Southpaw starting pitcher Sam Hentges is our No. 12 Cleveland Indians prospect after he wasn’t ranked at all last season, although that makes sense because he was coming back from 2016 Tommy John surgery.
In his first full season back from the lengthy surgery recovery, Hentges impressed at High-A Lynchburg, staying healthy for nearly the entire season. He made a statement in his third start of the season, striking out 10 batters in 6.0 shutout innings. Hentges is one of only five pitchers in the Tribe minor league system with multiple double digit strikeout outings under his belt.
Standing 6-foot-6, Hentges has the perfect frame for an powerful starter and considering his Minnesota roots, the 22-year-old still has a bit of projection remaining for both his velocity and his durability.
At this point, Hentges is the top-rated left-handed starting pitcher in the Indians system, which is crazy considering how many were in the top 10 just a few years ago that have dealt with their own issues (Rob Kaminsky, Brady Aiken, Juan Hillman, etc.). The Indians added Hentges to their 40-man roster this past November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Hentges possesses a solid low to mid 90s fastball that has an excellent plane and a wicked curve, although command is still a bit of an issue with him. While he has consistently struck out more than one batter per inning throughout his career, he still walked 4.09 batters per nine innings last season, which kept his average innings pitched at just 5.14. He’ll have to improve his command to reach his full potential, which some consider as a SP3 or even better.
Look for Hentges to begin the 2019 campaign by making his Double-A debut for Akron in the RubberDucks’ starting rotation. He has the potential to make another leap in the prospect rankings if his control improves this season.
WHO SHOULD BE THE NO. 13 PROSPECT FOR 2019?
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.
Nick Sandlin, RHP (Age 22)
2018 (R): 3 G, 3.0 IP, 40.0 K%, 0.0 BB%, 0.00 ERA, 1.40 FIP
2018 (A): 10 G, 10.1 IP, 39.5 K%, 0.0 BB%, 1.74 ERA, 0.58 FIP
2018 (A+): 7 G, 6.1 IP, 40.0 K%, 8.0 BB%, 1.42 ERA, 1.62 FIP
2018 (AA): 5 G, 4.1 IP, 30.4 K%, 4.4 BB%, 10.38 ERA, 1.48 FIP
Indians 2018 second round pick advanced all the way to Double-A Akron in just three months. The wicked sidearm reliever with great control is expected to be the first 2018 draft pick to make it to the big leagues.
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.
Who should be the No. 13 Indians prospect?
Jean Carlos Mejia
188 votes total