Earlier this week, all 30 MLB teams submitted their 60-man player pools for the upcoming season prior to the start of summer camp. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancelation of the minor league campaign, the league opted to give teams an expanded roster. Some teams haven't fully filled out their pools, but others have packed them with some of their top prospects.
The Cleveland Indians opted to give intriguing outfield prospect George Valera a chance this season by adding him to the taxi squad.
We know you're asking why we'd classify this move as "interesting," and it's simply because Valera, the fourth overall prospect in the farm system, hasn't logged significant playing time in the minors.
In 2018, Valera only played six games in rookie ball because of a broken hamate bone in his right hand. While Valera did participate in 46 short-season ball games last year, he only played in six Single-A contests, and didn't do much to impress. In those contests, the outfielder slashed .087/.192/.174 while logging two hits and three RBI.
Even with his small sample size, Cleveland is including him in the roster pool due to his swing and power in the batter's box. Valera and the three other top prospects in the organization (Nolan Jones, Tyler Freeman, Bo Naylor) will be stationed at the team's athletic training site in case players in the pool hit the injured list.
Cleveland wants to give their top prospects a shot during this extremely weird baseball season, unlike some other teams.