Outfield prospect George Valera is our Cleveland Indians No. 3 prospect, improving upon his No. 10 ranking last year. Valera won the fan vote by the slimmest of margin, one vote, eeking out Ethan Hankins 93-92.
The 18-year-old was actually born in the United States, spending the first 13 years of life in Queens, New York, before moving to the Dominican Republic after his father was injured in a traffic accident. The Indians signed Valera as one of the top international prospects in 2017 and after a wave of hype, he made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League last year, skipping the Dominican Summer League entirely.
Unfortunately, Valera’s pro debut lasted just six games, as his season was cut short by a broken hamate bone, but what a glorious six games they were.
Valera put up a .333/.409/.556 slashline in his six games, walking and striking out three times apiece and managed to mash his first professional home run (with a lovely bat flip mixed in)
#Indians 17yr old highly touted OF prospect George Valera with his first HR in just his 3rd game as a pro during Arizona Rookie League action. Valera signed last July 2nd out of the Dominican Republic for $1.3MM #Future #AZL @GV13__ pic.twitter.com/5MIV2acauh— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 23, 2018
Standing just 5-foot-10 and weighing 160 pounds, Valera has one of the smoothest swings in the Tribe system, allowing himself to maximize his power and create consistent contact while maintaining a level-headed approach at the plate.
Valera can play center field but projects as a corner outfielder in the future with an above average throwing arm and relatively strong route-running, according to most scouting reports that I’ve had a chance to read.
He even earned a special endorsement from a certain Angry Hamster this offseason:
Valera’s ceiling is through the roof, especially after fans have witnessed recent young phenoms make their pro debuts like Juan Sota and Ronald Acuna last season. He will likely begin 2019 with Low-A Mahoning Valley and has the potential to rocket through the Tribe system if he is not challenged.
For fun, here’s a couple more examples of Valera blasting home runs in instructional leagues.
#Indians 16yr old OF George Valera crushing a HR in off-season instructional league. Valera signed for $1.3MM on July 2nd 2017 out of Dominican Republic. One of top bats in all international signings this year. @GV13__ #Future pic.twitter.com/Yu2ANeRl5m— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) November 10, 2017
#Indians 2017 July 2nd International sign 17yr old left handed hitting OF George Valera crushing a HR during extended spring training. Valera big time prospect will skip the Dominican Summer League and start his career in the Arizona Rookie League. #Future @GV13__ pic.twitter.com/r2Kh55SN8T— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) May 20, 2018
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 4 PROSPECT FOR 2019?
Ethan Hankins, RHP (Age 18)
2018 (R): 2 GS, 3.0 IP, 42.9 K%, 0.0 BB%, 6.00 ERA, 1.07 FIP
2018 first round compensatory pick has the most potential of any arm in the Tribe system. Fastball nearing triple digits with life to it and the makings of a great change-up and curve.
Tyler Freeman, SS (Age 19)
2018 (A-): 301 PA, .352/.405/.511, 2 HR, 14 SB, 2.7 BB%, 7.3 K%, 168 wRC+
2017 second round competitive balance pick, Freeman is one of the best pure hitters in the Tribe system. He torched the New York Penn League in 2018, although his walk-rate is concerning.
Yu Chang, SS (Age 23)
2018 (AAA): 518 PA, .256/.330/.411, 14 HR, 4 SB, 8.5 BB%, 27.8 K%, 109 wRC+
2018 (AFL): 93 PA, 337/.396/.523, 4 HR, 1 SB, 7.5 BB%, 17.2 K%
Chang’s average improved in 2018, although his power dropped from 24 home runs to 14 in his first taste of Triple-A. He stood out in the Arizona Fall League and will compete for the Indians’ utility spot this year.
Brayan Rocchio, SS (Age 17)
2018 (DSL): 111 PA, .323/.391/.434, 1 HR, 8 SB, 4.5 BB%, 12.6 K%, 140 wRC+
2018 (R): 158 PA, .343/.389/.448, 1 HR, 14 SB, 6.3 BB%, 10.8 K%, 137 wRC+
Venezuelan signed in 2017, same class as Valera, destroyed the DSL and was promoted to the AZL quickly. Many scouts said he was the best player in the AZL last year, exploding up Tribe prospect rankings as a result.
Bo Naylor, C (Age 18)
2018 (R): 139 PA, .274/.381/.402, 2 HR, 5 SB, 15.1 BB%, 20.1 K%, 126 wRC+
2018 first round pick, Naylor brings an advanced plate approach and plus hitting to the catcher position. His prospect value will stay high as long as he can stay behind the plate.
Who should be the No. 4 Indians prospect?
This poll is closed