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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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

:: 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).

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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.

Cleveland Indians

Tribe selects Naylor at No. 29 to open Draft

RHPs Hankins (35), Torres (41), Sandlin (67) also tabbed on Day 1
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Before the MLB Draft began on Monday night, Scott Barnsby's message to the Indians' army of scouts was a simple one. The team's new director of amateur scouting expressed appreciation for the countless hours spent in cars, on planes, in hotels and in bleacher seats behind home plate at fields around the country.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Indians Draft pick

CLEVELAND -- Before the MLB Draft began on Monday night, Scott Barnsby's message to the Indians' army of scouts was a simple one. The team's new director of amateur scouting expressed appreciation for the countless hours spent in cars, on planes, in hotels and in bleacher seats behind home plate at fields around the country.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Indians Draft pick

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The hard part was done. The time to reel in potential Major League talent had arrived and -- with four picks on Day 1 of the Draft -- Cleveland was in prime position to cast a wide net, see how the big board developed throughout the night and nab some new prospects. Beginning with the selection of prep catcher Noah Naylor in the first round, the Indians enjoyed a promising haul.

"It was an exciting night for us," said Barnsby, who took over this year for Brad Grant after his extremely successful decade of Drafts for the Indians. "We're really excited about the four guys that we took."

In Naylor, who was taken with the 29th overall pick in the first round, Cleveland acquired a player deemed by some evaluators as the best high school bat in this Draft class. The Indians then took a pair of prep right-handers in Ethan Hankins (35th overall) and Lenny Torres Jr. (41st overall). Before a shoulder issue stalled his season, Hankins was viewed as having No. 1 pick potential.

Following those three prep selections, the Tribe wrapped up Day 1 by picking Southern Mississippi right-hander Nick Sandlin in the second round (67th overall). Sandlin throws from multiple arm angles, features as many as five pitches and turned in some of the best statistics of any Division I collegiate arm this year. Barnsby was jokingly asked if Indians manager Terry Francona had called yet to see if Sandlin was available for the big league bullpen.

"I think we're about to get that phone call tonight," Barnsby said with a laugh.

All in all, it was hard to see the Day 1 quartet as anything but promising for the Indians, who are trying to stock the farm in an effort to sustain the Major League team's successful run in recent seasons. That process will continue on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

A year ago, the Indians did not pick until No. 64 in the second round, when the franchise nabbed fleet-footed prep outfielder Quentin Holmes. The lack of a first-rounder was due to Cleveland signing free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion in the offseason prior to the 2017 campaign, in which the club captured its second consecutive American League Central crown.

Things were a little more hectic for Barnsby and the team's scouts on Day 1 this time around.

The 18-year-old Naylor -- the first catcher taken in the first round by the Indians since 1976 -- was selected out of St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The lefty-hitting catcher is the younger brother of Padres first-base prospect Josh Naylor, and he comes with a similar offensive profile, according to MLB Pipeline.

In seven games for the Ontario Blue Jays (an elite 18-and-up team based in Canada) this spring, Naylor hit .421 in 26 at-bats, and he also toured Florida as a member of the Canadian Junior National Team during Spring Training. That included playing games against the staffs of the Red Sox and Blue Jays.

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft C Noah Naylor No. 29

Naylor also took part in the High School Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities at Marlins Park last July. While he has shown pop in those types of events, what really stood out to the Indians was Naylor's ability to control the bat through all regions of the strike zone. Cleveland was also intrigued by his positional versatility and plans on testing him out in the infield.

"We're excited about Noah's bat. He can really hit," Barnsby said. "Controls the strike zone. Really good hand-eye. Can drive the ball to all fields. There's power there. Defensively, [he's] a stay-behind-the-plate catcher with arm strength."

The 18-year-old Hankins dealt with shoulder issues in his senior season with Forsyth Central High School in Georgia, diminishing his Draft stock. When healthy -- and the Indians are confident he is now -- the 6-foot-6 Hankins can touch 97-98 mph with his fastball to go with a good changeup and developing curve. In helping USA Baseball's 18U National Team to a gold medal in the World Cup, the righty posted a 0.75 ERA with 27 strikeouts and three walks in 12 innings.

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

The Indians gained the 35th pick used on Hankins as compensation for Carlos Santana signing with the Phillies in free agency last offseason.

"Ethan is an impressive young man," Barnsby said. "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."

During Competitive Balance Round A, the Indians doubled down on prep right-handers with the selection of Torres. During his senior year with Beacon (N.Y.) High School, the 17-year-old Torres had 85 strikeouts and a 0.68 ERA in 41 innings. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound pitcher can reach 96 mph with his fastball, impressed the Indians with his slider and has a developing changeup.

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

Naylor (Texas A&M), Hankins (Vanderbilt) and Torres (St. John's) are each committed to a college program, but Barnsby was optimistic that they would sign with the Indians. That confidence stems from the rapport built over the past several weeks and months by area scouts Mike Kanen (Naylor and Torres) and CT Bradford (Hankins).

"We're working through that," Barnsby said. "Our area scouts have done a great job building relationships with them. We're confident that these guys want to go out and play."

