Sidearmer Nick Sandlin is our No. 14 Cleveland Indians prospect after he exploded through the Tribe minor league system last season after being taken in the second round of the 2018 MLB draft with pick No. 67 overall.
During his stint at Southern Mississippi, Sandlin transitioned from sidearm reliever to starting pitcher and put up some downright ridiculous numbers in his junior season in 2018 where he made 15 starts, sported a 1.06 ERA over 102.1 innings pitched while striking out 144 and walking just 18. Sandlin’s 0.71 WHIP led all Divison I pitching prospects.
The Indians converted Sandlin to the bullpen after he was drafted and he immediately proved too talented for his initial levels, striking out four in his first three innings at the Arizona Rookie League, which were all scoreless.
Sandlin was quickly promoted to Single-A Lake County, skipping Low-A Mahoning Valley entirely, and he dominated there as well, sporting a 1.74 ERA over 10 appearances where he struck out 15 batters and walked none in 10.1 innings. This earned him another promotion to High-A Lynchburg, where he whiffed 10 more batters in 6.1 innings over another seven stellar appearances, although he finally walked two batters.
Sandlin finished the season making five appearances out of the pen for Double-A Akron, where he finally came back down to Earth a bit. His strikeout and walk rates were still sensational at 30.4 and 4.4 percent respectively, but a ridiculously unlucky .571 BABIP against led to a 10.38 ERA in a small sample size of 4.1 innings.
Sandlin throws in the low to mid 90s from multiple arm angles with a fastball, slider and change-up that all flash plus. He is expected to be the first player in the 2018 draft to make it to the big leagues, possibly taking the same path that former Indians relievers Cody Allen and Kyle Crockett did in their sophomore seasons after also advancing to Akron after being drafted.
Look for Sandlin to begin this year in Akron, but if his opposing hitters’ BABIP regresses back to normal, he could be helping out the beleaguered Indians bullpen by midseason or even sooner.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 15 PROSPECT FOR 2019?
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.
Eric Haase, C (Age 26)
2018 (AAA): 477 PA, .236/.288/.443, 20 HR, 3 SB, 6.5 BB%, 30.0 K%, 102 wRC+
Had some difficulty adjusting to his first full season at Triple-A but still managed to hit 20 home runs for the third year in a row. Was named the top defensive player in the Indians system by MLB Pipeline after throwing out 48.5 percent of basestealers.
Aaron Civale, RHP (Age 23)
2018 (AA): 21 GS, 106.1 IP, 17.5 K%, 4.7 BB%, 3.89 ERA, 3.98 FIP
Slowed by injury in his 2018 Double-A debut that saw his strikeout rate drop, Civale still showed the impeccable control that has allowed him to quickly advance through the Tribe system since being drafted in the third round in 2016.
Eli Morgan, RHP (Age 22)
2018 (A): 8 GS, 44.1 IP, 32.9 K%, 4.7 BB%, 1.83 ERA, 2.22 FIP
2018 (A+): 19 GS, 99.0 IP, 24.0 K%, 6.2 BB%, 3.91 ERA, 3.75 FIP
Gonzaga alum drafted in eighth round of 2017 doesn’t have elite velocity or size, but makes up for it with stellar command and the best change-up in the Tribe system, which helps spike his strikeout rate.
Who should be the No. 15 Indians prospect?
Jean Carlos Mejia
123 votes total