Three of the Indians' best prospects hail from their 2017 international class: Dominican outfielder George Valera and Venezuelan switch-hitting middle infielders Rocchio and Aaron Bracho. While Bracho ($1.5 million) and Valera ($1.3 million) landed seven-figure bonuses, Rocchio was a bargain at $125,000. He batted .335 as a 17-year-old who finished his 2018 pro debut in the United States and held his own as the short-season New York-Penn League's youngest regular last year.
Rocchio stands out with his advanced feel for hitting and his high baseball IQ, which has earned him the nickname "The Professor." He recognizes pitches better than most teenagers and makes line-drive contact with a smooth stroke from both sides of the plate, though he puts the bat on the ball so easily that it cuts into his walk totals. He's small but has quick hands and snap in his wrists that should produce double-digit home run power once he matures physically.
With plus speed and an aggressive nature on the basepaths, Rocchio could pile up steals once he refines his technique. His quickness and instincts give him plenty of range at shortstop, where he's a quality defender with reliable hands. He should be able to stay at the position despite average arm strength, compensating by getting rid of the ball quickly.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
The Indians' 2017 international class has a chance to be special, highlighted by three potential impact hitters in Rocchio, fellow Venezuelan switch-hitting shortstop Aaron Bracho and Dominican outfielder George Valera. His $125,000 bonus was a fraction of what Cleveland paid Bracho ($1.5 million) and Valera ($1.3 million), and he already looks like a bargain. Rocchio hit his way to the United States as a 17-year-old last summer, finishing third in the Arizona League batting race (.343) as the rookie circuit's third-youngest qualifier.
Rocchio has advanced feel for hitting and pitch recognition, along with a sweet swing from both sides of the plate. He commands the strike zone but makes contact so easily that he doesn't draw many walks. While he's small and not physically mature, he has quick hands and snap in his wrists that should produce at least gap power.
Rocchio has plus speed and is very aggressive on the bases, so he could be a prolific basestealer once he improves his reads and jumps. His quickness and instincts give him solid range at shortstop, though his arm is merely average and might prompt an eventual move to second base. The Indians love his makeup and he has earned the nickname "The Professor" for his high baseball IQ.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
The Indians landed Rocchio during the same 2017-18 international signing period that also netted the organization rising prospects George Valera and Aaron Bracho. While those two players were both plagued by injuries in '18, Rocchio excelled in his first taste of pro ball at age 17, beginning in the Dominican Summer League and then moving stateside to the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he was named a postseason All-Star after producing a .343 average, the circuit's third-best mark.
The switch-hitting Rocchio possesses one of the more advanced bats in Cleveland's system, as some evaluators have pegged him as a plus hitter. He has preternatural feel for finding the barrel from both sides of the plate to go along with an advanced approach and present pitch recognition. And while he's currently lean and somewhat undersized, Rocchio does have a projectable frame that portends modest game power in future years.
Rocchio's speed is another plus tool, one that gives him impact potential on the basepaths and translates to above-average range at shortstop, where he's an above-average defender with average arm strength. What's more, club officials are quick to praise the teenager's maturity, makeup and intelligence, qualities that they believe help make him a special player.