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Pipeline names Indians' Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- When last season began, Shane Bieber was with Class A Lake County, four Minor League rungs below the big leagues. Now, the rookie right-hander is a trusted part of the Indians' pitching staff for the upcoming American League Division Series against the Astros.

For farmhands like pitcher Eli Morgan -- named the Indians' 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline -- Bieber is the latest example that Cleveland will push players who not only turn in strong results, but exhibit Major League characteristics behind the scenes. Process plus performance can put any player on a swift path to the Majors.

CLEVELAND -- When last season began, Shane Bieber was with Class A Lake County, four Minor League rungs below the big leagues. Now, the rookie right-hander is a trusted part of the Indians' pitching staff for the upcoming American League Division Series against the Astros.

For farmhands like pitcher Eli Morgan -- named the Indians' 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline -- Bieber is the latest example that Cleveland will push players who not only turn in strong results, but exhibit Major League characteristics behind the scenes. Process plus performance can put any player on a swift path to the Majors.

"I think there's a group of players that sees that and says, 'Hey, that could be me,'" said Carter Hawkins, the Indians' assistant general manager. "There's another group, which hopefully is the majority, that says, 'What did he do outside of just performance?' Because, there's a lot of guys that perform really well. What Shane was able to do was to prepare like a Major Leaguer from the time he started in A ball. And so, the foundation that he built allowed us to feel very confident in pushing him."

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Besides Morgan, MLB Pipeline also honored third baseman Nolan Jones as the Indians' 2018 Hitter of the Year. Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

Jones is currently No. 2 on the Tribe's Top 30 list, while Morgan checks in at No. 15.

The 22-year-old Morgan was selected in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Gonzaga and has gone 12-9 with a 2.83 ERA in his first two professional seasons. Over 178 1/3 innings in the Minors, the right-hander has amassed 214 strikeouts compared to 43 walks.

This past season, Morgan climbed from Lake County to Class A Advanced Lynchburg, going 9-7 with a 3.27 ERA overall with 156 strikeouts vs. 34 walks in 143 1/3 innings. Hawkins noted that Morgan generated a surplus of swing-and-miss with his changeup, which is the prospect's primary out pitch.

"He has a really, really good changeup. He has the ability to miss bats that way," Hawkins said. "That's probably been his bread and butter, as he's kind of shot through the system, getting up to Lynchburg this year. He's going to have to continue to improve the overall stuff around that command and that feel for his offspeed, and to continue to be able to miss bats the way he has.

"He has a really good feel to pitch. He's probably pitching beyond his years right now in terms of know-how. We're really excited about the foundation he's built for himself, and we're looking for him to take that next step next year to enhance the stuff."

Video: Top Prospects: Nolan Jones, 3B, Indians

Jones, 20, was taken by Cleveland in the second round of the 2016 Draft out of Holy Ghost Prep in Philadelphia. This past season, the 6-foot-4 lefty-swinging Jones turned in a .283/.405/.466 slash line with 19 home runs, 21 doubles, 66 RBIs and 69 runs scored. Jones drew 89 walks and struck out 131 times.

"He really improved his plate discipline and just had a better understanding of who he was as a hitter," Hawkins said. "He's got a hockey background, so he's got that edge to him as well on the field, that competitive edge. That's really great to see. And he's improved his defense significantly at third -- his range, his arm, all those those have ticked up.

"Hopefully, he continues that progress and that's a position he'll be able to stay at. He's a guy you'd only think that more experience he gets, the more power is going to come into play as well. He's a guy we're really, really excited about." 

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians

Haase, Edwards among first wave of callups

Davis actiated from DL; Marshall designated for assignment; Donaldson's arrival imminent
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- It's been a busy 24 hours for the Indians' front office.

The club announced Saturday it had selected the contracts of catcher Eric Haase -- the team's No. 24 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- and right-handed reliever Jon Edwards from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland also activated outfielder Rajai Davis from the 10-day disabled list, and designated right-hander Evan Marshall for assignment.

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CLEVELAND -- It's been a busy 24 hours for the Indians' front office.

The club announced Saturday it had selected the contracts of catcher Eric Haase -- the team's No. 24 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- and right-handed reliever Jon Edwards from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland also activated outfielder Rajai Davis from the 10-day disabled list, and designated right-hander Evan Marshall for assignment.

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The moves came just hours after the club acquired former American League MVP Josh Donaldson, along with cash considerations, from the Blue Jays. The Indians are responsible for $1 million of the third baseman's $23 million salary this season.

The club said Donaldson would arrive in Cleveland on Saturday but wasn't sure when he would play, as the 32-year-old is still rehabbing a left calf injury that's sidelined him since late May.

"[Donaldson] is an MVP-type player, a middle-of-the-order bat," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He kinda puts a little fear into you when he gets in the batter's box. He plays with an edge; he plays hard. Again, there's no crystal ball, and we know that. We know there's a risk there, but it's got a chance to make us better."

Video: MLB Tonight on Donaldson being traded to the Indians

Both September callups are excited to help the Tribe secure its third consecutive AL Central title, but the news was even sweeter for Edwards, who has bounced around the Majors since 2014.

"It was a little like the first time I got called up, I'm not going to lie," said Edwards, an outfielder-turned-pitcher who missed 2016 and '17 due to an elbow injury and recovery from Tommy John surgery. "It was a long road, and I'm excited to be here, and I feel like I'm in the right place. I'm just happy to be a part of the team, really."

Edwards, 30, spent parts of 2014 and '15 with the Rangers before he was traded to the Padres in August. He signed a Minor League contract with the Tribe on March 22 and has split time between Double-A Akron and Columbus, going 2-1 with four saves and a 3.63 ERA in 34 relief appearances.

"He's been an interesting arm," Francona said. "Mid-90s fastball, some experience, a guy who could potentially help us next year, too, so we wanted to get a look at him."

Haase was the Tribe's seventh-round Draft pick in 2011, and hit .236/.288/.443 in 120 games with the Clippers. This marks Haase's first big league promotion.

"I feel like I've learned a lot," Haase said. "Defensively, I feel like I've made good strides. I get along great with the staff down there. … Offensively, I feel like I learned a lot, too. There have been times where I've really struggled this year, and then times where I really turned it around.

"It's been a big learning curve."

Worth noting
• Francona said with the addition of Donaldson, All-Star Jose Ramirez will move back to second base, his native position, and Jason Kipnis will begin taking reps in center field once Donaldson is back to playing condition. Francona has been on record before saying he wasn't in favor of moving Ramirez and Kipnis around, but said he got the blessing of all parties involved.

Video: Antonetti discusses acquisition of Donaldson

• Right-hander Trevor Bauer (10-day DL, right fibula stress fracture) has thrown a couple bullpen sessions, but trainers told Francona the starter has made "minimal improvement" after undergoing a scan Saturday to evaluate Bauer's progress. The news, however, was expected for the three-week mark of the injury. Francona added Bauer has felt "minimal soreness" when throwing off the mound, but there's still no return date in sight.

