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Cleveland Guardians

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Player Reports

  1. 1. Tyler Freeman | SS
    Tyler Freeman
    Born: May 21, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 170
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., 2017 (2nd round supplemental).
    Signed By: Mike Bradford.
    Minors: .323/.372/.470 | 2 HR | 4 SB | 164 AB

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Since being drafted 71st overall in 2017 and signed away from his commitment to Texas Christian, Freeman has been the Guardians system’s most consistent hitter. He led the New York-Penn League in 2018 in a host of offensive categories, including batting average (.352) and slugging percentage (.511), as a 19-year-old. He followed that up with an impressive 2019, earning a promotion to high Class A Lynchburg in his first year of full-season ball. Freeman spent the canceled 2020 minor league season at Cleveland’s alternate training site and continued his previous ways when minor league play resumed in 2021. He was hitting .323 at Double-A in late June when he suffered a small tear in the labrum in his left shoulder. He briefly returned in July for five games but was unable to continue and ultimately had season-ending surgery in August.

    Scouting Report: Freeman stands out most for his hitting ability and excellent feel for the barrel. He has a very aggressive approach at the plate and rarely walks, but when he swings, he makes contact. He is a career .319/.378/.445 hitter with a miniscule 9.2% strikeout rate and projects to be at least a plus hitter. Though on the smaller side, Freeman has always had some projectable power with his bat speed and ability to consistently square balls up. That power began to manifest in 2020, when he arrived at the alternate site noticeably stronger following the coronavirus shutdown. In 2021, a third of his hits went for extra bases, although he still hit just two home runs. While Freeman will likely never be a major home-run threat, he posts solid exit velocities and does enough damage to keep pitchers honest. Freeman was drafted as a shortstop and continues to develop there. He’s improved his hands, infield actions and instincts, but he’s still an average runner with average arm strength and limited range. Second base remains his most likely future position, but his ability to play shortstop has continually exceeded expectations. He also saw time at third base in 2021 to enhance his versatility. Regardless of where Freeman ends up defensively, his bat will be his carrying tool and profiles just fine at second base.

    The Future: Freeman should be back to full health at the start of the 2022 season. Cleveland added him to the 40-man roster in November and, if he picks up where he left off, he could be in line for his major league debut sometime during the summer. He projects to be the Guardians’ everyday second baseman of the future and one of the club’s best pure hitters.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 40. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

  2. 2. Daniel Espino | RHP
    Daniel Espino
    Born: Jan 5, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Statesboro, Ga., 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Ethan Purser.
    Minors: 3-8 | 3.73 ERA | 152 SO | 39 BB | 92 IP

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Espino was born in Panama before moving with his family to the United States when he was 15. He enrolled at Georgia Premier Academy, where he was able to continue his education while also adopting a close to professional mindset on the diamond. He emerged as one of the top prep pitchers in the 2019 draft class and Cleveland selected him 24th overall, giving him a $2.5 million bonus to forgo a Louisiana State commitment. Espino’s performance and mentality carried over to pro ball and he’s been on a fast track since he was drafted. He reached High-A in 2021 as a 20-year-old and posted a 3.73 ERA over 20 total starts.

    Scouting Report: Espino is on the shorter side for a righthander, but his excellent athleticism and a rare combination of explosiveness and flexibility help him access his lower half in a way most pitchers his size cannot. That helps him produce elite velocity with a fastball that sits at 96 mph and touches 99. He throws both a curveball and slider, with the slider earning better grades as a potential plus pitch. He also throws a firm changeup that needs refinement but has a chance to give him a fourth at least average offering. He has a long arm action but typically pitches with average control. Espino has swing-and-miss stuff–his 152 strikeouts ranked 15th in the minor leagues in just 91.2 innings—but he’ll need to refine his command as he advances to face upper-level hitters who are less likely to chase out of the zone.

