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Cleveland Guardians

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

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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

    Track Record: Since being drafted 71st overall in 2017 out of Etiwanda High, Freeman has been the most consistent hitter in Cleveland’s system. 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-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. He has made good progress in his recovery and returned to baseball activities in December.

    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. His pure hit tool stands out as one of the best not just in the system, but in the minors overall, and his contact-based approach fits the organization’s philosophy well. 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. His ability to drive balls in the gaps combined with his average speed help him to produce plenty of doubles and he may grow into even more juice in time. 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 as a professional. He also saw time at third base in 2021 to enhance his versatility. He earns praise for his competitiveness and work ethic, traits that have helped him outperform expectations defensively, as well as expand his offensive skill set. 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 to protect him from the Rule 5 draft and 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.

  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

    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 helps 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.

  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

    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. 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. 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 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 has soft hands, average arm strength and excellent anticipation. His instincts and baseball IQ help 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.

  4. 4. George Valera | SS
    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

    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.

  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

    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, his big league debut should come some time in 2022.

  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

    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 offspeed 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 glovework 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 league corner bat. He’ll likely make his MLB debut in 2022.

  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

    Track Record: For perhaps the first time in his career, Naylor had 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 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.

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

    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.

  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

    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 organization’s breakout prospects in 2021. After a decorated amateur career that led Cleveland 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.

  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

    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 Lynchburg 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 the Guardians’ 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.

  11. 11. Jose Tena | SS/2B
    Jose Tena
    Born: Mar 20, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 159
    Signed By: Anthony Roa/Jhonathan Leyba.
    Minors: .281/.331/.467 | 16 HR | 10 SB | 413 AB

    Track Record: Cleveland’s 2017 international class has developed into a blockbuster. Outfielder George Valera and shortstop Brayan Rocchio have been the headliners of the group and Tena, a nephew of Juan Uribe, is fast closing in on them. After a strong season with High-A Lake County that saw him rank second in the league in hits (116), the 20-year-old finished the year by winning the Arizona Fall League batting title (.387).

    Scouting Report: Tena has a smaller frame but that belies his ability. He has a loose, easy swing and good feel for the barrel, allowing him to consistently square up balls. He’s an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk much and struck out in 26% of his plate appearances, a rate he’ll have to manage while continuing to advance toward the major leagues. He’s an above-average runner and as he’s physically matured has developed solid power potential. Tena has an above-average arm, good hands and solid range thanks to his speed and athleticism. He mostly played shortstop at Lake County, while also seeing time at second and third base.

    The Future: Tena elevated his profile with his performance in 2021. He’ll look to build on his success in 2022 as he advances to Double-A Akron.

  12. 12. Tanner Burns | RHP
    Tanner Burns
    Born: Dec 28, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Auburn, 2020 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: C.T. Bradford.
    Minors: 2-5 | 3.57 ERA | 91 SO | 29 BB | 76 IP

    Track Record: A prominent player in high school and the highest-rated player from the class of 2017 to make it to college, Burns stepped right into the rotation at Auburn, where he learned alongside Casey Mize and under Tim Hudson. Cleveland in 2020 drafted him 36th overall, at the time the highest the organization had drafted a college pitcher since 2010. He made his professional debut in 2021 and though he was slowed by a two-week spell on the injured list due to elbow soreness, he acquitted himself well with High-A Lake County.

    Scouting Report: Burns has solid all-around stuff and a good understanding of pitching. His fastball sits 93-94 mph and reaches 97. It’s a plus pitch that plays up thanks to his ability to consistently locate it. He throws both a big, 12-to-6 curveball and a slider-cutter hybrid that sits around 90 mph. His curveball has long been the better of his breaking balls, but he worked over the offseason to reshape his slider and it became a solid offering itself. He also mixes in a changeup with good sinking action, but it’s a clear fourth offering. He earns praise for his dedication to his craft, makeup and his desire to learn.

    The Future: Burns is a bit undersized, and he doesn’t have the biggest pure stuff, but between his aptitude, early success and Cleveland’s track record of helping college pitchers improve, there’s a lot to like. He’ll advance to Double-A in 2022 and should continue to move quickly.

