(AKRON, OHIO) May 3, 2021 – The Akron RubberDucks, Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, will feature two of the major league club’s top five prospects, according to MLB.com, when they open the 2021 season at Canal Park on Tuesday. Shortstop Tyler Freeman (No. 2) and catcher Bo Naylor (No.
(AKRON, OHIO) May 3, 2021 – The Akron RubberDucks, Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, will feature two of the major league club’s top five prospects, according to MLB.com, when they open the 2021 season at Canal Park on Tuesday. Shortstop Tyler Freeman (No. 2) and catcher Bo Naylor (No. 3) are each ranked by MLB.com among the Tribe’s top prospects entering the 2021 season. They are slated for their Double-A debuts when the season opens in Akron at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets).
The Indians announced an initial group of 27 players assigned to the Double-A club, which is beginning its 31st season as an Indians affiliate in Northeast Ohio and 24th at Canal Park in downtown Akron. With the 2020 minor league season canceled, Freeman and Naylor participated in the alternate site for Cleveland last year. Left-hander Joey Cantillo (MLB.com No. 22 Indians prospect) was acquired in Cleveland’s trade of Mike Clevinger to San Diego on Aug. 31 and was at the alternate site for the Padres and Indians last season. Outfielder Will Benson played for Team Texas in the independent Constellation Energy League in Sugar Land, Texas.
In Naylor (drafted No. 29 overall in 2018) and Benson (No. 14 overall in 2016), the RubberDucks will feature two Indians first-round picks for the first time since 2016, when Clint Frazier (2013) and Bradley Zimmer (2014) teamed up in the outfield during the club’s last Eastern League championship season in 2016.
Among the 27 initial RubberDucks, only six have played as high as Double-A in their careers. All of those appeared for Akron in 2019.
Alex Call (81) and Oscar González (29) are returning outfielders. Joining them will be Benson, Steven Kwan and Chris Roller, who will make his Indians organizational debut after being a Rule 5 selection from the Los Angeles Dodgers system in December.
All three catchers are new, including Naylor, Mike Rivera and Josh Rolette. 2019 RubberDuck Andruw Monasterio is the only returning infielder, although Trenton Brooks, a 2019 RubberDucks outfielder, will play first base. The other infielders are Freeman, Jose Fermín, Marcos González and Richard Palacios.
Ohio State alumnus Tanner Tully, the 2019 Akron innings leader (129.1) will be the most experienced member of a pitching staff that otherwise has a total of 10 Double-A innings, all by left-hander Eli Lingos when he made a start and relief appearance for Akron in 2019. The initial 13-member staff includes right-handers Dakody Clemmer, Justin Garza, Shane McCarthy, Nick Mikolajchak, Juan Móta, and Aaron Pinto, with left-handers Cantillo, Lingos, Tully, Skylar Árias, Juan Hillman, Jake Miednik and Francisco Pérez.
The RubberDucks start a six-game homestand Tuesday against Binghamton to open the Double-A Northeast schedule in Major League Baseball’s newly formed Player Development League. The roster is subject to change prior to the opening game at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at Canal Park. Tickets are available at the Canal Park box office by calling (330) 253-5153 or at www.akronrubberducks.com.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The RubberDucks season, powered by FirstEnergy, opens at home May 4 against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 330-253-5151 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or visit www.akronrubberducks.com. For more information about the team, please call 330-253-5151, visit the website at akronrubberducks.com, Facebook page facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks, or on Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck, and Instagram at @akronrubberducks.