Strikeout artist Luis Oviedo is our No. 10 Cleveland Indians prospect for 2019, improving massively from not being ranked at all last year.
And it make sense that Oviedo wasn’t ranked heading into last year.
Signed out of Venezuela in 2015, Oviedo had a 7.14 ERA in his stateside debut in the Arizona Rookie League, although if one peered a little closer at those numbers, they may have seen some future potential in his 12.19 K/9. I also heard that the Indians coaches and training staff limited Oviedo’s arsenal in 2017, having him focus on developing some of his other pitches during games.
That focus paid off when Oviedo’s full talent was unleashed last season in his debut for the Low-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In his second start, he tossed 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out seven batters and walking none. In start number three, he allowed one run on two hits in 6.0 innings while striking out a career-high 12 batters. Start number four was 7.0 shutout innings with seven more whiffs and no walks and he capped off his run of dominance with 5.0 innings without allowing an earned run while striking out six.
Oviedo was so dominant during this stretch that he was named the Pitcher of the Week for the New York Penn League three straight times, the weeks of 6/24/18, 7/1/18 and 7/8/18.
After just nine starts in Low-A, Oviedo was promoted to full season Single-A Lake County. Perhaps tired or just facing stiffer competition, Oviedo’s stuff wasn’t nearly as dominant in his two starts for the Captains, although he did manage to earn a win and hold opposing offenses to a 3.00 ERA.
Standing 6-foot-4, Oviedo’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s and he can occasionally touch the upper 90s. He also possesses a slider, curveball and change-up, which can all make opposing hitters miss. If he can continue to develop his command of all four pitches, he has the potential to be a front of the rotation starter.
This will be a big year for Oviedo as he’ll have his arm tested over the course of a full season for the first time. If he can prove his run at Low-A can be repeated at the upper levels, he might vault into becoming the No. 1 pitching prospect in the system.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 11 PROSPECT FOR 2019?
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.
Oscar Mercado, OF (Age 24)
2018 Cardinals (AAA): 427 PA, .285/.351/.408, 8 HR, 31 SB, 8.4 BB%, 15.0 K%, 101 wRC+
2018 Indians (AAA): 119 PA, .252/.342/.320, 0 HR, 6 SB, 10.9 BB%, 19.3 K%, 93 wRC+
2013 second round pick acquired in a trade from the Cardinals for Conner Capel last summer. Brings elite speed and strong defense in the outfield, but hit tool is still catching up.
Jean Carlos Mejia, RHP (Age 22)
2018 (A): 15 GS, 92.0 IP, 26.1 K%, 5.4 BB%, 3.13 ERA, 2.55 FIP
2018 (A+): 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 12.5 K%, 4.2 BB%, 6.00 ERA, 2.86 FIP
Exploded into relevance in the second half of 2018, when he racked up 78 strikeouts over the final two months of the season, top five in all of MiLB. Earned a spot on the Tribe’s 40-man roster for his effort.
Raynel Delgado, 3B (Age 18)
2018 (R): 204 PA, .306/.409/.382, 1 HR, 10 SB, 14.7 BB%, 21.6 K%, 133 wRC+
2018 sixth round pick the Indians paid $664,400 over slot to sign. Delgado held his own in his professional debut, putting up strong numbers and showing great patience at the plate in the AZL.
Richard Palacios, SS (Age 21)
2018 (R): 22 PA, .438/.591/.875, 2 HR, 2 SB, 27.3 BB%, 9.1 K%, 281 wRC+
2018 (A-): 86 PA, .411/.477/.589, 2 HR, 2 SB, 12.8 BB%, 14.0 K%, 208 wRC+
2018 (A): 82 PA, .300/.317/.425, 2 HR, 3 SB, 2.4 BB%, 15.9 K%, 109 wRC+
Indians 2018 third round draft pick out of Towson University tore through the short season leagues and was not challenged until arriving in full-season Lake County, where he still had a wRC+ above 100.
Who should be the No. 11 Indians prospect?
Jean Carlos Mejia
151 votes total