"The medical people told me was that every day he shows up, they plan out the day depending on how he's feeling," Francona said. "That's the way they'll continue to do it."

• Reliever Cody Anderson was at Progressive Field to throw a bullpen session as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander has been sidelined since 2017, but began a rehab assignment with Class A on Thursday, and will continue his rehab with Double-A Akron.

• Francona also said right-hander Neil Ramirez (10-day DL, lower back spasms) should be activated Sunday.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. You can follow him on Twitter @Casey_Harrison1.

Cleveland Indians, Jon Edwards, Eric Haase

Top prospect finds home in Indians system

17-year-old Valera, ranked 5th in organization by MLB Pipeline, can play all three outfield positions
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Indians prospect George Valera used to consider the Dominican Republic his second home, the place where he visited family and always had a great time, but it wasn't really his home-home.

Valera was a native New Yorker, a kid from the Bronx with tons of talent and bright future in the United States. His parents were the ones raised in San Pedro de Macoris, not him.

PHOENIX -- Indians prospect George Valera used to consider the Dominican Republic his second home, the place where he visited family and always had a great time, but it wasn't really his home-home.

Valera was a native New Yorker, a kid from the Bronx with tons of talent and bright future in the United States. His parents were the ones raised in San Pedro de Macoris, not him.

By 12, Valera had scholarship offers to play at some of the top high schools in the city. At 13, he was living in the middle of San Pedro with his parents after a family crisis flipped his life upside down.

"I was so mad at first and my Spanish wasn't the best, but I had to go," said Valera, 17, who when he moved was at the age domestic and international scouts start to pay attention. "I had everything in New York and life in the Dominican is so much different, but I had no choice. You go where your parents go."

The adjustment to everyday life in the D.R. wasn't easy and it was hard for him to leave his two older siblings, who were both in their 30s, but the teenager's experience helped to shape him into the young man he is today. The Indians are reaping the rewards of his development. Valera, who ranked No. 22 on MLB.com's Top International Prospect List in 2017, is ranked No. 5 among the club's prospects.

"One of the interesting things about him is that he can adapt to anything, and he's a guy that can play all three in outfield positions, so there are a lot of options," said Indians farm director James Harris. "He's also physically mature for his age, there's some speed there, and some pop in the bat that's only going to get better. When you see him play, you don't see a 17-year-old, you see a guy that's advanced. You a see a guy that's mature and not just mature on the field."

Valera, who signed a $1.3 million bonus with the Indians on July 2, 2017, shined during extended spring training in Arizona and was among the youngest players to participate in the Arizona Rookie League this year. He was sidelined early in the season after breaking the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging in a game. Valera was off to a hot start in the AZL before the injury, reaching base in each of his first six games and going 6-for-18 with a double, homer, three walks and six RBIs. He is expected resume play in the Dominican Instructional League later this summer.

Video: Top International Prospects: George Valera, OF

"He needs some at-bats and we'll make sure he gets them," Harris said. "Then he'll come to Spring Training and we'll see where he goes from there."

Going back home to Dominican Republic will be much easier this time. Valera's family originally moved back to the island four years ago after his father was in a car accident that damaged his arms and legs so severely that metal rods were inserted. The New York winters proved to be too hard on his father, so the family moved back to the warm Caribbean climate. The Valeras eventually started a real estate company and opened a flower shop.

The teen will also get a chance to fulfil the promise he made to his mother to earn a high school diploma. Before Valera signed with the Indians, he attended a school in the Dominican Republic. He continued his studies online and completed his final exam earlier this month.

"My mother is strict, and school has always been important to her," Valera said. "I remember having to go to school in the mornings and in the Dominican, baseball programs usually operate in the mornings, so I would miss out. I remember going to couple of programs and they didn't let me hit or anything. They just looked at body and asked my age and told me to come back another day because they were too busy to train me. I was a nobody."

Valera spent most of those early days on the island in a frustrating search for a place to train. Arias & Goodman Baseball Academy finally took a chance on him after watching the desperate teen try out in his school uniform. The Indians eventually saw him, too, and later offered him a deal.

"In hindsight, our international scouts were right about him," Harris said. "And once you meet him in person and see how he interacts, there is character that goes with his high level of play. Those are the type of players you look for and that's exactly who he is."

It didn't take long for Valera to assume a leadership role, even among his older teammates, once he signed. Fluent in Spanish and English, Valera can communicate with everyone in the clubhouse. He also understands both cultures, and their struggles, so he often serves as a bridge between his English- and Spanish-speaking teammates.

"I just appreciate things more than I ever did," Valera said. "I understand how hard people worked to get off the island and I know what people in the United States have to go through. It's different. It all just opened my mind so much."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians

Indians bolster outfield with Martin from Tigers

Club also receives Minor Leaguer from Detroit in return for prospect Castro
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was not a blockbuster move that stole the spotlight on a hectic Tuesday around the Majors, but it was a trade that made a lot of sense for the Indians.

Prior to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Tribe reeled in center fielder Leonys Martin from the Tigers in exchange for shortstop prospect Willi Castro. Detroit also sent Double-A starter Kyle Dowdy to Cleveland as part of the deal, which was the second Major League move made by the Tribe during the trade season.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- It was not a blockbuster move that stole the spotlight on a hectic Tuesday around the Majors, but it was a trade that made a lot of sense for the Indians.

Prior to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Tribe reeled in center fielder Leonys Martin from the Tigers in exchange for shortstop prospect Willi Castro. Detroit also sent Double-A starter Kyle Dowdy to Cleveland as part of the deal, which was the second Major League move made by the Tribe during the trade season.

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The Indians have been trying to patch together an outfield riddled with injuries, and Martin brings plus defense in center field and a bat to help against right-handed pitching. On Monday night, rumors flew that the Indians had inquired with the Nationals about the availability of superstar Bryce Harper. Washington elected to stand pat, so Cleveland's talks veered down a more realistic path.

"We explored a lot of alternatives to try to address and improve our outfield," said Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations. "We were really pleased to be able to acquire Leonys Martin. We think he's a great complement to our roster."

Martin is scheduled to land in Minnesota on Tuesday night and will be officially added to the active roster for Wednesday's game in the Twin Cities.

Tweet from @leonys27martin: I would like to thank the Detroit fans for all of your support during my short stay in Motor City. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff, you were great. Cleveland thank you for the new opportunity. I am ready!

All-Star Michael Brantley has provided the only source of stability in the Indians' outfield, manning left field while center and right have lost players to injury left and right. Center fielder Bradley Zimmer (right shoulder) is out for eight to 12 months. Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf) could be down for the year. Outfielder Tyler Naquin (stress reaction in his right hip) is on the 10-day DL and will see a specialist later this week.

