Whenever someone describes the Indians’ farm system as something other than “depleted,” they usually point to the multitude of high-upside middle infielders in the low minors—guys like Ronny Rodriguez and Dorssys Paulino who have a lot of development ahead of them but a lot of projection as well. Joining these names in the outfield is D’Vone McClure.
McClure defines the word “athlete” in terms of baseball prospects. Tools are there—speed, size, projectable power—but it will take good coaching for him to effectively use those to be a blue chip player in the farm system.
The second 2012 draftee to make it on the list thus far, McClure joins Kieran Lovegrove as another guy who wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the money saved by taking Tyler Naquin in the first round. McClure had a strong commitment to Arkansas, but Cleveland had the money to lure him away.
Comparisons to Domonic Brown aren’t far off, and don’t let that sour you on McClure. Brown was a consensus Top 5 prospect before faltering the Majors the past couple years due to injuries and inconsistent opportunities.
McClure is a strong 6’3″ and 190 lbs at only 19 years old, and ESPN’s scouting report said he “has one of the best bodies in the draft.” Physical tools won’t get you anywhere unless you properly apply them, meaning McClure is a long ways off from making an impact in Cleveland. But if things all work out, that impact could be a strong one.
Running speed is his best tool right now, and it will likely continue to be throughout his career—he’s about a 60 on the 20/80 scouting scale, and he could have average to slightly above-average power down the road to pair with it. While McClure is definitely raw as evidenced by his .211/.305/.289 slashline in 107 rookie ball plate appearances last year,
I’m encouraged by his over-10 percent walk rate in his first action of pro ball. His hit tool will be his weakest as he moves through the system, and it’ll be the thing keeping him moving slowly. But solid power and great speed will always make him a guy to remember in the coming years. In terms of defense, McClure will see plenty of time in center field for now but a move to a corner is likely down the road.
McClure could end up in a big league lineup in four or five years, or he could be lining up at the unemployment office. But he’s one of the biggest upside plays available in the Tribe’s farm system so remember his name a few seasons down the road.
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