    The Future: Espino is ready for the challenge of Double-A as a 21-year-old. He still needs to build innings and refine his command, but once he does, he has the potential to be a hard-throwing, mid-rotation starter.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 50. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

  3. 3. Brayan Rocchio | SS
    Brayan Rocchio
    Born: Jan 13, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 150
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
    Signed By: Jhonathan Leyba.
    Minors: .277/.346/.460 | 15 HR | 21 SB | 441 AB

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Cleveland made a big splash on the 2017 international market with the heralded signings of Aaron Bracho and George Valera, but their move to sign Rocchio flew more under the radar. The Venezuelan native has since surpassed his more famous classmates, however. Rocchio immediately jumped on an accelerated track and reached Double-A Akron as a 20-year-old in 2021, where he more than held his own on both sides of the ball. Ever the baseball rat, he returned home in the offseason to play in the Venezuelan Winter League and continued his strong performance at the plate.

    Scouting Report: Rocchio doesn’t stand out physically but is nicknamed “The Professor' because of his high baseball IQ and game awareness. A switch hitter, he has a smooth, consistent swing from both sides of the plate and excellent pitch recognition. He’s an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk much, but consistently barrels up the ball and projects to be an above-average hitter. He is significantly better at hitting righthanded than lefthanded. Rocchio began showing added power in 2021. His 15 home runs tripled his previous career high and his 46 extra-base hits were the second-most in Cleveland’s organization. While he’ll never be confused for a slugger, he now has enough pop to approach double-digit home runs. Rocchio faces zero questions about his ability to stick at shortstop. He’s an above-average runner and his soft hands, average arm strength and excellent anticipation. His instincts and baseball IQ help all his tools play up.

    The Future: Rocchio has emerged as Cleveland’s potential shortstop of the future. He’ll see Triple-A in 2022 and should be in the majors for good by 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 30. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 50.

  4. 4. George Valera | OF
    George Valera
    Born: Nov 13, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 160
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Jhonathan Leyba/Domingo Toribio.
    Minors: .260/.405/.505 | 19 HR | 11 SB | 285 AB

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Valera was born in New York and lived there until his family moved to the Dominican Republic when he was 13. Cleveland chose to make a splash on the international market in 2017 and Valera was its top signing for $1.3 million. Valera was limited by injuries early in his career but finally played his first full season in 2021. He spent most of the year at High-A Lake County before receiving a late-August promotion to Double-A Akron and posted a .260/.405/.505 slash line in 86 games between the two levels, although he did miss nearly a month with a right oblique strain.

    Scouting Report: Valera is a potentially premium hitter and is beginning to blossom. He has a loose, compact lefthanded swing and keeps his bat in the zone for a long time. His advanced feel for the barrel, bat-to-ball skills, pitch recognition and plate discipline all help him make consistent, hard contact and give him the kind of above-average hitting ability the Guardians covet. He has above-average raw power and gets to it in games–his 19 home runs tied for second most among the organization’s minor leaguers. Valera profiles as a corner outfielder with average speed and arm strength. He has played all three outfield positions but is most experienced in right field. Valera’s main challenge has been staying healthy. His 86 games in 2021 were a career high.

    The Future: Cleveland has been on the hunt for outfielders for several years and Valera could be one of the answers. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and has a chance to be in the majors for good by 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

  5. 5. Gabriel Arias | SS
    Gabriel Arias
    Born: Feb 27, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 201
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2016.
    Signed By: Luis Prieto/Yfrain Linares/Trevor Schumm (Padres).
    Minors: .284/.348/.454 | 13 HR | 5 SB | 436 AB

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Arias was one of the top prospects in the 2016 international class and signed with the Padres for $1.9 million. He stood out for his defense from the outset and broke out offensively in the second half of the 2019 season after some early struggles. Cleveland acquired Arias at the 2020 trade deadline as a part of the deal for Mike Clevinger and Greg Allen. After facing some initial skepticism, Arias proved his offensive progress was sustainable in 2021. He jumped straight to Triple-A in his first year in Cleveland’s organization and hit .284/ .348/.454 as a 21-year-old while continuing to play his typically exceptional defense.

