Checking In on Cleveland Indians Draft Pick Daniel Espino

Daniel Espino
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 30: A detailed view of a Cleveland Indians hats with the logo of Chief Wahoo on it in the dugout prior to the start of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on June 30, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Daniel Espino — Draft Pick for Cleveland Indians

Eighteen-year-old Daniel Espino’s greatest moment of 2019 came when he was selected in the MLB Draft on June 3rd.  Espino was the first round pick for the Cleveland Indians. There was no mystery as to why Espino was drafted so high — he is a 6’3’’ right-handed pitcher who throws 95-99 miles per hour. Velocity is not the only strength for the young right-hander. He also showcases a slider, curveball, and changeup. He even drew some comparisons to current Cleveland Indian pitcher Trevor Bauer.

Contract Negotiations and Minor League Career

Espino did not take much time to make his professional career official. He officially signed to play for the Cleveland Indians on June 14th. However, there was some negotiation on the financial aspects of his contract during this time. Espino and the Indians agreed to a $2.5 million signing bonus. Once the paperwork was official, Espino was sent to the Arizona League Indians.

Espino has made three starts for the rookie ball affiliate Arizona League Indians. In these three starts, he has logged five innings, given up one earned run, and struck out six. He has held opposing hitters to a .125 batting average and boasts a 0.40 WHIP. His only real failure was when he gave up a solo home run on July 17th. Espino has showcased big league command by not issuing a walk in his professional career.

Keys to Success

It is hard to say what the Indians really have in this young fireballer. He has pitched really well in his small sample size for the rookie ball affiliate. It is refreshing to see a high-school-aged pitcher attack the zone. Many young pitchers get into the professional ranks and nibble around the zone. This leads to a high number of walks and hits. Espino’s ability to strike out six and walk none speaks highly to his ability to locate the baseball. His ability to mix speeds and change locations has been a large part of his recent success.

Looking to the Future

Daniel Espino is currently the eighth ranked prospect in a loaded Indians farm system. This may be premature, considering he has only logged five professional innings. However, he has performed on a national platform for much of his life. The Indians are very high on Espino and have obviously invested a lot in him. There are only two pitching prospects rated higher than Espino in their system. With this in mind, he may progress quickly through the minor leagues.

It is doubtful that Indians fans will see this 2019 draft pick anytime soon. The Indians are 62-43 and are currently two games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. Their starting pitching is very strong and also relatively young. Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger are only 28 years old. Adam Plutko has just turned 27 this year. While the up and coming starters Zach Plesac and Shane Bieber are a mere 24 years old. With all this in mind, Espino is going to have to develop and prove himself in the minor league system before he gets his chance to contribute at the major league level.

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