The Cleveland Indians have built themselves into a championship contender for the foreseeable future. With names like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Corey Kluber, the Tribe will likely enter the next few seasons as the favorite to win the NL Central.
The 2018 MLB Draft brought in several new prospects to the forefront of the organization — including three high school talents taken within the first 41 selections.
Here’s a look at which 2018 selections have made their way into the MLB Pipeline Top-30 list.
No. 3 Ethan Hankins (RHP)
- Comp. Balance A; 35th overall — Forsyth Central HS (GA)
No. 4 Noah “Bo” Naylor (C)
- 1st Round; 29th overall — Joan of Arc Catholic HS (ON)
No. 9 Lenny Torres (RHP)
- Comp. Balance A; 41st overall — Beacon HS (NY)
No. 13 Raynel Delgado (SS/2B)
- 6th Round; 193rd overall — Calvary Christian Academy (FL)
No. 17 Richard Palacios (SS)
- 3rd Round; 103rd overall — Towson
No. 18 Nick Sandlin (RHP)
- 2nd Round; 67th overall — Southern Mississippi
There was talk leading up to the draft about Hankins’ sign-ability. The Indians were able to secure the right-hander away from his commitment to Vanderbilt. The 18-year-old threw only three innings during his pro debut this season.
Naylor played in 33 games for the Arizona League squad and showed promise by handling lefties and righties at a similar clip. In fact, the left-hander posted a .826 OPS versus lefties and a .763 OPS versus righties. He also managed to record five stolen bases from behind the dish. However, if Cleveland plans on grooming him as a catcher, he’ll likely be limited in his base running ability.
Like Hankins, after being selected out of high school, Torres was relagated to Rookie-Ball. In 15.1 innings pitched, he struck out 22 batters while posting a 1.76 ERA. He’ll likely see a lot of time in the lower level of the minors, he doesn’t turn 18 years old until October 15.
Palacios and Sandlin are the only players to surpass the Arizona League. Palacios cruised through Rookie-Ball (.438) and Short-Season (.411), batting over .400 at each stop, before landing at Low-A Lake County. As for Sandlin, he made it all the way to Double-A Akron. After striking out 29 batters through 19.2 innings, between three levels of the minors, he struggled upon reaching the Double-A ranks. Hitters posted a .400 average against him, leading to five earned runs, during 4.1 innings of relief.