Young middle infielder Brayan Rocchio is our No. 8 Cleveland Indians prospect for 2019, improving drastically from not being ranked at all in last year’s rankings.
Rocchio was signed out of Venezuela in the highly-touted 2017 international signing class for the Indians that included George Valera and Aaron Bracho, but injuries to Bracho and Valera opened the door for Rocchio to shine.
The switch-hitter debuted in the Dominican Summer League, but didn’t stay there long after proving he needed a greater challenge, earning a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League after sporting a .323/.391/.434 slashline through 25 games.
Once he arrived in Arizona, Rocchio actually played even better, slashing .343/.389/.448 and finishing third in the league in batting average while flashing some impressive leather defensively from shortstop, third and second base. He also led all Indians rookies in doubles with 10, and he did this all while just 17 years old.
Nicknamed “The Professor” due to his high baseball IQ and game awareness, Rocchio already shows the signs of a disciplined hitter, improving his walk rate to 6.3 percent and dropping his strikeout rate to 10.8 percent after getting promoted to the AZL. He was rated by Baseball America as the top prospect coming out of the 2018 Arizona Rookie League.
Slow motion breakdown of #Indians switch hitting INF prospect 17yr old Brayan Rocchio from the right side of the plate. Rocchio was tremendous raising his stock in his 1st pro-season between the DSL & AZL Indians.
107-242 40R 12(2B) 4(3B) 2HR 29RBI 15BB 22SB .335 AVG .390 OBP pic.twitter.com/CCIoDPGK6P
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) November 8, 2018
In addition to his sensational hitting and defense, Rocchio also possesses some serious wheels, stealing 22 bases last season and consistently putting pressure on the defense by aggressively looking to stretch singles into doubles while looking to also move from first to third.
If there are any negatives with Rocchio, he needs to improve his jumps and timing on the basepaths because he was caught stealing 13 times last year. He also doesn’t have tremendous arm strength so it’s possible he gets transitioned to second base by the time he’s ready for the major leagues.
Rocchio likely will begin the 2019 season in Low-A Mahoning Valley and could be promoted to Single-A Lake County if he continues to find the same amount of success he’s experienced thus far in his young career.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 9 PROSPECT FOR 2019?
Bo Naylor, C (Age 18)
2018 (R): 139 PA, .274/.381/.402, 2 HR, 5 SB, 15.1 BB%, 20.1 K%, 126 wRC+
2018 first round pick, Naylor brings an advanced plate approach and plus hitting to the catcher position. His prospect value will stay high as long as he can stay behind the plate.
Luis Oviedo, RHP (Age 19)
2018 (A-): 9 GS, 48.0 IP, 32.5 K%, 5.3 BB%, 1.88 ERA, 2.44 FIP
2018 (A): 2 GS, 9.0 IP, 16.7 K%, 19.4 BB%, 3.00, 4.48 FIP
The Venezuelan broke out in 2018, winning back-to-back-to-back Pitcher of the Week awards in his Low-A debut for Mahoning Valley. He’s a sinkerballer with nasty swing and miss stuff in the mid 90s.
Lenny Torres, RHP (Age 18)
2018 (R): 5 GS, 15.1 IP, 34.9 K%, 6.4 BB%, 1.76 ERA, 2.38 FIP
Indians 2018 first round competitive balance pick was completely unfazed in pro debut, pounding the strike zone and missing bats with a mid to upper 90s fastball and a potentially wicked slider.
Sam Hentges, LHP (Age 22)
2018 (A+): 23 GS, 118.1 IP, 24.2 K%, 10.5 BB%, 3.27 ERA, 3.21 FIP
The six-foot-six southpaw didn’t miss a beat in his first full season since 2016 Tommy John surgery and Indians showed faith in him by adding him to the 40-man roster to avoid the Rule 5 draft.
Daniel Johnson, OF (Age 23)
2018 (R): 24 PA, .300/.417/.450, 1 HR, 1 SB, 8.3 BB%, 8.3 K%, 152 wRC+
2018 (AA): 391 PA, .267/.321/.410, 6 HR, 21 SB, 5.9 BB%, 23.0 K%, 103 wRC+
Acquired in the Yan Gomes trade, Johnson possesses plus speed, arm strength and power from the outfield. Johnson’s 2018 season was affected by a broken hamate bone injury, which sapped his power.
Who should be the No. 9 Indians prospect?
157 votes total