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Aaron Civale is our No. 12 Cleveland Indians prospect. Who should be No. 13?

The college closer-turned-starter continues to not walk anyone as he advances through the Cleveland farm system.

Boston Red Sox 2015 Spring Training Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the 2016 draft, Aaron Civale is #12 on LGT’s top prospect list of 2018.

At 6’2”, 215 lbs, the 22-year old righty from Northeastern University had a great year in 2017 that begun in Lake County and ended in Lynchburg. In his ten starts for the Lake County Captains, Civale threw 57.0 innings and allowed 29 earned runs on 64 hits and 5 walks while striking out 53. His ERA ballooned up to 4.58, but his FIP (2.51) and xFIP (2.86) seemed to indicate that Civale was better than his surface stats would indicate. Looking a little deeper, Aaron held an 8.37 K/9 rate paired with a minuscule 0.79 BB/9 rate, so his promotion mid-season was well earned.

After being promoted to Lynchburg on June 1, Civale had his first start with the Hillcats and was brilliant. He went 6.0 innings while allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. He continued this solid showing for the remainder of the season, tallying 17 starts for the Hillcats. Across those 17 starts, Civale threw 107.2 innings while allowing just 31 earned runs and walking 9 and striking out 88. His strikeout rate dropped slightly, but he still was walking less than a batter per game. His WHIP shrunk from 1.211 in Lake County to 0.975 in Lynchburg, his ERA was nearly cut in half (down to 2.59) and his FIP and xFIP remained solid (3.40 and 3.06, respectively).

While he has had success in a starting role thus far, Aaron may be destined for relief work as he makes his way towards the majors. He was the closer for his college team before transitioning to the starting role in his senior year. He typically sits in the low to mid 90s and utilizes a dominant slider to put hitters away.

Civale will probably start with the Hillcats in 2018, but don’t be surprised if he finds his way to Akron at some point before the end of the season.


Tyler Freeman, SS (Age 18)

2017 (R): 144 PA, .297/.364/.414, 2 HR, 5 SB, 4.9 BB%, 8.3 K%, 116 wRC+

The second pick by the Indians in the 2017 draft, Freeman had the most success of any prep player that debuted in the system last season. Might have trouble sticking at shortstop.

Eric Haase, C (Age 25)

2017 (AAA): 8 PA, .333/.500/.833, 1 HR, 0 SB, 12.5 BB%, 25.0 K%, 262 wRC+

2017 (AA): 381 PA, .258/.349/.574, 26 HR, 4 SB, 11.5 BB%, 30.4 K%, 150 wRC+

Strikes out, but makes up for it with power due to elevated swing plane. Led Akron in home runs in 2017. Earned significant offensive reps despite being the back-up catcher to Francisco Mejia.

Quentin Holmes, OF (Age 18)

2017 (R): 169 PA, .182/.220/.289, 2 HR, 5 SB, 4.7 BB%, 36.1 K%, 39 wRC+

The first pick by the Indians in the 2017 draft. Holmes was the fastest player in the draft and possesses, legitimately, 80-grade speed. Plenty of room for development hailing from a northern climate in New York.

Mitch Longo, OF (Age 23)

2017 (A+): 20 PA, .563/.650/.688, 0 HR, 2 SB, 20.0 BB%, 10.0 K%, 283 wRC+

2017 (A): 232 PA, .361/.431/.530, 4 HR, 18 SB, 9.9 BB%, 15.1 K%, 170 wRC+

Despite missing the beginning of the season with an injury, had the most impressive offensive performance of any Indians prospect in 2017. Also stole 20 bases in 21 attempts.

Julian Merryweather, RHP (Age 26)

2017 (AAA): 16 GS, 78 IP, 21.3 K%, 7.0 BB%, 6.58 ERA, 3.89 FIP

2017 (AA): 9 GS, 50.2 IP, 25.5 K%, 4.9 BB%, 3.38 ERA, 3.10 FIP

Has the best-rated fastball in the Indians system, hitting the upper 90s. Struggled after being promoted to Triple-A in 2017 but has the command to succeed. Should make his MLB debut in 2018.

Johnathan Rodriguez, OF (Age 18)

2017 (R): 119 PA, .250/.381/.333, 0 HR, 0 SB, 17.6 BB%, 19.3 K%, 108 wRC+

The youngest player in the 2017 MLB draft, has a good eye at the plate and a great throwing arm. Has a very projectable frame at 6-foot-3 with the potential to develop power although he doesn’t have any yet.

Matt Esparza, RHP (Age 23)

2017 (AA): 17 GS, 94.2 IP, 17.8 K%, 8.9 BB%, 4.94 ERA, 5.14 FIP

2017 (A+): 9 GS, 47.0 IP, 20.3 K%, 5.6 BB%, 3.26 ERA, 4.25 FIP

Drafted in the 14th round from UC Irvine in 2015, Esparza struggled a bit in his jump to AA. Has managed to hold batters to a sub-.300 BABIP at all levels of play since single-A. Still fairly young for the AA level and is the subject of the #TeamEsparza hashtag across LGT.


Who should be the No. 13 Indians prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Tyler Freeman
    (24 votes)
  • 33%
    Eric Haase
    (50 votes)
  • 13%
    Quentin Holmes
    (20 votes)
  • 14%
    Mitch Longo
    (22 votes)
  • 22%
    Julian Merryweather
    (34 votes)
  • 0%
    Matt Esparza
    (1 vote)
151 votes total Vote Now