Martin can take over the bulk of the innings in center, splitting time with veteran Rajai Davis, who can get starts against lefties and offer speed off the bench. In 638 1/3 innings in center this season, the 30-year-old Martin had recorded three Defensive Runs Saved. His 13.4 UZR/150 ranks second among qualified MLB center fielders, as do the 8.2 fielding runs above average logged this year.

"We lost Zimmer, we lost Chiz, we lost Naquin," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "So, when it was all said and done, you're like, 'OK, what can really impact us?' A center fielder that complements Raj. I think sometimes people lose track of like, OK, what's your roster? And what complements what?"

Tweet from @rajai11davis: Oh btw am I late on welcoming @leonys27martin to the @Indians well we welcome you

Offensively, Martin can slot into the lower third of the lineup and potentially provide an uptick in production for Cleveland's very top-heavy order. Martin has a .251/.321/.409 slash line with nine homers and 27 extra-base hits in 78 games this season. He has hit .275 with a .783 OPS and 113 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, meaning he has been 13 percent above league average in that regard.

Martin has dealt with a left hamstring issue on and off this season, but Antonetti said the Indians are confident that the outfielder is moving past that problem.

"We spent a lot of time on that," Antonetti said. "Also, we had the ability to see him play over the last handful of games to watch and make sure he's healthy. We think he's working his way back to full strength and top speed, but he's getting pretty close to that level."

The Indians always prefer to target players with multiple years of control in trades and Martin fits that description, as well. He is under contract this season for $1.75 million and has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining. That offers Cleveland a layer of protection in the outfield, given that Zimmer could miss the first half next season and Chisenhall is hitting free agency this winter.

Before landing Martin, the Indians were also linked to outfielders Adam Jones, Adam Duvall, Derek Dietrich, Joey Gallo and Cameron Maybin, among others, in various reports and rumors. Jones, specifically, had the right to block any trade due to his 10-and-5 rights (at least 10 years of MLB service and at least five years with the current club).

Antonetti said the Indians never reached a point in any talks where a player with veto rights was asked if he would approve a deal.

"We never got to the point of presenting something to a player," Antonetti said. "But there were hundreds of different concepts that we talked about over the last few weeks. We were able to get a couple of them done, but [having some deals collapse] is par for the course as you explore trades."

Dowdy, 25, was a 12th-round selection by Detroit in the 2015 Draft and offers a layer of rotation depth for the Tribe's farm system. Between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo this year, the right-hander was 8-8 with a 4.74 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 32 walks in 95 innings.

The 21-year-old Castro -- ranked eighth overall on the Indians' Top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline -- has been heralded for his defensive play throughout the Minors. This past winter, Cleveland even added the young infielder to its 40-man roster to protect him from possible selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December. The presence of Francisco Lindor made a prospect like Castro (currently at Double-A) expendable.

The Indians also pulled off a Minor League trade with the Cardinals on Tuesday, reeling in outfield prospect Oscar Mercado for Minor League outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres.

The Martin deal helps Cleveland's need for improvement in the outfield and comes on the heels of the Tribe addressing its need for bullpen reinforcements. On July 19, the Indians shipped their former top prospect, catcher Francisco Mejia, to the Padres in order to land All-Star closer Brad Hand and sidearmer Adam Cimber.

"They did a really good job," Francona said of the front office. "I mean, it's not easy. We have some parameters, which we know are in place. We're not going to be the Dodgers or the Red Sox. But, we don't want that to get in the way of us winning. And I think they've done an unbelievable job of making us better."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Leonys Martin

McKenzie tops latest Indians' prospect rankings

Naquin scratched with hip discomfort; Injury update on Miller
MLB.com

DETROIT -- The trade that sent catcher Francisco Mejia to the Padres last week trimmed off the top of the Indians' prospect rankings. This week, amidst a series of trades around baseball, MLB Pipeline also re-ranked the game's top prospects overall and at the team level.

In the wake of all the changes, right-hander Triston McKenzie is now deemed the Indians' top prospect and the 37th prospect overall in MLB Pipeline's top 100 rankings. On Friday afternoon, Tribe starter Shane Bieber cracked a wide smile when learning that McKenzie now held the top spot in Cleveland's system.

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DETROIT -- The trade that sent catcher Francisco Mejia to the Padres last week trimmed off the top of the Indians' prospect rankings. This week, amidst a series of trades around baseball, MLB Pipeline also re-ranked the game's top prospects overall and at the team level.

In the wake of all the changes, right-hander Triston McKenzie is now deemed the Indians' top prospect and the 37th prospect overall in MLB Pipeline's top 100 rankings. On Friday afternoon, Tribe starter Shane Bieber cracked a wide smile when learning that McKenzie now held the top spot in Cleveland's system.

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"That's awesome," Bieber said.

Last week, the Indians shipped Mejia (No. 1 catching prospect, No. 3 on Padres' top 30 and No. 21 on MLB Pipeline's top 100) to San Diego in exchange for All-Star closer Brad Hand and right-handed reliever Adam Cimber. McKenzie and Bieber then moved up to No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the Indians' revised top 30 prospects list.

A right forearm issue kept McKenzie in extended spring training to start this season, but he has made 10 starts with Double-A Akron since making his return on June 7. In 54 2/3 innings, the right-hander has amassed 51 strikeouts against 17 walks with a 2.96 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. McKenzie, 20, is more than four years younger than the average Eastern League pitcher, per Baseball-Reference.

McKenzie -- selected in the first round (42nd overall pick) by the Indians in the 2015 MLB Draft -- has gone 24-14 with a 2.73 ERA since turning pro. In 293 career innings, the righty has 358 strikeouts vs. 87 walks, averaging 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings with a 4.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

"He's got that disappearing fastball," said Bieber, who was teammates with McKenzie in the Minors. "Then, when you pair that up with the curveball that he's got, it's extremely tough to hit. I can't tell you how many times I've seen that guy just go out there time after time, seven innings, one hit, 12 K's or whatever. He just knows how to pitch and he knows how to use his stuff. I think he knows who he is as a pitcher, and that's probably his greatest strength.

"It's truly impressive. You forget how young he is, one, because of how successful he is at every level with guys who are a lot older than him. But, too, just how he pitches and creates his game. His mental maturity -- how he knows how to pitch -- you don't see that a lot with younger guys, guys his age."

Quotable
"He's so much of what's good in our game. Everybody can't wait to hear what he says. I heard somebody on TV today say he didn't really think he ever had a bad day. That's just the way he treated people, the way he acted." -- Indians manager Terry Francona, on Jim Thome, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend

Worth noting

• Left-hander Andrew Miller (60-day DL, right knee) completed a 35-pitch bullpen session on Thursday and is now scheduled to make a Minor League rehab appearance with Class A Lake County on Saturday. Barring any setbacks, the tentative plan for Miller after that step will be back-to-back rehab outings on Monday and Tuesday.

