The MLB All-Star Game is less than two weeks away and Cleveland Indians fans are expecting several players to take part.
Well, they were expecting that until the starting rotation was hit with injuries.
But before that event gets underway, the next crop of stars is set to play in the All-Star Futures Game.
The Indians ended up with one player in the event in Bo Naylor.
For those unaware, he is the younger brother of Josh Naylor.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) June 30, 2021
This is a great honor for one of the top players in the organization.
Naylor’s Current Trajectory
He is the team’s top catching prospect and just turned 21 years old earlier this year.
Unlike his brother, the younger Naylor is a homegrown talent.
He was the No. 28 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and has been rising up the Indians organization ever since.
2020 slowed the development of nearly all the top prospects across all MLB.
Naylor was no exception, but did make the jump from Single-A Lake County in 2019 to Double-A Akron in 2021.
So far this year he is slashing .179/.267/.265 and has 48 strikeouts in 32 games.
Obviously, that line is not pretty, but we are still talking about a very young player who did not play competitive baseball last season.
He is also at minimum a year or two away from being considered for time at the major league level.
There is truly no rush and fans know the Indians will never rush a young player to the majors because of team control years coming into play.
However, it would be cool to have the Naylor brothers on the team at the same time.
A Notable Omission?
Jones not making the game is not too big a surprise as he is the top prospect in the system and may even get MLB time soon.
He also took part in the 2019 event.
But Freeman is a bit of a surprising omission.
#Indians updated minor league leaders (OPS) 125+ PA
Oscar Gonzalez (Akron) .971
Trenton Brooks (Columbus) .948
Angel Martinez (Lynchburg) .895
Alex Call (Akron) .892
Will Benson (Akron) .890
Richie Palacios (Akron) .847
Tyler Freeman (Akron) .846
Andres Gimenez (Columbus) .840
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 28, 2021
He is the No. 2 player in the system and seems to fit the bill for the game.
Freeman just turned 22 years old, has an extremely high ceiling, and is still a year or two away from MLB action.
Alas, other teams have top prospects as well so the talent was spread out.
Right now, Jones, Freeman, and Naylor represent the future of this Indians franchise.
Jones and Naylor should have sure spots waiting for them in the near future.
Freeman may be the one who could end up being a trade chip given all the talent in the infield.
However, veterans being on the move to clear room would not be some new or unexpected strategy.