Cleveland Indians 2018 minor league awards

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Shane Biebber #57 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2018 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Shane Biebber #57 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2018 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians Minor League Hitter of the Year: Nolan Jones

Level(s): low-A Lake County, high-A Lynchburg
Stats: .283/.405/.466, 120 G, 519 PA, 21 2B, 19 HR, 89/131 BB/K

Nolan Jones was surprisingly available for the Cleveland Indians in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft after being widely considered a sure-fire first-round pick. He’s been working on the transition to third base, which has not been a great transition so far, but his bat has certainly progressed well.

Jones has a very steady left-handed swing with a good eye at the plate that produced a 17%+ walk rate on the season and striking out just over 25% with a strong swing that should translate well to an outfield corner if that’s where he may have to move in the end.

Runners-up

Drafted out of high school in California in the 2nd round in 2017, Tyler Freeman was very impressive in short-season New York-Penn League ball with Mahoning Valley. He played up the middle at both short and second and posted a .352/.405/.511 line with 29 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, and 14 stolen bases along with a 8/22 BB/K ratio.

Drafted in the 3rd round out of Towson in 2018, Richie Palacios had a very good draft season for the Cleveland Indians. He played second base primarily, hitting .361/.421/.538 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, and 7 stolen bases, posting a 19/27 BB/K ratio and reaching low-A. He’ll likely open 2019 in low-A again, but he has definitely put his name on the radar.

The Cleveland Indians moved Miguel Jerez out from behind the plate in 2018, and it seemed to open up his bat, as he hit .274/.360/.577 with 11 doubles and 14 home runs. He primarily played first base and left field. After spending multiple years in complex leagues, he’ll likely be pushed to full-season ball in 2019.