• Expect Francona to continue to mix and match with righty Cody Allen and the left-handed Hand in save situations. The Indians' manager added that he is also looking for non-save situations for Allen (7.41 ERA since the start of June, entering Friday) to continue to work on some mechanical adjustments. 

"You might see that happen for the foreseeable future," Francona said. "We're trying to get him on a roll."

• Right-hander Josh Tomlin (10-day DL, right hamstring) is scheduled to throw a simulated game during the Tribe's upcoming series in Minnesota. ... Righty Cody Anderson (60-day DL, right elbow) has resumed throwing long-toss after a shut-down period in his comeback from Tommy John surgery.

• Outfielder Tyler Naquin was scratched from the starting lineup in Friday night's 8-3 win over the Tigers due to discomfort in his right hip. Veteran outfielder Rajai Davis got the start in center in Naquin's place. Francona said after the game that Naquin will head back to Cleveland for further examination, with more information expected prior to Saturday's game.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians

No. 1 catching prospect Mejia gets brief callup

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has raved about Shane Bieber's poise and composure on the mound, and the rookie right-hander will have a chance to keep impressing his club in the second half.

In the meantime, Francisco Mejia -- the Tribe's top prospect and the No. 15 prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline -- is coming back to the Major Leagues.

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CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has raved about Shane Bieber's poise and composure on the mound, and the rookie right-hander will have a chance to keep impressing his club in the second half.

In the meantime, Francisco Mejia -- the Tribe's top prospect and the No. 15 prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline -- is coming back to the Major Leagues.

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Prior to Saturday's game against the Yankees, the Indians optioned Bieber to Triple-A Columbus and recalled Mejia from the same affiliate. The switch-hitting Mejia, the top-ranked catching prospect in baseball, batted sixth and served as the Tribe's designated hitter for Saturday's game against New York. Francona said the plan is to option Mejia back to Triple-A after Sunday, so he can keep playing with the Clippers, who are currently on their All-Star break.

"Tomorrow, maybe he pinch-hits or something, we'll see," Francona said Saturday. "Then we'll send him back. He knows that. We don't want him sitting over break and we just thought we could expand our roster a little bit."

Mejia has also been receiving playing time in the outfield. In 11 games with the Indians last year, he hit .154 with one RBI and one run scored. In Triple-A this season, he's played in 40 games as a catcher, 29 as an outfielder and 11 as a DH. Mejia, 22, is slashing .279/.329/.428 through 326 plate appearances with the Clippers. In June, Mejia hit .455 with a 1.193 OPS, four homers, 23 RBIs and 14 strikeouts.

During Mejia's brief stint with the Tribe last season, he said he learned a lot from hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo and assistant Victor Rodriguez. When slumping earlier this year, he resorted to what he learned in Cleveland.

"I took that advice they were giving me and translated it over there and started to work on the stuff I needed to improve." Mejia said via a translator. "Then it came into place."

Given Mejia's progression lately, Francona said it's a great reminder for the prospect that the big leagues may soon be on the horizon.

"They're only like a phone call away," Francona said. "One day you can be in Columbus or wherever, the next day you're in Chicago. I think that sometimes can serve to give them some hope, especially when you're struggling like that. Like 'Hey, I'm actually pretty well thought of.' Yeah, I think it can be good for guys."

Bieber (5-1) went seven-plus innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in Friday's 6-5 win over the Yankees. Due to the timing of the All-Star break, the move to send Bieber down will allow the right-hander to keep his routine in preparation for returning to Cleveland's rotation. His next start projects to be July 24 against the Pirates.

"Bieber has known for quite a while, so he could plan also," Francona said.

Worth noting

Francona also said starter Carlos Carrasco will be available out of the bullpen Saturday and possibly Sunday, depending on how he's used. The right-hander threw five innings against the Reds on Wednesday, allowing one run on five hits. Francona also said the order of the pitching rotation after the All-Star break is still to be determined and depends on whether Trevor Bauer will throw during the Midsummer Classic.

Should Bauer -- who's scheduled to pitch Sunday -- decide to throw on Tuesday, it gives Francona the option to go with another starter. One possibility is Corey Kluber, who received a gel injection in his knee Friday following his start Thursday, when he gave up six runs on eight hits across 7 1/3 innings against the Yankees.

"That's part of why Kluber wasn't DL'd," Francona said. "Just to keep our options open."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Francisco Mejia

Mejia selected to third straight Futures Game

Carrasco activated; Indians acquire reliever Hoyt from Astros
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Indians fans have been clamoring about wanting Francisco Mejia's bat promoted to the Major League lineup. Opposing organizations are undoubtedly asking about the highly touted prospect in trade talks. One thing is clear: Mejia's future seems to be bright.

That was evident again on Friday, when Mejia was named to the World roster for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game for the third consecutive year. The catcher will join Minor League right-hander Kieran Lovegrove as Cleveland's representatives at the annual prospect showcase, which will take place at 4 p.m. ET on July 15 at Nationals Park on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com.

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CLEVELAND -- Indians fans have been clamoring about wanting Francisco Mejia's bat promoted to the Major League lineup. Opposing organizations are undoubtedly asking about the highly touted prospect in trade talks. One thing is clear: Mejia's future seems to be bright.

That was evident again on Friday, when Mejia was named to the World roster for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game for the third consecutive year. The catcher will join Minor League right-hander Kieran Lovegrove as Cleveland's representatives at the annual prospect showcase, which will take place at 4 p.m. ET on July 15 at Nationals Park on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com.

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:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

Being selected to three Futures Games has only been achieved a handful of times since the event's creation in 1999. In Indians history, shortstop Francisco Lindor (2012-14) and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (2002, '04-05) were named to three rosters. Current Tribe slugger Edwin Encarnacion (2003-05) also accomplished the feat when he was a member of the Reds organization.

Mejia's selection comes on the heels of an otherworldly June at Triple-A Columbus for the catcher, who is rated not only as the Indians' top prospect, but as the No. 1 catching prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. In 24 games last month, the 22-year-old hit .455 with 18 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs, 45 hits and a 1.193 OPS. That included a streak of eight multihit games from June 23-30, during which he hit .528 (19-for-36).

Through 72 games on the season for Columbus, Mejia is hitting .279 with seven home runs, 21 doubles, 31 runs scored and 42 RBIs. Mejia has split his time between catching (38 starts) and the outfield (22 starts), as the Indians have tried to enhance his versatility in an effort to potentially get him to the big leagues faster. At the moment, Cleveland is content with its Major League catching duo of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez.

"I'm thrilled the kid Mejia is doing what he's doing, because I think we all feel like this kid's going to help us," Indians manager Terry Francona said recently. "[But] you don't want him to come up and sit the bench. That's not developing."

