With 29% of the vote, Owen Miller debuts as our No. 13 Cleveland prospect for 2021.
Miller was one of the six pieces Cleveland acquired in the Mike Clevinger trade this past August, and he joins a crowded middle infield at the top of the minor league system.
A third-round pick by the Padres out of Illinois State in 2018, Miller made an immediate impact, slashing .335/.395/.440 in Low-A Tri-City over 49 games, and he didn’t miss a beat upon his midseason promotion to full-season Single-A Fort Wayne, actually improving his wRC+ to 145 with a .336/.368/.495 slash over 26 games.
San Diego decided to be aggressive with Miller in 2019, skipping High-A entirely and jumping him straight to Double-A for his first full season in the minor leagues. The jump from High-A to Double-A is regarded as the most difficult in baseball, but despite the double jump, Miller again performed exceptionally well.
Over the course of 130 games and 560 plate appearances in 2019, Miller slugged 13 home runs, stole five bases, and slashed .290/.355/.430 with a career-best 8.2% walk-rate and only increasing his strikeout rate by 0.5% to 15.4%, posting a 121 wRC+.
Miller finished the 2019 season as a Baseball America Double-A All-Star, was a Texas League All-Star, and earned Texas League Player of the Week honors twice during the regular season.
Needless to say, Miller’s bat can play.
About the only negative for Miller I’ve seen is that he’s been caught (9) as many times as he’s stolen bases (9) thus far in his brief MiLB career. He’s also primarily played shortstop but reports of lack of arm strength mean it’s most likely he’ll play second base at the MLB level.
Miller spent the 2020 season on San Diego’s and then Cleveland’s taxi squads. He reminds me of where Cleveland third-round pick in 2018 Richard Palacios would be if he hadn’t gotten hurt and missed the entire 2019 season with a shoulder injury.
Look for Miller to start 2021 in Triple-A with an opportunity to make Cleveland’s MLB roster immediately. Depending on what Cleveland is doing with Andrés Giménez, Miller could make the club outright out of spring training.
Bobby Bradley, 1B (Age 24)
2019 (AAA): 453 PA, .264/.344/.567, 33 HR, 0 SB, 10.2 BB%, 33.8 K%, 125 wRC+
2019 (MLB): 49 PA, .178/.245/.356, 1 HR, 0 SB, 8.2 BB%, 40.8 K%, 51 wRC+
A career-best 33 home runs at Triple-A earned the slugging first baseman his first cup of coffee in 2019, but with 1B Carlos Santana and DH Franmil Reyes healthy in 2020, Bradley didn’t get a chance last year.
Tanner Burns, RHP (Age 22)
Cleveland 2020 1st round MLB draft competitive balance pick
A prototypical Cleveland college pitcher draft pick who possesses great strikeout ability combined with excellent control. Could be a quick mover in the system.
Joey Cantillo, LHP (Age 21)
2019 (A): 19 GS, 98.0 IP, 34.7 K%, 7.3 BB%, 1.93 ERA, 2.15 FIP
2019 (A+): 3 GS, 13.2 IP, 25.4 K%, 11.1 BB%, 4.61 ERA, 4.98 FIP
Former Padres 16th round pick has soared through their system. Possesses stellar control and an elite changeup, but doesn’t blow away the radar gun.
Isaiah Greene, OF (Age 19)
Mets 2020 second-round MLB draft pick
An elite outfield defender with a cannon arm and power potential, Greene was a top 50 prospect in the 2020 MLB draft. Scouts believe he could be great if he improves his contact.
Angel Martinez, SS (Age 18)
2019 (DSL): 137 PA, .306/.402/.428, 1 HR, 11 SB, 11.1 BB%, 11.1 K%, 134 wRC+
Switch-hitting shortstop with excellent instincts and an already-mature approach at the plate. Opened eyes with his 2019 DSL performance as the top-performing Cleveland player.
Gabriel Rodriguez, 3B (Age 18)
2019 (DSL): 170 PA, .238/.335/.406, 3 HR, 3 SB, 8.8 BB%, 15.9 K%, 106 wRC+
2019 (AZL): 73 PA, .215/.288/.262, 0 HR, 1 SB, 5.5 BB%, 30.1 K%, 59 wRC+
The top international signing by Cleveland in 2018, Rodriguez is already physically mature to the point where he had to be moved to third base. Has the potential to be a big-time home run hitter as an infielder.
Carson Tucker, SS (Age 18)
Cleveland 2020 1st round MLB draft pick
The younger brother of Pirates MLB player Cole Tucker, Carson possesses plus speed and sprays hits to all fields, but has yet to debut in the minor leagues.
Lenny Torres, RHP (Age 20)
2018 (AZL): 5 GS, 15.1. IP, 34.9 K%, 6.4 BB%, 1.76 ERA, 2.38 FIP
The most impressive prep arm in the 2018 AZL, Torres missed the entire 2019 season with Tommy John surgery, but is back on the mound, briefly appearing in the fall instructional league in 2020.
Carlos Vargas, RHP (Age 21)
2019 (A-): 15 GS, 77.2. IP, 21.9 K%, 7.4 BB%, 4.52 ERA, 3.36 FIP
Flamethrowing right-handed starter who can approach triple digits with a low 90s slider. Was added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Josh Wolf, RHP (Age 20)
2019 (R): 5 GS, 8.0 IP, 36.4 K%, 3.0 BB%, 3.38 ERA, 1.37 FIP, 58 strikes, 11 balls.
Because I gave OneTwoSeven a hard time I’m doing him a solid and tossing Josh Wolf onto the list. With a fastball and curveball that rate as plus pitches and rookie league velocity that touched 94 MPH, the recent trade acquisition looks right at home in the Cleveland system.
Who should be Cleveland’s No. 14 prospect?
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