Cleveland Top Prospects 2021, Tier 4

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tier 4, 45 FV

13. C Bo Naylor

Naylor got a very aggressive assignment for a young HS catcher out of Canada by being sent straight to full season A-Ball to expose him to as much catching as possible. By all accounts, scouts eye test and Davenport metric (+6), he mastered that part and is developing fine there, which is important, because he wasn't a lock to stay at C, but last season was a good step towards that. At the plate, he struggled mightily in the first two months of the season, then had a good June, but bad July again and finished strong in August. He was inconsistent and his BB/K didn't really improve from month to month (his K% did though at the expense of BB%) or 1st/2nd half. Still, his 110 wRc+ as a 19yo C in his first pro season gets a passing grade. The best case scenario of 50 tools across the board (most have him below that though) isn't exciting, but at C, it's pretty good. I fully expect him to be the starting catcher at A+.

14. SS Gabriel Arias

Arias is considered an elite SS, so that gives him a high floor already. He also performed well with the bat as a 19yo in A+. That said, there are some red flags to this breakout 2019 after struggling to hit the years before. His SwStr% was over 21%, indicating contact issues. That's why FG has a grim 35 FV on his hit tool. He does have some power and speed, so the key to his development will be pitch selection and improving his contact ability (some say this can't be taught, the "it" factor). I don't care if his surface stats nosedive (they most probably will), as long as he improves his peripherals and continues to shine on defense. I fully expect him to start at SS and some 3B In AA Akron.

15. RHP Lenny Torres

One of my favorite picks of what looks like an elite draft class for first time GM/shot caller Scott Barnsby. Chapeau. Torres was one of the best and youngest arms from a northeastern HS (scouts bake in a bit more development upside due to limited exposure and lesser competition). Then Torres entered the Arizona facility and the universal take from within and outside the org was that he looked even better and much more advanced than anticipated. Increasing the likelihood he can be a SP from a stuff perspective. Ain't that nice to hear? But, he went under the knife for TJ and missed the entire 2019 season. Torres has Tier 1/2 upside, but needs to log innings. Will they push him to A Ball or hold him back because of innings limit? I hope they let him start in full season ball, even if it's only for 1-2 innings starts to build up his arm.

Torres finishes the high upside portion of this Tier. These 3 can jump into Top 100 overall territory (50 FV) if they perform and develop towards their high ceilings.

16. RHP Carlos Vargas

Vargas was added to the 40 roster, despite never playing in full season minors ball. He is inconsistent and often wild, but when he's on, he has some of the best stuff in the system, and that's saying something considering ammount of high upside arms assembled. He cut down his BB% and if he keeps it there, I expect him to quickly dominate A+ where I think they'll start him. He has both a plus FB and SL, flashing plus plus on both. Command is a problem, but the control is setting in, he throws strikes. Changeup development is key for him to remain a SP, but a high end bullpen floor is a nice safety net to fall back on.

17. OF Daniel Johnson

After an injury hampered 2018, Johnson finally broke out in AA and AAA in 2019. His 120 wRc+ wasn't good enough for the top 50 (62nd) of 200 25yo in AAA though and he did it running a 370 BABIP. The good news is that he improved his BB/K moving up to AAA, so his approach is still developing and improving. He has crazy tools, but they're not showing up consistently in game. He has 70 grade speed but got caught 10 out of 22 times attempting to steal. That's probably why he only got a small cup of coffee last year and instead was held back to work on his game at the Alt site. Johnson has a good chance to earn a spot and lots of ABs in Cleveland.

Vargas and Johnson are two 40 roster players with crazy tools, but inconsistent gameday output. Both can be really good ML players if they can stabilize their game and gain consistency.

18. RHP Tanner Burns

Bulldog SEC performer and recent comp 1st rd pick. He doesn't wow with physical upside, but CLEFO has figured out that a good pitcher needs to have it upstairs as much as in his arm. Burns has both. He will have no problem with A Ball hitters, no matter where they start him and I expect him to end his first season in AA. 4 pitch mix with lots of 50/55 and the mental aptitude to squeeze out MOR.

19. LHP Logan Allen

Another pitchability lefty with plus changeup and command. Good athlete that played both ways in college (weapon in future Interleague games), so there's some upside left concentrating on pitching only. Like Burns, he should advance quickly, regardless of initial assignment. CLEFO knows college pitching, their track record is magnificent and those two have a lot of the same ingredients as the one's in our ML rotation. Rich getting richer.

40+ and 40 Tiers will be next, probably in sub sections as they're both crowded.

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