(Eastlake, OH) – The Lake County Captains, High-A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, have announced their expected Opening Day roster for the 2021 season. The Captains will begin the season, their first at the High-A level, with seven players who rank among Cleveland’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com. Four
(Eastlake, OH) – The Lake County Captains, High-A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, have announced their expected Opening Day roster for the 2021 season. The Captains will begin the season, their first at the High-A level, with seven players who rank among Cleveland’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com. Four of those top prospects are 20-years old and two of them are 2020 draft picks.
Seven top prospects are expected to begin the season with the Captains: OF George Valera (#4), SS Brayan Rocchio (#7), 2B Aaron Bracho (#8), RHP Tanner Burns (#15), LHP Logan Allen (#23), SS Jose Tena (#24) and C Bryan Lavastida (#27).
Valera: The 20-year old outfielder returns to the Captains after a cameo with the club at the end of the 2019 season. Valera, a left-handed hitter with power, posted an .802 OPS with eight home runs in 46 games with Short Season Mahoning Valley in 2019. He was the second-youngest regular in the circuit. Valera finished the 2019 season with the Captains, playing in six regular season games and three postseason games. Cleveland signed Valera as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017. The outfielder grew who grew up in New York and moved to the Dominican Republic at age 13.
Rocchio: A 20-year old, switch-hitting shortstop, Rocchio signed with Cleveland as part of their 2017 international free agent class. Rocchio posted an .832 OPS across two Rookie levels in 2018 before graduating to Short Season Mahoning Valley in 2019. As the New York-Penn League’s youngest regular, Rocchio hit .250/.310/.373 with five home runs. The Venezuelan-born shortstop has been nicknamed “The Professor” because of his high baseball IQ.
Bracho: Another 20-year old from Cleveland’s 2017 international signing class, Bracho was the youngest player invited to Cleveland’s alternate training site in 2020. The previous summer, the switch-hitting infielder slashed .281/.402/.570 in 38 games between the Rookie level Arizona League and Short Season Mahoning Valley. The Venezuelan-born infielder just celebrated his 20th birthday on April 24.
Burns: A right-handed pitcher out of Auburn University, Burns will make his professional debut with the Captains in 2021. Cleveland selected Burns with their second pick in the 2020 draft, taking him in the Competitive Balance A Round with the 36th overall selection. Burns was Auburn’s ace the last two seasons, taking over for 2018 #1 overall pick Casey Mize. He posted a 3.01 ERA across three seasons with Auburn, including a career-low 2.42 mark during the shortened 2020 season.
Allen: Cleveland selected Allen, a left-handed pitcher out of Florida International University, with their second round pick in 2020 (56th overall). The southpaw will begin his professional career with the Captains after putting up a 2.45 ERA for FIU during the shortened 2020 season. Across three seasons with the Golden Panthers, Allen struck out 246 batters and walked 47 in 183.2 innings. Allen, who is not related to Cleveland’s big league lefty of the same name, also played regularly at first base for FIU. He is the first player in Golden Panther history to play for the U.S. collegiate national team.
Tena: Tena is the fourth 20-year old from Cleveland’s 2017 international free agent class to open the season on the Captains’ roster. A left-handed hitting infielder from the Dominican Republic, Tena has slashed .319/.360/.425 as a pro across two Rookie level seasons. The nephew of 16-year big leaguer Juan Uribe, Tena has played most of his young career at shortstop, but also has experience at second and third base.
Lavastida: Lavastida returns to Lake County after finishing the tail end of the 2019 season with the Captains. In 58 games with Short Season Mahoning Valley that season, the right-handed hitting catcher batted .335/.408/.483. Lavastida finished the season in the New York Penn League’s top five for batting average (.335 – 4th), on-base percentage (.408 – 3rd), slugging percentage (.483 – 4th), OPS (.892 – 2nd), hits (70 – 5th), doubles (19 – 2nd) and runs (39 – 5th). He was the league’s Player of the Month in August after hitting .413/.486/.554. He was Cleveland’s 15th round selection in the 2018 draft (463rd overall) out of Hillsborough Community College (FL).
The Captains’ pitching staff features 15 arms, including seven returnees. RHP Nick Gallagher (2018-19), LHP Tim Herrin (2019), LHP Francisco Perez (2018), RHP Thomas Ponticelli (2018-19), LHP Kellen Rholl (2019), RHP Alex Royalty (2019) and LHP Matt Turner (2019) are all back with Lake County. The newcomers to the staff are Allen, Burns, RHP Kevin Coulter, RHP Hunter Gaddis, RHP Mason Hickman, RHP Jared Janczak, RHP Kevin Kelly, RHP Nate Ocker.
Lavastida, Mike Amditis and Gianpaul Gonzalez make up the Captains’ catching trio. Lavastida and Gonzalez are both returnees to Lake County, though Lavastida appeared in just one regular season game and three postseason games for the Captains at the end of the 2019 season. Gonzalez, selected by Cleveland in the 20th round of the 2014 draft out of Discipulos de Cristo in Puerto Rico, played eight games for the Captains in 2018 and 10 games in 2019. Amditis hit .252/.365/.383 in the Rookie level Arizona League in 2019. He was selected by Cleveland in the 21st round of the 2019 draft out of the University of Miami.
Three 20-year old top prospects – Rocchio, Bracho and Tena – headline the Captains’ infield group. The youngest of Lake County’s seven infielders is 19-year old first baseman Joe Naranjo. Cleveland’s third-round pick in 2019, Naranjo will celebrate his 20th birthday on May 11. The infield crew also includes a pair of returnees in Raynel Delgado and Daniel Schneemann. Delgado, a 21-year old switch-hitter, played 17 games with the Captains at the end of 2019 and hit .250/.269/.313 while playing all over the infield. Schneemann had a two-game cameo with the Captains in 2018 before playing in 70 games for Lake County in 2019. Schneemann hit .287/.366/374 while also playing all over the infield. Newcomer Victor Nova rounds out the group. Cleveland acquired Nova from the San Diego Padres in the seven-player, three way-trade that sent Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati and Franmil Reyes to Cleveland in 2019. Nova has played second base, third base, left field and centerfield during his pro career and hit .297/.404/.378 in the Rookie level Arizona League in 2019.
Valera leads the Captains outfielders as the group’s highest-ranked prospect. He is joined by three other returnees to Lake County in Jonathan Engelmann, Quentin Holmes and Austen Wade. Engelmann played outfield and first base for the Captains in 2019, hitting .259/.335/.356. Holmes, Cleveland’s second-round pick in 2017, played all of 2019 with the Captains, including 111 games as the team’s centerfielder. Wade played 41 games for the Captains in 2018, starting mostly in centerfield. He hit .366/.389/.367 for High-A Lynchburg in 2019 across 79 games. Will Brennan makes his Captains debut this year after beginning his pro career in 2019. Cleveland selected Brennan in the eighth round that year out of Kansas State.
The Captains open their 2021 season on the road on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:05 p.m. Lake County will take on the Lansing Lugnuts (High-A – Oakland) in a six-game series before returning home. The Captains’ home opener is Tuesday, May 11 at 6:35 p.m. against the Fort Wayne TinCaps (High-A – San Diego)
About the Captains
The Lake County Captains are the High-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. For more information, visit the Captains’ website at www.CaptainsBaseball.com, Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/CaptainsBaseball, Twitter @LCCaptains and Instagram @LCCaptains. Fans can also get the latest Captains news and offers by signing up for the Captains’ newsletter, The Anchor.