With a whopping 46% of the vote, Eli Morgan is our No. 16 Cleveland prospect for 2021, bumping up three spots from his No. 19 ranking in 2020. He may have been ranked higher this year, but he was just added to the list of eligible prospects to vote for in the most recent article.
Morgan, an eighth-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft, pitched 140.2 innings in 2019 across High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. His hot start with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats (33.2 IP, 7 ER, 19 H, 40 K) got him green-lit to make a quick jump to Double-A, where he spent the bulk of the season and pitched well early before tailing off later on.
At 5-foot-10 and not exactly throwing gas, Morgan doesn’t have the typical markings of a future stud in the rotation, but his success at every level is impossible to ignore. Since the start of 2018, Morgan has the sixth most strikeouts in the minor leagues (302). All of that without a dominant single pitch outside of a particularly good changeup and not a high velocity.
Morgan has made up for the lack of velocity with excellent control, never averaging more than two walks per nine innings at any level, barring a single start in Triple-A.
The Gonzaga alumnus was invited to Cleveland’s expanded roster in 2020, then earned an invite to the club’s 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He’ll be competing this spring for the No. 5 spot in the MLB staff’s rotation, although he’s likely a bit further down in the pecking order.
That being said, there’s a legitimate chance he helps the big league club at some point this year if the team needs a spot start in a doubleheader or there are (knock on wood) injuries in the starting rotation.
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.
Sam Hentges, LHP (Age 24)
2019 (AA): 26 GS, 128.2 IP, 21.4 K%, 10.9 BB%, 5.11 ERA, 3.84 FIP
After an underwhelming 2019 season in Double-A as a starting pitcher, Hentges opened eyes by hitting 100 mph in intersquad games in 2020, which could turn the southpaw into a huge weapon out of the bullpen in 2021.
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. 17 prospect?
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