2020-21 MLB International Reviews: Cleveland Indians
With Brayan Rocchio, Aaron Bracho, Angel Martinez and then Jose Pastrano from their 2019 signing class, the Indians have stocked up on switch-hitting, instinctive shortstops with good contact skills from Latin America. They added more of that prototype in their most recent international signing class, plus one of the top catchers available.
Top Of The Class
Dominican shortstop Angel Genao, who trained with Aldo Marrero, is a smooth, steady player with good baseball instincts. The shortstop on the team from the Dominican Republic that played in the 2017 Little League World Series, Genao is a switch-hitter with a calm, easy swing from both sides of the plate. It's a balanced, compact stroke with good path through the hitting zone, geared to hit line drives to all fields. He makes frequent contact with gap power now and the strength projection in his 6-foot-1, 160-pound frame to do more damage later on, though it's probably going to be a hit-over-power offensive profile. Genao doesn't have one plus tool that sticks out or the explosion of some other shortstops, but his savvy and game acumen help everything play up. His arm has a chance to be plus, with good defensive actions, average speed and a good internal clock at shortstop.
Dominican shortstop Fran Alduey has quick-twitch athleticism in a smaller 5-foot-8 frame. He has improved his speed and arm strength, running plus now and showing flashes of an above-average arm as well. Alduey is a switch-hitter who has shown good bat-to-ball skills against live pitching, using his hands well with good bat control from both sides of the plate and a solid sense of the strike zone for his age. It's mostly a line-drive approach with occasional doubles, though he's unlikely to ever drive the ball with a lot of impact. Alduey trained with Carlos Guzman.
Robert Lopez was one of the top Venezuelan catchers in the 2020 international class. He's 5-foot-11, 185 pounds and projects to stick behind the plate, drawing high marks for his instincts, baseball IQ and leadership skills. He has solid catch-and-throw skills, with his arm strength improving to around an average tool now. Lopez has shown a promising bat for a catcher too, both in terms of his contact skills from the left side and his power. Lopez has good power already for his age, with a chance to grow into above-average power that he has a good chance of tapping into in games because of the way his swing works. Lopez trained with Giovanni Silva of the Masa Baseball Academy and with Johan Ocanto.
Names To Know
Jesus Montilla, SS, Venezuela: Montilla isn't that big but he's a savvy player with high-level game acumen for his age. He has a good chance to stay at shortstop, where his hands and feet work well with good instincts. That feel for the game shows up in the batter's box too, where he has good plate discipline and bat control. Montilla trained with Jose Salas.
Richard Polanco, SS, Dominican Republic: Polanco is an offensive-minded infielder with big hands and strong wrists that help him generate impressive bat speed and frequent hard contact from both sides of the plate. He should have some physicality to him once he fills out and be able to hit for power, with his defense likely fitting better at third base. Polanco trained with Eddy Fontana.
Yefri Rivera, SS, Dominican Republic: Rivera is a defense-first shortstop with outstanding hands and slick actions in the field, getting rid of the ball with a fast exchange to an arm that's flashing plus. He has a chance to be a plus defender, with his glove ahead of his bat, though he has solid contact skills without much power from both sides of the plate. Rivera and Fran Alduey trained together with Carlos Guzman.
Emerson Purroy, SS, Venezuela: Purroy doesn't have a standout tool, but he's a steady, sum-of-the-parts type player with the athleticism to potentially stay at shortstop and good bat-to-ball skills from both sides, with his righthanded swing further ahead of his lefty stroke. Purroy trained with Kander Depablos.
Miguel Lopez, SS, Dominican Republic: Lopez had an extremely small, skinny build early in the scouting process, though even at that time he showed good contact skills and the ability to catch up to good velocity. He's still on the shorter side but he has added strength that has helped improve his body coordination, projecting as a middle infielder with a chance to stay at shortstop. Lopez trained with Fausto Garcia.
The Indians spend most of their bonus pool money on position players, but one under-the-radar pitcher to keep an eye on is righthander Austin Aldeano from Panama. He's 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and throws strikes with a fastball that has been up to 90 mph with the physical projection for more velocity as he gets stronger. He mixes a curveball and changeup into his three-pitch mix with good mechanics and pitchability for his age.