Mejia is from Bani, Dominican Republic, which is the same city that Indians star Jose Ramirez calls home. Lovegrove -- a first time Futures Game selectee -- was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Infielder Gift Ngoepe is the only player from South Africa to reach the Major Leagues.

Lovegrove, 23, is enjoying a breakout campaign as a reliever and has climbed to Double-A Akron from Class A Advacned Lynchburg already this season. After posting a 5.12 ERA in his first six professional seasons, the right-hander has turned in a 1.38 ERA through 25 appearances this year. Lovegrove (selected in the third round of the 2012 Draft) has 46 strikeouts against 18 walks in 39 innings between Lynchburg and Akron this season.

Carrasco activated, Hoyt acquired

The Indians made a handful of roster moves prior to Friday's game against the A's, bringing Carlos Carrasco back to the Major League rotation and adding an intriguing arm to their depth chart.

Cleveland activated Carrasco from the 10-day disabled list following his bout with a right elbow contusion and designated reliever George Kontos for assignment to clear a spot on the active roster. Removing Kontos from the 40-man roster also vacated a spot for righty James Hoyt, who was acquired from the Astros in exchange for Minor League pitcher Tommy DeJuneas.

Hoyt, who has been assigned to Columbus, has one option year remaining beyond 2018. The right-hander boasts a strikeout rate of 11.8 per nine innings in parts of three seasons (2016-18) with Houston. In 66 career MLB appearances, Hoyt has a 4.40 ERA with 94 strikeouts vs. 24 walks in 71 2/3 innings. He posted a 2.25 ERA with 33 strikeouts and eight walks in 28 innings for Triple-A Fresno this year.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Carlos Carrasco, Francisco Mejia

Indians sign their top 2 picks from 2018 Draft

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Indians announced Tuesday that they have signed three picks from the 2018 Draft, including their top two selections.

High schoolers Noah Naylor, Ethan Hankins and Korey Holland and Oregon State's Steven Kwan all signed with the Tribe for more than their slotted or expected amounts. Naylor signed for a bonus of $2,578,138 (No. 29 pick value: $2,332,700), Hankins for $2,246,022 (No. 35 pick value: $2,016,400) and Holland for $515,000 (No. 433 pick value: $125,000).

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KANSAS CITY -- The Indians announced Tuesday that they have signed three picks from the 2018 Draft, including their top two selections.

High schoolers Noah Naylor, Ethan Hankins and Korey Holland and Oregon State's Steven Kwan all signed with the Tribe for more than their slotted or expected amounts. Naylor signed for a bonus of $2,578,138 (No. 29 pick value: $2,332,700), Hankins for $2,246,022 (No. 35 pick value: $2,016,400) and Holland for $515,000 (No. 433 pick value: $125,000).

View Full Game Coverage

Naylor, a catcher from St. Joan of Arc Catholic in Mississauga, Ont., projects as a strong hitter with heavy power, and he has a strong defensive profile in addition to his proficiency at the plate. He was previously committed to play at Texas A&M.

"We're excited about Noah's bat. He can really hit," director of amateur scouting Scott Barnsby said during the Draft. "[He] controls the strike zone, [has] really good hand-eye [coordination]. Can drive the ball to all fields. There's power there. Defensively, [he's] a stay-behind-the-plate catcher with arm strength."

Video: Naylor blasts 420-foot home run to second deck

Naylor's power culminated in an appearance at the High School Home Run Derby during last year's All-Star festivities at Marlins Park in Miami. He finished second in the competition to Nolan Gorman, who was taken 10 picks before Naylor by the Cardinals.

As a member of the Ontario Blue Jays (an elite 18-and-up team based in his home province), Naylor hit .421 in seven games. He also played for the Canadian Junior National Team, touring Spring Training facilities in Florida to play against members of the Red Sox and Blue Jays.

The Indians found Naylor a battery-mate just six picks later, when they drafted Hankins, a right-handed pitcher from Forsyth Central High in Cumming, Ga. He had been committed to pitch at Vanderbilt.

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft RHP Ethan Hankins No. 35

Hankins was projected by many to be one of the first pitchers drafted this year, but a muscular issue with his throwing shoulder made his stock fall. He did make a recovery, however, and finished the season strong.

Cleveland was drawn to Hankins' 6-foot-6-inch frame, which allows his long arms to operate smoothly in his delivery. He projects as a starter, with his best pitch being a fastball that sits consistently in the mid-90s and tops out at around 98 mph.

"Ethan is an impressive young man," Barnsby said during the Draft. "It's a four-pitch mix, and he throws a lot of strikes. He's an athletic kid. The arm works well, so we're absolutely looking at him as a starter."

Kwan was a member of the Oregon State squad that recently captured the 2018 College World Series title. Battling an injury, he started just one game in the Finals, and pinch-hit in another.

The regular leadoff hitter for the Beavers, Kwan swings a consistent bat and has good speed out of the box. It translates to the outfield as well, where he exhibits strong range in center field.

Holland, who was drafted in the 14th round, is a speedy center fielder with a solid line-drive approach at the plate. He was committed to play at Texas.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Cleveland Indians

Mejia making case for Majors? Tito responds

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- While Roberto Perez was guiding Indians starter Trevor Bauer through another solid start on Friday night, catching prospect Francisco Mejia was continuing his torrid streak at the plate for Triple-A Columbus. Mejia collected four hits, marking his seventh multi-hit game in a row.

Mejia's incredible offensive showing in June for the Clippers has some Tribe fans wondering why the Indians' top prospect has not found his way back to the Major Leagues. Yan Gomes has been one of the American League's top catchers so far this year, but Perez has struggled at the plate (.141/.231/.228 in 92 at-bats) as the backup.

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OAKLAND -- While Roberto Perez was guiding Indians starter Trevor Bauer through another solid start on Friday night, catching prospect Francisco Mejia was continuing his torrid streak at the plate for Triple-A Columbus. Mejia collected four hits, marking his seventh multi-hit game in a row.

Mejia's incredible offensive showing in June for the Clippers has some Tribe fans wondering why the Indians' top prospect has not found his way back to the Major Leagues. Yan Gomes has been one of the American League's top catchers so far this year, but Perez has struggled at the plate (.141/.231/.228 in 92 at-bats) as the backup.

View Full Game Coverage

Indians manager Terry Francona emphasized again on Saturday that Perez's worth extends beyond the batter's box.

"We signed Roberto to a four-year contract," Francona said. "And it's not just your batting average. We'd love all our guys to be hitting .300 -- that'd be great. But you're talking about running a staff, doing all the things that 'Berto has taken the time to learn. Now, I don't want to [downplay what Mejia is doing]. I'm thrilled the kid Mejia is doing what he's doing, because I think we all feel like this kid's going to help us.

Video: CWS@CLE: Tribe turn strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out DP

"The other thing is you've got a young kid. You don't want him to come up and sit the bench. That's not developing. On the flip side of that, we called him up for that one day, because we thought it might give him a shot in the arm. He wasn't doing very good, and then he took off. So, maybe that helped."

