With 38% of the vote, Joey Cantillo debuts as our No. 14 Cleveland prospect for 2021.
A starting southpaw, Cantillo was one of the six pieces Cleveland acquired in the Mike Clevinger trade this past August, and he joins a system loaded with starting pitching talent.
A 16th-round pick by the Padres out of Kailua High School in Hawaii in 2017, Cantillo turned down a scholarship to the University of Kentucky to go pro as a teenager, and was decent out of the bullpen in his Arizona Rookie League debut, sporting a 4.50 ERA in seven appearances that year, although he impressively struck out 14 batters in 8.0 innings.
Cantillo began 2018 by repeating in the AZL. Not a great sign for a prospect, but he made the most of it, earning nine starts in 11 appearances with a 2.18 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and whiffing 58 batters in 45.0 innings to earn a promotion to full-season Fort Wayne, skipping short-season Low-A entirely.
Cantillo again began the 2019 season in Fort Wayne and it was his best performance yet, striking out 128 batters in 98 innings while sporting a 1.93 ERA, an eye-popping 0.87 WHIP, and holding opposing batters to a .173 batting average against in 98 innings. He earned Pitcher of the Week honors three times in the Midwest League as well as Player of the Month in June 2019 when he struck out 30, walked one and allowed one run in 25 innings.
The southpaw again was promoted, this time to High-A, where he finished the season with three decent, albeit not amazing starts.
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, Cantillo possesses a low-90s fastball that he locates well and gets some decent swing and miss on, but what really impresses scouts has been his changeup. Perhaps the most impressive thing about it is the fact that he didn’t even throw it in high school. Despite not having thrown it for long, it’s his highest-graded pitch on all scouting sites and actually is one of the top-graded changeups in the entire Cleveland system, just behind Eli Morgan.
While he may not have possessed the stud prospect pedigree out of high school, Cantillo’s work ethic paid off and he was invited to San Diego’s expanded roster in 2020 before being traded to Cleveland.
Look for him to begin 2021 in Double-A in his age 21-season. He’s not far away.
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.
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.
Petey Halpin, OF (Age 18)
Cleveland 2020 third round MLB draft pick
Wiry left-handed hitting outfielder with sneaky pop, good speed, arm and solid contact skills that could develop into more.
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. 15 prospect?
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