  13. 13. Richard Palacios | 2B/OF
    Richard Palacios
    Born: May 16, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Aaron Etchison.
    Minors: .297/.404/.471 | 7 HR | 20 SB | 357 AB

    Track Record: Palacios had a decorated college career at Towson, where he became the fastest player in program history to reach 200 hits and set the program’s single-season and career stolen base records. He got his pro career off to a strong start in 2018 but he tore the labrum in his right shoulder that offseason and had season-ending surgery in March. He worked out in Arizona in 2020 and hit the ground running in 2021, reaching Triple-A Columbus by the end of the season.

    Scouting Report: Palacios has a good feel for the barrel and produces excellent bat speed. He has good plate discipline, knows how to work a walk and rarely strikes out. He has average power, which mostly has played as doubles pop to this point, but he’s increasingly doing a better job of getting to it in games. He’s a good athlete and has above-average speed. Where Palacios fits best defensively has long been a question and in 2021 he played second base and all three outfield positions. He’s primarily been a second baseman and his hands work well enough on the infield, while his speed plays in the outfield.

    The Future: The Guardians added Palacios to the 40-man roster in November, bringing him one step closer to joining his older brother Josh in the major leagues. Whether he ends up at second base or in the outfield, his bat will be the main attraction and he could be ready to help Cleveland sometime during 2022.

  14. 14. Peyton Battenfield | RHP
    Peyton Battenfield
    Born: Aug 10, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 224
    Signed By: Jim Stevenson (Astros).
    Minors: 7-1 | 2.53 ERA | 131 SO | 19 BB | 103 IP

    Track Record: Battenfield has been well traveled since the Astros drafted him in the ninth round in 2019. He was traded in January 2020 to the Rays in exchange for Austin Pruitt and at the 2021 trade deadline he was sent to Cleveland in exchange for DJ Johnson and Jordan Luplow. His trade to Cleveland came in the midst of a banner season that he finished with Double-A Akron.

    Scouting Report: Battenfield was a reliever in college at Oklahoma State but found great success as a starter in 2021. His fastball sits in the low 90s, reaching 94-95 mph. The pitch plays up thanks to its incredible riding life. The pitch’s movement combined with his ability to leverage his 6-foot-4 frame allows him to get swings and misses both up and down in the zone. He throws a big curveball, a cutter and a changeup, all of which are at least average offerings. His cutter has become his best secondary offering and all of his pitches play well off his fastball. Battenfield repeats his delivery well and fills up the strike zone, pitching with solid control.

    The Future: Battenfield isn’t overpowering but his ability to throw strikes with four pitches and his understanding of pitching fits well with Cleveland’s philosophy. He’ll start 2022 with Triple-A Columbus and could soon be in the mix at Progressive Field.

  15. 15. Cody Morris | RHP
    Cody Morris
    Born: Nov 4, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 222
    Signed By: Mike Bradford.
    Minors: 2-2 | 1.62 ERA | 93 SO | 20 BB | 61 IP

    Track Record: Morris missed his freshman season at South Carolina due to Tommy John surgery before bouncing back for a solid college career. He’s pitched well since Cleveland drafted him in 2018 and in 2021 overcame a delayed start to his season due to a strained lat muscle, delivering a breakout second-half performance after getting back to action in July. He finished the season with Triple-A Columbus.

    Scouting Report: Listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Morris has a strong build and a powerful arm. His fastball touched 99 mph in 2021 and averaged 96. He mixes in a changeup, a sharp curveball and this year also added a cutter that gets into the low 90s. His changeup is above-average and both his breaking balls are promising offerings. As important as his swing-and-miss power stuff ticking up this year was his improved command. He did a better job controlling his body and pitched with average control.

    The Future: The gains Morris made in 2021 were very encouraging and the Guardians added him to the 40-man roster in November. Now he needs to show he can maintain his improvements over a full season. He’ll start 2022 back in Columbus and could be in the mix to make his major league debut later in the season.

  16. 16. Bryan Lavastida | C
    Bryan Lavastida
    Born: Nov 27, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Steffan Segui.
    Minors: .289/.380/.456 | 9 HR | 16 SB | 287 AB

    Track Record: Lavastida was an infielder coming out of high school and began to convert to catching as a sophomore in junior college. Cleveland drafted him as a catcher in the 15th round in 2018 and continued to develop him behind the plate. While that project continues to progress, he’s also impressed offensively and had a breakout 2021 season, reaching Triple-A Columbus.

