Winning with 41% of the vote, Brayan Rocchio is our No. 6 Cleveland prospect for 2021, improving four spots from his No. 10 rankings in 2020. Rocchio also was ranked No. 8 in 2019.
Signed out of Venezuela in the highly-touted 2017 international class, Rocchio was one of the Tribe’s top performers out of the DSL and the AZL.
After crushing the Dominican Summer League and earning a promotion to the States, Rocchio’s slash improved to .343/.389/.448, finishing third in the league in batting average while flashing some impressive leather defensively in the middle infield, and he did this all while just 17 years old.
Nicknamed “The Professor” due to his high baseball IQ and game awareness, Rocchio already shows the signs of a disciplined hitter, improving his walk rate to 6.3% and dropping his strikeout rate to 10.8% after getting promoted to the AZL. He was rated by Baseball America as the top prospect coming out of the 2018 Arizona Rookie League.
In 2019, Rocchio posted a career-best 6.8% walk rate and improved his power, slugging five home runs with a career-high ISO of .123, but it came at the expense of struggles to make consistent contact while playing for former Tribe affiliate Mahoning Valley in the New York Penn League.
Rocchio was expected to make his full-season debut in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other things in mind. Despite not getting an opportunity to play professionally in 2020, Rocchio did manage to impress during preseason games, including this oppo bomb he blasted off of Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen this past spring.
#Indians 19yr old SS prospect Brayan Rocchio starting today at 2B vs the DBacks with a 3 run HR of starter RHP Zac Gallen. Rocchio getting a chance to show what the future may hold in the MLB spring training game. #Professor @rocchio_25 pic.twitter.com/7Y7qUPoUZs— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 1, 2020
Look for Rocchio to debut this season at (now) High-A affiliate Lake County, in what many expect to be a breakout campaign.
Gabriel Arias, SS (Age 20)
2019 (A+ San Diego): 511 PA, .302./339/.470, 17 HR, 8 SB, 4.9 BB%, 25.0 K%, 120 wRC+
The top prospect return from the Mike Clevinger trade with San Diego, Arias is a middle infielder with serious pop, although has work to do with his patience at the plate and pitch selection.
Aaron Bracho, 2B (Age 19)
2019 (R): 137 PA, .296/.416/.593, 6 HR, 4 SB, 16.8 BB%, 15.3 K%, 162 wRC+
2019 (A-): 32 PA, .222/.344/.481, 2 HR, 0 SB, 15.6 BB%, 25.0 K%, 141 wRC+
Injury kept him from debuting in 2018, but the DR native made up for it in 2019, rebuilding his hype by posting incredible numbers in the AZL and earning a promotion to Mahoning Valley.
Daniel Espino, RHP (Age 20)
2019 (R): 6 GS, 13.2 IP, 30.2 K%, 9.4 BB%, 1.98 ERA, 4.20 FIP
2019 (A-): 3 GS, 10.0 IP, 40.0 K%, 11.1 BB%, 6.30 ERA, 2.60 FIP
2019 first-round pick struck out a third of the batters he faced in rookie ball and only got more deadly in Low-A as a 19-year-old. Fastball sits in upper 90s, occasionally touching triple digits. The first Tribe prep prospect to earn a promotion the season he was drafted since Francisco Lindor.
Ethan Hankins, RHP (Age 20)
2019 (A-): 8 GS, 38.2 IP, 27.9 K%, 11.7 BB%, 1.40 ERA, 3.22 FIP
2019 (A): 5 GS, 21.1 IP, 29.8 K%, 12.8 BB%, 4.64 ERA, 4.80 FIP
Tops out at 97 mph with strikeout stuff, but command issues and injuries have slowed his development.
Daniel Johnson, OF (Age 25)
2020 (MLB): 13 PA, .083/.154/.083, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.7 BB%, 38.5 K%, -71 wRC+
Saw a brief cup of coffee in the shortened 2020 season, but other than picking up his first career hit and walk, he didn’t have much to show for it and was sent back to the taxi squad.
Who should be Cleveland’s No. 7 prospect?
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