Video: Draft Report: Nick Sandlin, College pitcher

The Indians wrapped up Day 1 with the selection of Sandlin in the second round. After spending two seasons as a reliever, Sandlin moved up to the role of Friday night starter for Southern Miss and turned in a brilliant campaign. In 102 1/3 innings, the right-hander went 10-0 with 144 strikeouts and 18 walks, while leading all Division I pitchers in ERA (1.06) and WHIP (0.71).

"He's not a real big guy, but he's got now stuff out of the 'pen," Barnsby said. "He varies his slots. Unique. Deceptive. And he's able to throw strikes from all variations."

After a draining day, and while holding a conference call around midnight ET, Barnsby spoke with the energy of someone who wished he could see all four players in an Indians uniform by Tuesday morning.

"With four picks," he said, "we were looking forward to it coming in."

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

Four early picks give Indians Draft flexibility

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Walking into the conference room on Draft day is nothing new for Scott Barnsby, but he will do so this year for the first time as the Indians' director of amateur scouting. The Indians have four picks on the first day of the MLB Draft today, and Barnsby's name will forever be linked to this summer's class for Cleveland.

"It's the time of year where there's some nerves, there's some stress," Barnsby said. "We want to make sure we haven't overlooked anything. So every year walking into the Draft room, it's an exciting moment, because we know we have a chance to bring in some additional talent. But this year in particular, having additional picks, it's hard not to get excited about the potential outcomes and some of the players that are out there."

CLEVELAND -- Walking into the conference room on Draft day is nothing new for Scott Barnsby, but he will do so this year for the first time as the Indians' director of amateur scouting. The Indians have four picks on the first day of the MLB Draft today, and Barnsby's name will forever be linked to this summer's class for Cleveland.

"It's the time of year where there's some nerves, there's some stress," Barnsby said. "We want to make sure we haven't overlooked anything. So every year walking into the Draft room, it's an exciting moment, because we know we have a chance to bring in some additional talent. But this year in particular, having additional picks, it's hard not to get excited about the potential outcomes and some of the players that are out there."

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with today's Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Indians, whose first selection is the 29th overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Indians' window of contention is open at the Major League level, but it is integral to use the MLB Draft to find building blocks for sustained success. Four picks within the first 100 selections enhances the probability that Cleveland can unearth future MLB talent.

The scoop
The past 10 Drafts were led by Brad Grant, who has assumed a different role in Cleveland's front office. Under Grant's watch, the Indians selected players like Francisco Lindor (2011, first round), Jason Kipnis (2009, second round), Cody Allen ( 2011, 23rd round) and Bradley Zimmer (2014, first round), among others. In Barnsby's first year in charge of the amateur scouting department, the Indians have picks No. 29, No. 35 (compensatory pick for Carlos Santana signing with the Phillies in free agency), No. 41 (Competitive Balance Round A) and No. 67 on Day 1 of the Draft.

"The good thing about us is that we've had the same people in place for a long time," said Barnsby, who was an assistant scouting director over the past three years and is in his 19th season in the organization. "Brad really hasn't gone too far. He's obviously right there whenever we need anything. So, I would say it's been very similar to what I've done the last few years."

First-round buzz
In a recent mock Draft, Callis had the Indians taking prep catcher Noah Naylor out of St. Joan of Arc Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. Callis also noted that a pair of high school catchers from Georgia, Will Banfield and Anthony Seigler, have been on the Tribe's radar. The Indians have also been closely examining the wealth of prep outfielders who could start coming off the board by the middle of the first round. Names like Alek Thomas, Jordyn Adams, Connor Scott, Parker Meadows, Nick Schnell and Mike Siani fall into that category.

Video: Draft Report: Noah Naylor, HS catcher

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the Indians have a pool of $9,145,200 (11th highest) to spend in the first 10 rounds, including $2,332,700 to spend on their first selection.

Shopping list
In recent years, the Indians have had success targeting high-upside position players in the Draft and finding their core pitching pieces through trades. Over the past seven Drafts, six of Cleveland's top picks have been position players. Based on the early mock Drafts, it looks like the Indians may continue that approach. That said, having four early picks gives the Tribe flexibility to go in multiple directions. The farm system could benefit from improving the depth of pitching prospects.

Trend watch
The Indians have not shied away from high school players in recent MLB Drafts, especially in the early rounds. Dating back to 2011, when Lindor was Cleveland's top pick out of Montverde Academy, in Florida, the Indians have taken a prep star with four of their seven picks. If you look at the club's top three picks in the past seven Drafts combined, 13 out of 21 players (62 percent) were picked out of high schools. One more, Brady Aiken (2015), was rehabbing a left elbow injury post-high school when he was drafted by the Tribe. Overall, the Indians seem to take a more balanced approach deeper into the Draft -- with a slight tilt toward collegiate athletes in the middle rounds.