    Scouting Report: Arias is a good athlete with a lot of raw ability. The righthanded hitter has a smooth swing, and his bat speed and wiry strength give him surprising above-average power. Encouragingly, he has improved his strikeout rate in back-to-back seasons, dropping to a career-low 22.8% in 2021. His walk rate has also improved, although he still has a very aggressive approach at the plate. Arias is never going to be an on-base machine, but he’s trending in the right direction and should be at least a fringe-average hitter who gets to his power enough. There have never been many doubts about Arias defensively. He has fluid actions, clean hands and plus-plus arm strength. Despite his below-average speed, he has plenty of range for shortstop with his anticipation and footwork and makes all the plays necessary.

    The Future: Arias will get a chance in spring training to compete for Cleveland’s starting shortstop job. Even if he doesn’t break camp with the Guardians, big league debut should come some time in 2022.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 55. Speed: 40. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70.

  6. 6. Nolan Jones | 3B
    Nolan Jones
    Born: May 7, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Bensalem, Pa., 2016 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Mike Kanen.
    Minors: .238/.356/.431 | 13 HR | 10 SB | 341 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Medium

    Track Record:
    Jones was expected to break through to the big leagues sooner than later, but it didn’t quite come together for him in 2021. He started the season slowly with Triple-A Columbus before heating up in the summer. His season came to an early end when he suffered a high ankle sprain in late August that ultimately required surgery and cost him the final month of the season.

    Scouting Report: Jones has an easy lefthanded swing and uses the whole field to hit. He is a patient hitter and led all Cleveland minor leaguers in walks in both 2018 and 2019, though his patience also means that he often works in deep counts and will always strike out fairly often as a result. In 2021, his walk rate decreased and his strikeout rate increased as he struggled with off-speed stuff, chasing more often than he has in the past. He has plus raw power and can drive the ball to all fields. Jones has dealt with questions about his ability to stay at third base throughout his career. He has plus arm strength and has worked hard to improve his glove work and infield actions, especially when ranging to his right. He also saw some action in the outfield as the Guardians work to increase his versatility and potentially open an additional route to Cleveland, where Jose Ramirez is still entrenched at third base.

    The Future: Jones is coming off his worst offensive season as a professional, but he’ll still be 23 on Opening Day and has the tools to develop into a big corner bat. He’ll likely make his MLB debut in 2022.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 60. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

  7. 7. Bo Naylor | C
    Bo Naylor
    Born: Feb 21, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Mississauga, Ont., 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: Mike Kanen.
    Minors: .188/.280/.332 | 10 HR | 10 SB | 313 AB

    BA Grade: 55/Very High

    Track Record: For perhaps the first time in his career, Naylor underwent an extended period of struggles in 2021. After a distinguished amateur career that led Cleveland to draft him 29th overall in 2019 and a fast start to his pro career, Naylor never got his bat going in Double-A. He hit just .188/.280/.332 in 87 games for the RubberDucks, although he was one of the youngest players at the level and was also dealing with the rigors of catching.

    Scouting Report: Naylor’s step back offensively was particularly surprising after his impressive performance in 2020 at the alternate training site. Initially, he was seen as being more of a contact hitter than a slugger, but his strikeout rate increased and his walk rate decreased as he struggled with more advanced pitching. He still has solid power and drives balls well to go with above-average speed. Naylor’s athleticism plays well behind the plate as a blocker, and he earns high grades for his framing ability. He played a lot of third base as an amateur but has been exclusively a catcher the last three seasons and has proven he can handle the position.

    The Future: Naylor will still be just 22 years old on Opening Day in 2022. He has a clear path to Cleveland, where he would join his older brother Josh, but he’ll need to first work out his offensive issues.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 50. Speed: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

  8. 8. Gavin Williams | RHP
    Gavin Williams
    Born: Jul 26, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 238
    Signed By: Pete Loizzo.

