once did.

“It’s much cooler when we see kids come to our games,” Quantrill said. “And it’s really, really cool when you see kids who want to do what we’re doing because they love coming to our games. I think any kind of community giveback, outreach, anything that has to do with the kids is always a bonus. I think this game is a great idea.”

CC honored with field dedication

The Indians invited former AL Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia to Cleveland on Friday afternoon to be recognized at Luke Easter Park with a youth baseball field named in his honor.

CC Sabathia Field at Luke Easter Park was filled with local kids from the Cleveland area who gathered to listen to Sabathia talk about the honor -- they also got autographs and photos with the former Indian. The organization announced a partnership with Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation and Get In The Game with local Cleveland metropolitan school district programs to address racial justice and equality in the community.

“It was incredible to be a part of that and have a field dedicated in my name on Larry Doby Drive and at Luke Easter Park. It means a lot,” Sabathia said. “The reason we started our foundation was to help kids in the inner city, and to be able to have the Indians recognize that and have a field named after me means so much.

“And to have those kids out there while I’m making the speech, it just made me think of myself sitting up watching Dave Stewart at the same time. It just came full circle. Like I just got goosebumps now just thinking about it. I have a field named after me in Cleveland. Not in my hometown -- Vallejo [, Calif.] -- where it’s one of those things where you expect it. But here, it’s special.”