Since his one-day stint in the Majors on June 11, the 22-year-old Mejia -- rated as the top-ranked catching prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline -- has hit .500 with a 1.301 OPS in 16 games. Through 23 games in June, the switch-hitter had a .457 average and a 1.192 OPS with 17 multi-hit games.

Mejia was batting .178 with a .513 OPS after an 0-for-5 showing on May 24, but has hit at a .443 (1.167 OPS) since then in 116 plate appearances. On the year, he is batting .287 with seven homers, 18 doubles, 26 runs and 38 RBIs in 66 games for Columbus.

Due to having Gomes and Perez in the big leagues, Mejia has split his time between catching (35 starts) and the outfield (20 starts) this season. Francona reminded that Mejia's transition to the outfield remains a work in progress.

"He's not ready," Francona said. "But I think there was some talk of trying to play him a little bit more, maybe with trying to have next year be an option. Like, when you go into the winter, at least having it be an option. The hard thing is he really wants to be a catcher. And I understand that. We're trying to tell him, 'Hey, we think you're a good catcher, but if you can do this, you might get to the big leagues quicker.' Until a kid's sold on it, though, I'm not sure."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook

Cleveland Indians, Francisco Mejia

Tribe 'pen takes another blow: Marshall hits DL

Right-hander Kontos called up from Triple-A; Indians sign two Draft picks
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have not installed a revolving door at the entrance to their bullpen. It just feels that way.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the White Sox, Cleveland's ever-changing relief corps lost Evan Marshall to the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right elbow. The reliever is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday to gather more information. To replace Marshall in the bullpen, the Indians purchased the contract of righty George Kontos from Triple-A Columbus.

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CLEVELAND -- The Indians have not installed a revolving door at the entrance to their bullpen. It just feels that way.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the White Sox, Cleveland's ever-changing relief corps lost Evan Marshall to the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right elbow. The reliever is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday to gather more information. To replace Marshall in the bullpen, the Indians purchased the contract of righty George Kontos from Triple-A Columbus.

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When Kontos throws a pitch for the Indians, he will become the 18th different player to make a relief appearance this season for the ballclub. That includes outfielder Brandon Guyer's first career pitching appearance on Saturday against the Twins. Only the Rays (21), Dodgers (19) and Marlins (19) have used more relievers this season than the Indians.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the high level of turnover creates challenges not only for the manager and his coaches, but for the pitchers involved.

"One, [you try to] get familiarity as quick as you can with what they do," Francona said. "The other thing is, it's easy for me to sit here and say, 'Hey, just go pitch and compete.' But, when guys are pitching or playing and when the inning's over, they're like, 'Oh, I got 'em out. I can stay here,' and they're pitching for their baseball life, it is hard for them. I get it.

"There's movement up and down. [Closer] Cody Allen knows when he has a bad inning, he's going to go out the next day and pitch if the situation calls for it. Other guys, sometimes there's a chance they're going to get sent down or designated. So, that makes it a little harder."

Marshall exited Monday's 6-2 win over the White Sox after throwing a 1-0 pitch to Jose Abreu in the eighth inning and now joins relievers Andrew Miller (right knee), Tyler Olson (left lat strain) and Nick Goody (right elbow) on the DL for Cleveland. On Tuesday, Marshall compared the sensation he experienced to slamming your funny bone on a table. That was followed by numbness in his arm and tingling in his fingers.

Video: SF@PIT: Kontos retires Cutch, strands bases loaded

Kontos, 33, signed a Minor League contract with the Indians after being released by the Pirates on May 28. The righty posted a 5.03 ERA in 21 appearances for Pittsburgh, but has since logged 7 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen for Triple-A Columbus.

In 343 career games, Kontos has a 3.11 ERA in parts of eight seasons between stints with the Yankees, Giants and Pirates. The right-hander relies on a sinker, cutter and slider mix and turned in a 2.76 ERA in 219 big league games across the 2014-17 seasons.

"Hopefully, he comes in and [helps us win]," Francona said. "We've all seen relievers that, they get a fresh start, they get on a roll, because of how volatile the relievers can be. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing him pitch."

Tribe signs two Draft picks
The Indians announced on Tuesday that they have signed Lenny Torres Jr., the No. 41 overall pick in the 2018 Draft.

Torres, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander from Beacon High School (New York), was selected in the Competitive Balance Round A. The Indians received the pick after Carlos Santana signed with the Phillies in free agency during the offseason. According to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Cleveland signed Torres for $1.35 million, below the $1,744,800 value assigned to the No. 41 pick.

"[He's] an impressive kid," Indians director of amateur scouting Scott Barnsby said. "We saw him several times last summer. ... Lenny's been up to 96 [mph], [has] life to the fastball. It's a really quick arm. His slider has really progressed. We feel like he's got a chance to have a solid average-to-plus slider. A developing feel for the changeup. Throws strikes. Looking to develop him as a starter."

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft RHP Lenny Torres No. 41

Barnsby said when they got to No. 41 and Torres was available, he was an easy pick to make.

"We spent a lot of time with Lenny," Barnsby said. "Not only at some offseason meetings, but we also spent a lot of time with Lenny and his family this spring and feel really comfortable and excited about adding Lenny to the organization."

The Indians also signed seventh-round pick Cody Morris (No. 223 overall) on Tuesday.

Morris, a 6-foot-5, 222-pound right-hander from the University of South Carolina, led the Gamecocks with a 9-3 record and posted a 3.46 ERA in 83 1/3 innings this season.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, George Kontos, Evan Marshall

Tribe announces signings of 4 more Draft picks

Cleveland has come to terms with 24 of 40 selections
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- The Indians signed four more Draft picks, the club announced on Saturday, making it 24 of 40 selections.

Joining the organization is ninth-round pick (No. 283 overall) Brian Eichhorn, 11th-round selection (No. 343) Jack DeGroat, 13th-rounder (No. 403) Kyle Marman and 30th-round prospect (No. 913) Connor Smith.

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CLEVELAND -- The Indians signed four more Draft picks, the club announced on Saturday, making it 24 of 40 selections.

Joining the organization is ninth-round pick (No. 283 overall) Brian Eichhorn, 11th-round selection (No. 343) Jack DeGroat, 13th-rounder (No. 403) Kyle Marman and 30th-round prospect (No. 913) Connor Smith.

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Eichhorn, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-hander from Georgia Southern, posted a 3.15 ERA in 14 starts as a junior. The 20-year-old struck out 106 batters over 88 2/3 innings en route to First-Team All-Sun Belt honors.

DeGroat missed the 2018 season as a junior for Liberty University after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier in the year. However, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound right-hander was named a Cape Cod League All-Star in 2017.

Video: 2018 Draft: Jack DeGroat

Marman, 21, went 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings for Florida Atlantic this season. The 6-foot-3 righty's season was cut short due to an elbow injury.

