Cleveland Guardians Prospects: 2024 Midseason Top 30 Update


It’s been a banner year for the Guardians in the majors and the minors. While the big league club is trying to run away with the AL Central division, the Guardians are seeing a number of young prospects take big steps forward in the minors, as well.

Cleveland has too many middle infielders, which gives the team ammunition to make trades if it’s willing to add salary to the big league club. The Guardians have a nice mix of power bats, as well, including the deepest group of first base prospects in the minors.

The pitching is also in solid shape, with high-ceiling arms like Alex Clemmey paired with polished pitchers like Parker Messick.

Baseball America subscribers can see the full updated Guardians Top 30 here. Notable risers, fallers, new additions and injury updates are below.

Notable Risers 

Ralphy Velazquez, 1B

Velazquez shelved his catching gear to focus on first base and hitting in his first full pro season. He’s impressed scouts, projecting to hit for average and power. Velazquez has begun playing some left field, but he’s one of a large number of interesting first base prospects for the Guardians.

Angel Genao, SS/2B

Genao worked hard all offseason on seeing the ball better and making better swing decisions. He’s reaping the rewards, getting better pitches to hit and hitting the ball harder. His defense has improved, as well.

C.J. Kayfus, 1B/OF

Kayfus has been the best hitter on the field wherever he’s played this year, failing to get on base in only four of his first 64 games. The Guardians are working on his versatility, getting him time in left field in addition to first base. He’s a pure hitter who doesn’t hit the ball exceptionally hard, but does a good job maximizing the power he has.

Notable Fallers

Jackson Humphries, LHP

Humphries has made every start this year for Low-A Lynchburg, but the 19-year-old has yet to show what he can do when he’s fully healthy, as a stomach illness early in the season sapped his energy and caused him to lose weight. He’s yet to get back to the stuff he showed last year, generally sitting at 89-91 mph.

Notable New Additions

10. C.J. Kayfus, 1B

BA Grade/Risk: 50/High

Track Record: A two-year starter at Miami, Kayfus hit over .340 in each of those two seasons with more walks than strikeouts each year. The Guardians’ third-round pick in 2023, Kayfus had an excellent 2023 pro debut and was even better in the first half of 2024, earning a promotion to Double-A Akron.

Scouting Report: Kayfus is a pure hitter who makes tons of contact with the ability to draw walks. He doesn’t post massive exit velocities, but he has learned to maximize his power by doing a good job of driving balls to his pull side when he gets into advantageous counts. Defensively, he’s above-average at first, and is now getting time in left field.

The Future: Kayfus is yet another in a bounty of Guardians’ first base prospects. His profile is pretty similar to that of Kyle Manzardo, but with better foot speed.

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Field: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45.

28. Daniel Schneemann, 2B/3B/OF

BA Grade/Risk: 40/Medium

Track Record: Schneemann made his MLB debut on June 2, capping a seven-year journey that began when the Guardians drafted him in a round (33rd) that no longer exists. Schneemann played six different positions in his first six games in the majors.

Scouting Report: Schneemann is the quintessential utility man. It’s hard to list a primary position for a player that is so comfortable bouncing around the field that he’s already played three different infield positions in the same game for Cleveland. He’s never caught and or pitched, he’s played everywhere else. Schneemann has gained 25 pounds as a pro, which has figured into his continued career and allowed him to become stronger and a better hitter as he’s matured.

The Future: Schneemann was a great story as a 27-year-old MLB rookie, but he’s actually a useful 26-player on a big league roster. He hits enough to stick around, and his versatility means he can step in anywhere the Guardians need.

Scouting Grades: Hitting: 40 | Power: 40 | Speed: 60 | Fielding: 50 | Arm: 50

30. Cooper Ingle, C

BA Grade/Risk: 50/Extreme

Track Record: After playing a little bit of everywhere (both corner outfield spots, second base and catcher) during his first two years at Clemson, Ingle focused on catcher full-time in 2023 and blossomed into the team’s defensive MVP. A fourth-round pick, Ingle has become a productive fixture in the High-A Lake County lineup this season.

Scouting Report: Ingle has proven to be an extremely polished hitter with well above-average bat control. He’s exceptionally hard to beat in the strike zone, which helps explain why he had more walks than strikeouts midway through the season. His glove, however, is behind his bat. He’s better at receiving and framing at the bottom of the zone then the top. Ingle has a fringe-average arm, but it plays average because of his quick release and solid accuracy. Ingle also has a tendency to decide to not risk a throw if the base stealer gets a good jump.

The Future: Ingle is a lefthanded-hitting catcher who is an excellent contact hitter but not just a slap hitter. It’s a great combination to carve out a big league role, and Ingle’s on the right path.

Scouting Grades: Hitting: 50 | Power: 35 | Speed: 40 | Fielding: 45 | Arm: 50

Significant injuries

Daniel Espino, RHP

Espino’s comeback was derailed before his season even got started after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair his rotator cuff during spring training. It is likely to be a lengthy and cautious rehab. Espino has not appeared in a game since April 2022.

Angel Martinez, 2B

Maritnez missed the first two months of the season after fracturing the hamate bone in his left hand.

Joey Cantillo, LHP

Cantillo missed the first two months of the season with a hamstring strain.

Justin Campbell, RHP

Campbell had his second elbow surgery in as many years and will miss the entirety of the 2024 season following a Tommy John procedure. He missed the 2023 season recovering from ulnar nerve transposition surgery in the same elbow. The 2022 competitive balance pick has yet to pitch in a pro game.

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