Rising fast
In parts of three Minor League seasons, right-hander Shane Bieber has gone 15-6 with a 2.19 ERA, piling up 244 strikeouts with only 15 walks in 262 2/3 innings. Bieber, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft, has cruised from Class A Advanced Lynchburg last year to Triple-A Columbus this season and is now firmly on Cleveland's radar as a depth option for the MLB rotation. Through 10 outings in 2018, Bieber was 5-1 with a 1.10 ERA, 61 strikeouts and three walks in 65 1/3 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. Bieber also made his MLB debut, getting a spot start against the Twins on Thursday, allowing four runs with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of action.

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Bieber, RHP, Indians

Cinderella story
Adam Plutko was out of the spotlight that was fixed on Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer when they were the dynamic duo for UCLA's 2011 rotation. But it was Plutko who led the Bruins to College World Series glory, while pitching through an injury, in '13. Taken in the 11th round of the '13 Draft, Plutko had a two-game cup of coffee with Cleveland in '16 and spent time in the Majors in '17, but did not pitch due to a hip issue that required offseason surgery. Plutko has gone 3-0 with a 3.93 ERA in three starts this season with the Indians, and also threw a no-hitter at Triple-A on Saturday.

Video: CLE@CHC: Plutko takes a no-hitter through 6 innings

In the show
There are 13 players on the Indians' 40-man roster who were selected by the club in the MLB Draft and two more currently on the 60-day disabled list. Ten of those players, including two on the 10-day DL at the moment, are with the Major League team. That latter group includes: Greg Allen (2014, sixth), Lonnie Chisenhall (2008, first), Tyler Naquin (2012, first), Roberto Perez (2008, 33rd), Plutko (2013, 11th) and Josh Tomlin (2006, 19th), along with Allen, Kipnis, Lindor and Zimmer.

The Indians' recent top picks
2017: Quentin Holmes, OF (Extended Spring Training)
2016: Will Benson, OF (Class A Lake County)
2015: Aiken, LHP (Extended Spring Training)
2014: Zimmer, OF (Indians)
2013: Clint Frazier, OF (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Yankees)

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

What to expect from Indians' Bieber

MLB.com

After throwing a no-hitter in his latest Triple-A start, Shane Bieber is headed to the Major Leagues.

After throwing a no-hitter in his latest Triple-A start, Shane Bieber is headed to the Major Leagues.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The Indians' No. 3 prospect (No. 100 overall) will be called up to make his big league debut in Thursday's road contest against the Twins. The promotion caps a meteoric rise through the Minor Leagues for Bieber, who's set to make his first Major League appearance on his 23rd birthday.

The Indians plan to use Bieber as a spot starter, so as to offer extra rest to a starting rotation that has totaled high pitch counts lately. He last pitched Friday, firing a seven-inning no-hitter in a rain-shortened victory for Triple-A Columbus. He struck out seven and faced one over the minimum in the outing, throwing 61 of his 80 pitches for strikes.

Overall, Bieber has gone 5-1 with a 1.10 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 10 starts, splitting his season between Columbus and Double-A Akron. He's worked 65 1/3 innings across the two levels, compiling 61 strikeouts against three walks while holding hitters to a .183 average.

Watch: Bieber fans seven in no-hitter

Bieber's overwhelming success this season continues a trend in which the right-hander has dominated at every stage of his career since being selected by Cleveland in fourth round of the 2016 Draft out of University of California Santa Barbara.

After a strong professional debut (0.38 ERA in 24 innings) in the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League, Bieber advanced to full-season ball in 2017 and excelled across three levels, finishing the year in Double-A. He ultimately led the organization in innings pitched (173 1/3) and ranked second in ERA (2.86), all while totaling 162 strikeouts and 10 unintentional walks over 28 starts.

Indians' top prospects stats

Bieber's ability to flood the strike zone with four quality pitches is his greatest strength. His 70-grade control is the highest among all pitching prospects on team Top 30 lists, and a case can be made that Bieber possesses the best command in the Minor Leagues after he led all Minors hurlers both in walk rate (1.5 percent) and walks-per-nine innings (0.5 BB/9) in 2017.

Over three professional seasons, Bieber owns 15-6 record with a 2.19 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Bieber has piled up 244 strikeouts and 15 unintentional walks in 262 2/3 innings, giving him a superb 0.5 BB/9 walk rate to go along with 8.4 strikeouts-per-nine for his career.

While Bieber stands out most for his nearly elite control and command, his stuff is plenty good, too.

Bieber soaking it all in before MLB debut

The right-hander's velocity has improved since college, as he'll now sit comfortably in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball while at times reaching back for an additional tick or two. Bieber also has made strides in developing his curveball, leading some evaluators to cite it as his best secondary offering. He also demonstrates advanced feel for his slider and changeup, rounding out an arsenal of four average-or-better pitches.

The quality of Bieber's stuff, along with his ability to throw quality strikes, gives him the requisite tools to become a solid mid-rotation starter in the Majors. And with a solid strikeout rate, strong ground-ball tendencies and a knack for keeping the ball in the park, Bieber has proved capable of succeeding even when not as his best.

The Indians have made it clear that Bieber's first big league stint will be limited to the lone spot start. But the fact that the club willingly turned to him, despite Bieber not being on the team's 40-man roster, bodes well for the right-hander's chances of assuming a greater role with Cleveland later this season.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Cleveland Indians