Smith, a 21-year-old infielder from Western Michigan University, earned 2018 First-Team honors in the Mid-American Conference. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Smith was the first MAC Freshman Position Player of the Year in the history of Western Michigan's baseball program.

The Indians have signed seven of their top 10 picks, not including first-rounder Noah Naylor (No. 29), Ethan Hankins (No. 35) and Lenny Torres (No. 41). Naylor, a Canadian catcher from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School, is the brother of Padres first-base prospect Josh Naylor, while Hankins (Forsyth Central High School, Ga.) and Torres (Beacon High School, N.Y.) are both right-handed pitching prospects.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians

Indians call up top prospect Mejia

MLB.com

The Indians called up Francisco Mejia, who is the team's No. 1-ranked prospect and No. 11 overall according to MLB Pipeline, optioned right-hander Evan Marshall to Triple-A Columbus and released pitcher Matt Belisle from his Minor League contract on Monday.

Mejía, 22, has spent the entire season to date in Triple-A Columbus, batting .214 (41-for-192) with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 25 RBI in 50 games. Over his last 11 games since May 26 he has batted .350 (14/40) with 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR & 10 RBI, hitting safely in 10 of the contests. On the year he has appeared in 27 games behind the plate, 16 in left field and one in right field.

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The Indians called up Francisco Mejia, who is the team's No. 1-ranked prospect and No. 11 overall according to MLB Pipeline, optioned right-hander Evan Marshall to Triple-A Columbus and released pitcher Matt Belisle from his Minor League contract on Monday.

Mejía, 22, has spent the entire season to date in Triple-A Columbus, batting .214 (41-for-192) with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 25 RBI in 50 games. Over his last 11 games since May 26 he has batted .350 (14/40) with 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR & 10 RBI, hitting safely in 10 of the contests. On the year he has appeared in 27 games behind the plate, 16 in left field and one in right field.

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Cleveland Indians, Francisco Mejia

Tribe scouting director thrilled with '18 Draft

Barnsby: 'I don't think we could have been any more prepared'
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Scott Barnsby has had plenty of experience inside the Indians' Draft room, and the first-year director of amateur scouting is optimistic his picks from the 2018 MLB Draft will plant the seeds for the Tribe's long-term success.

• Draft Tricker: Every Indians pick

CLEVELAND -- Scott Barnsby has had plenty of experience inside the Indians' Draft room, and the first-year director of amateur scouting is optimistic his picks from the 2018 MLB Draft will plant the seeds for the Tribe's long-term success.

• Draft Tricker: Every Indians pick

Barnsby, who's been with Cleveland's amateur scouting department since 2002, took over the position from Brad Grant -- now the Indians' vice president of baseball operations -- in December, and he has been looking forward for the opportunity ever since.

"The last 364 days we were joking around, saying, 'All right, 2019 starts tomorrow,'" Barnsby said, after the Draft concluded. "But we need to take a step back, sign these guys and get them out and play them.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"In all seriousness, I don't think we could have been any more prepared. It's a good feeling leaving the Draft room. I don't think we left anything on the table in terms of effort and everything we did to get there."

Unlike last season, when the Indians went without a first-round pick, the Tribe was given four picks, including a compensatory pick for Carlos Santana's departure to the Phillies in free agency, and a Competitive Balance Round A pick on Day 1 of the Draft.

With their top pick, the Indians selected catcher Noah Naylor (No. 29 overall, No. 27 in MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list) from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. The Tribe also selected right-handed prep school arms Ethan Hankins (No. 35/21) from Forsyth Central (Ga.) and Lenny Torres (No. 41/47) from Beacon High School (N.Y.), along with University of Southern Mississippi right-hander Nick Sandlin (No. 67/164) in the second round to finish Day 1.

Tribe selects Naylor at No. 29 to open Draft

Barnsby raved about the potential of Towson infielder Richard Palacios, Cleveland's third-round selection (No. 103/134) to kick off Day 2, which included rounds 2-10. Unlike pitching talent, which he said the organization likes to take its time to develop, promising position players may be able to rise through the ranks a bit faster.

SS Palacios headlines Day 2 of Indians' Draft

"He's a guy that can really control the strike zone," Barnsby said of Palacios. "He's got quick hands, he can hit and he's athletic enough with defensive versatility. He can run, he can steal bases, and he's one of the guys that has a lot of upside".

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft SS Richard Palacios No. 103

Cleveland's top three selections hailed from high school, yet Barnsby heavily favored college players as the Draft got deeper, and in total took 30 collegiate players compared to 12 high schoolers. Of the 22 pitchers drafted, 15 are right-handed.

In all, seven of the Tribe's Draft choices ranked inside MLB Pipeline's Top 200 ranking, including sixth-round infielder Raynel Delgado (No. 193/124) from Cavalry Christian Academy (Fla.) and 14th-round pick Korey Holland (No. 433/141), an outfielder from Langham Creek High School (Texas).

"I think there's something to taking some of the college guys a little later in the Draft," Barnsby said. "Certainly maturity helps. But it's also an opportunity. These are good players who have worked hard throughout their careers to get to where they are. The doors open for them to get into professional baseball through an organization like ours that can develop them and give them every chance to get to the big leagues."

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft RHP Nick Sandlin No. 67

Establishing relationships -- one of the jobs of an area scout -- played a big role in this Draft and especially helps on Day 3 when ciphering through rounds 11-40. The Indians used their 31st-round pick to take Michigan outfielder Jonathan Englemann, who was strongly recommended by Aaron Etchison, a first-year area scout who coached at Michigan for the past five seasons.

"That couldn't have happened without Aaron knowing [Englemann] well and knowing what his capabilities were," Barnsby said. "It's exciting for a scout to evaluate a player over an extended period of time, see that player get out of the top 10 rounds and still be passionate enough about that player and have enough conviction in their ability to give them an opportunity to play."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians

SS Palacios headlines Day 2 of Indians' Draft

Towson star becomes 4th member of family to make it to pro ball
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- It's not every day a family is blessed with a call from a Major League team during the Draft.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Indians Draft pick

CLEVELAND -- It's not every day a family is blessed with a call from a Major League team during the Draft.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Indians Draft pick

But for the Richard Palacios and his family, Tuesday afternoon marked the fourth time such a family member has received a Draft call, as the Indians selected the Towson University shortstop in the third round (103rd overall).

"It was just everything that I've worked for when I was younger it all paid off," Palacios said. "All my hard work and dedication, you see it in first-person and it pans out the way you want it to and it's always a great thing."