    BA Grade: 55/Very High

    Track Record: Williams long had a big arm and lots of potential, but it took him a full four years at East Carolina to truly realize it. After primarily pitching out of the bullpen for his first three seasons, he took over a spot in the rotation in 2021 and produced an All-America season, going 10-1, 1.88 with 130 strikeouts in 81.1 innings. That turned him into a first-round pick, where Cleveland selected him 23rd overall and signed him for $2.25 million.

    Scouting Report: Williams stands out for his size and arm strength. His fastball sits 95 mph, touches 101 and get swings and misses, especially up in the strike zone. He throws both a curveball and slider, with the 11-to-5 curveball being the better of the two pitches as a plus offering, although his short slider is an above-average pitch in its own right. He also has a firm changeup that is an average pitch at its best. Williams had control issues early in his college career but took a big step forward in 2021 and should pitch with average control. For a big, powerful pitcher, he has solid body control and has done a better job recently of repeating his delivery.

    The Future: Williams did not pitch after signing and will likely make his professional debut at High-A in 2022. His loud stuff gives him mid-rotation upside as a starter.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

  9. 9. Logan Allen | LHP
    Logan Allen
    Born: Sep 5, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Florida International, 2020 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Jhonathan Leyba.
    Minors: 9-0 | 2.26 ERA | 143 SO | 26 BB | 112 IP

    BA Grade: 50/High

    Track Record: Allen—who is not to be confused with lefthander Logan S. Allen, who arrived in the organization in 2019 in a trade with the Padres—was one of the organizations’ breakout prospects in 2021. After a decorated amateur career that led the Guardians to draft him in the second round in 2020, he rocketed to Double-A in his pro debut and went 9-0, 2.26 with 143 strikeouts against just 26 walks in 111.1 innings.

    Scouting Report: Allen stands out for his feel and competitiveness on the mound, with the knocks on him long being his small size and lack of a big arm. His fastball has ticked up in the last couple years and now sits around 90 mph and can touch 95. The pitch plays up thanks to some deception in his delivery and his ability to locate it to all four quadrants of the strike zone. His best pitch is his changeup, which is a plus offering and a weapon he can use against both lefthanders and righthanders. His breaking ball has long lagged behind his other two pitches. He started exclusively throwing a slider in the fall of 2019, and it has the potential to be an average offering. His control was among the best in the draft class and that transferred to pro ball, where it showed plus. He was a two-way player in college and his athleticism plays well on the mound.

    The Future: Allen put himself on the fast track to the big leagues and could well be in line for a 2022 debut. His ceiling is somewhat limited, but he can be a solid back-end starter.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Slider: 50. Changeup: 60. Control: 60.

  10. 10. Angel Martinez | SS
    Angel Martinez
    Born: Jan 27, 2002
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 165
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2018.
    Signed By: Jhonathan Leyba.
    Minors: .241/.319/.382 | 7 HR | 13 SB | 377 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Very High

    Track Record:
    Martinez is the son of former big league catcher Sandy Martinez, now the Nationals’ Dominican Summer League manager. The younger Martinez signed with Cleveland for $500,000 in 2018 and was limited to the DSL and instructional league his first two seasons, but he made the biggest jump in the Guardians system of any position player prospect in 2021. He moved to Low-A Lake County and held his own as a 19-year-old, getting off to a fast start before slowing down in the second half.

    Scouting Report: Martinez isn’t the most tooled up of Cleveland's lower-level infielders, but his baseball IQ and maturity make all his tools play up. The switch-hitter has a simple swing from both sides and can drive the ball to all fields with solid power potential, though it plays as doubles pop now. Martinez is an average runner, but still covers a lot of ground thanks to his instincts and makes sound decisions defensively. He also has a plus arm. He can play anywhere on the infield and split his time between second, third and shortstop.

    The Future: Martinez’s switch-hitting ability, power potential and defensive versatility make for a promising foundation, although he still has a long way to go. He’ll head to High-A in 2022 and look to build on his previous gains.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 50. Speed: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

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