The Indians grabbed four prospects on Monday during the first day of the Draft -- catcher Noah Naylor (pick No. 29) from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. The Tribe also picked prep school right-handers Ethan Hankins (pick No. 35) and Lenny Torres (pick No. 41) as well as Southern Mississippi righty Nick Sandlin (pick No. 67) on the first night of the Draft. The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Richard will join brother Josh, dad Richard and uncle Rey Palacios to get the call on Draft day. Richard's brother was a 2016 fourth-round pick by the Blue Jays and currently plays in their farm system, while Richard made it to Triple-A with the Tigers and Rey spent parts of three seasons playing for Kansas City.

Knowing Palacios comes from such a background certainly helps the Indians, too. But the Tribe also sees plenty of upside with the young infielder.

"It helps, but it starts with the player -- it starts with the tools and the ability on the field," said Scott Barnsby, the Indians' director of amateur scouting. "He controls the strike zone, he's got quick hands, and we feel like this guy is going to hit.

"He's shown instincts the whole time."

Richard has made a name for himself as a three-year starter at Towson, and one of the better performers in the Colonial Athletic Association -- so much so, he was ranked 134th in MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects. He led the Tigers with a .301/.457/.515 slash line and also lead his team in runs (56), extra-base hits (26), home runs (eight), and RBIs (31).

To complement the 21-year-old's college stats, evaluators could see Palacios having outstanding on-base skills and a consistent bat with a keen eye in the batter's box, with the ability to be a potential big league tablesetter. With plus speed, evaluators could also see the Brooklyn, N.Y., native playing at second base or perhaps center field.

And with years of pro ball expertise to tap into, it goes without saying the prospect's family became the muse for his big league dreams.

"Just to have parents, my father, my uncle and my brother accomplish so much it made me look up to it even more than look up to a certain person," Richard said. "And just being able to continue the family tradition is always a great feeling."

Video: Draft Report: Richard Palacios, College shortstop

Palacios told MLB.com he intends to sign with the Tribe. After all, it's a unique opportunity says is too great to pass up.

If Richard's learned anything from the family that's come before him, it's to trust the process and enjoy the little things it takes to make it to the show.

"They taught me to not get caught up in everything happening around you," Palacios said. "Just worry about yourself, worry about enjoying life and enjoying the game of baseball and enjoying all the hard work and the dedication that separates you from the people around you."

Round 4 (133rd overall): LHP Adam Scott, Wofford College
The Indians grabbed their first left-handed arm of the Draft in Scott, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 103 1/3 innings as a senior with the Terriers this spring. Scott made 15 starts and appeared in 18 games, and he showed versatility with two saves and two complete games. The southpaw ended the year with an 8-5 record, and he struck out 137 batters -- which ranked eighth among all Division I pitchers -- while walking 18.

"This guy is physical -- average stuff from the left side, up to 93 [mph], throws strikes and really deceptive," Barnsby said. "We actually took him last year and he went back to school. We took him again this year and are looking forward to getting him in the system."

Round 5 (163rd overall): OF Steven Kwan, Oregon State
Kwan represented the first outfield prospect selected by the Tribe in the 2018 Draft. The junior left-handed hitter posted a slash line of .349/.462/.460 this season for the Beavers and owns a .324 batting average in three collegiate seasons. Along with 2018 Pac-12 All-Conference honors, Kwan has also started all 58 games this season, and he hit a team-leading six triples to go with 14 stolen bases.

"Another good athlete," said Barnsby. "He can play center field, he can run and another guy that has instincts on the bases, that really recognizes pitches, understands the strike zone and has an idea of what he's doing at the plate."

Round 6 (193rd overall): 3B Raynel Delgado, Cavalry Christian Academy (FL) HS
Delgado, a switch-hitting prep standout, was ranked No. 124 in MLB Pipeline's Top 200 rankings, and he made some noise last summer on the showcase circuit as a member of the U-18 Team USA squad that won gold in the 2017 World Cup. He posted a .364 average in high school ball this spring, and he showed some power promise with a pair of home runs, seven doubles and 26 RBIs.

Evaluators say Delgado has showed ability to hit effectively from both sides of the plate, and he baosts bat speed that could give him a chance to hit for average and power as he develops. Though some doubt his fielding ability, the Florida International commit has shown good arm strength to play the hot corner and even shows promise at second base.

"He's versatile and he can move around the infield," Barnsby said. "He's got arm strength, but he's got instincts. He can read the ball and he recognizes hops. Offensively, he's got a nice swing from both sides of the plate. We feel not only good about the bat, but he's got a lean, athletic frame. Once that fills out, we feel like there's going to be some power in there as well."

Video: Draft Report: Raynel Delgado, High School shortstop

Round 7 (223rd overall): RHP Cody Morris, University of South Carolina
Morris posted an 8-3 record with a 3.68 ERA in 15 starts for the Gamecocks this spring -- he struck out 83 batters while walking 30 through 78 1/3 innings. Morris was a 2015 Perfect Game Second Team All-American and Atlantic All-Region First Team selection. The 6-foot-5 right-hander had Tommy John surgery in high school, but his fastball can still touch 97 mph and he features a plus changeup.

"He's got life to his fastball," Barnsby said. "He also gets a swing-and-miss on his fastball. The changeup is actually his best secondary pitch. He's got a feel for the changeup and mixes in a little bit of a slider."

Round 8 (253rd overall): RHP Alex Royalty, UNC Wilmington
Royalty has compiled a 23-10 record with a 4.16 ERA in three seasons for the Seahawks. The 6-foot-4 right-hander earned 2018 Colonial Athletic Association All-Tournament honors following a complete game against Northeastern on May 24. He was named CAA Pitcher of the Year and earned First-Team All-CAA honors in '17 as a sophomore, when he went 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings.

"This is a guy that has a really good feel for the mound," Barnsby said. "This guy knows how to pitch with his stuff -- it's average stuff across the board, but he can work both sides of the plate. ... He could potentially be a back-end starter."

Round 9 (283rd overall): RHP Brian Eichhorn, Georgia Southern
Eichhorn was a First-Team All-Sun Belt selection after striking out 106 batters in 88 2/3 innings with a 3.15 ERA. The 6-foot-1 junior can reach between 92-93 mph as a starter with an above-average slider and an average changeup, with evaluators saying there's a chance Eichhorn has potential to be an back-of-the-rotation-type arm.

"This guy has a strong, durable body," said Barnsby. "Goes up to 94, and [he] is another guy that can really pitch with his fastball. ... One of the things that really stands out with him, as well as everybody else, is just how competitive he is and how aggressive he is on the mound."

Round 10 (313rd overall): RHP Robert Broom, Mercer
Broom's biggest 2018 highlight came on April 24, when the sidewinding right-hander struck out 12 batters in six relief innings against No. 1 Florida to lead Mercer past the Gators. Broom was named a Third Team All-American by Baseball America after recording a 1.70 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 74 innings this season. He features a fastball that sits between 89-92 mph, a slicing breaking ball and a good changeup.

"Submarine style makes him unique," said Barnsby. "He's deceptive, he gets that breaking ball to both sides of the plate and he's got a real feel for his changeup."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

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