    Scouting Report: Lavastida has a balanced swing and a good approach at the plate, allowing him to control the strike zone well. He makes a lot of hard contact and has average raw power, though his line drive-oriented swing means his pop plays more as doubles power. Lavastida is a good athlete and moves well behind the plate and has average arm strength. He quickly picked up the mechanical aspects of catching and is continuing to progress with the finer points, like pitch-calling. While he hasn’t appeared at any other position in the field as a professional, he has continued to work in the infield in practice settings.

    The Future: Lavastida was added to the 40-man roster in November and after his breakout 2021 season it’s possible he’ll be ready to debut in Cleveland in 2022. His defense still needs some work to be a big league regular, but his bat gives him intriguing upside.

  17. 17. Carson Tucker | SS
    Carson Tucker
    Born: Jan 24, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Phoenix, 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: Ryan Perry.
    Minors: .150/.320/.300 | 1 HR | 1 SB | 20 AB

    Track Record: Tucker got bigger and stronger going into his senior season and showed enough to convince Cleveland to draft him in the first round. He went 23rd overall, bettering his older brother Cole Tucker, who went 24th overall in 2014 to the Pirates. He made his pro debut in 2021 in the Arizona Complex League but was limited to just six games before a hand injury sidelined him.

    Scouting Report: Tucker has solid all-around tools and stands out most for his feel for hitting and infield actions. He has a short, consistent swing and makes a lot of contact, a combination that should make him at least an average hitter. His swing is more geared to hitting line drives, but he can flash above-average power and his offseason strength gains should help him get to it. He’s at least a plus runner. Tucker has worked hard at his defense and has a good natural feel for the position. His actions, above-average arm and speed give him the tools to be an above-average defender.

    The Future: Tucker does a lot of things well on the diamond and may have better raw tools than his older brother at the same age. While the pandemic and his injury have greatly limited his time on the field early in his professional career, he’ll play the 2022 season as a 20-year-old and can make up for lost time.

  18. 18. Gabriel Rodriguez | 3B/SS
    Gabriel Rodriguez
    Born: Feb 22, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 174
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2018.
    Signed By: Hernan Albornoz.
    Minors: .236/.288/.314 | 3 HR | 3 SB | 373 AB

    Track Record: Rodriguez was the eighth-ranked player overall in the 2018 international class and headlined Cleveland’s signing class that year. The Venezuelan got his professional career off to a good start in 2019, earning a midseason promotion to the Rookie-level Arizona League. He continued his precocious ways in 2021, as he was the second-youngest regular in Low-A East.

    Scouting Report: Rodriguez stands out for his all-around skill set. He has a short, quick swing and can drive the ball to all fields. His power mostly plays as doubles pop now, but projects to eventually hit for solid power as he physically matures and learns how to employ the power-packed swing he can show during batting practice all the time. Rodriguez was praised for his advanced approach at the plate at the outset of his pro career but struck out in 27.3% of his plate appearances in 2021 and will need to make more consistent contact as he advances in the minor leagues. Signed as a shortstop, Rodriguez has started to fill out his 6-foot-2 frame and played more third base in 2021. His strong arm and instinctive infield actions play well on the hot corner and he’s likely to settle in there.

    The Future: Like most players who are young for their level, Rodriguez faced some challenges in 2021. He’ll work in 2022 on making adjustments after his first full-season experience at High-A Lake County.

  19. 19. Ethan Hankins | RHP
    Ethan Hankins
    Born: May 23, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Gainesville, Ga., 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: C.T. Bradford.

    Track Record: Hankins was one of the stars of the showcase circuit in the summer of 2017 and was considered the best prep player in the draft class going into the spring. A minor shoulder injury caused him to slide on draft day and Cleveland was happy to select him with the final pick of the first round. After spending the 2020 season at the alternate site, he was sidelined in 2021 due to Tommy John surgery.

    Scouting Report: Hankins has a long, lean frame and uncommon athleticism for a pitcher of his size. When he’s healthy, he could run his fastball up to 97 mph and typically sat in the mid 90s with plus life. He has the makings of quality secondary pitches, but they’ll need to become more consistent. His slider and changeup both have the ability to be above-average. He also throws a bigger curveball, though it lags behind his other pitches. Hankins controls his arsenal well, but it will be important for him to maintain his delivery as he grows into his large frame.

    The Future: Between Cleveland’s cautious approach with prep pitchers, the pandemic and, now, his injury, Hankins has thrown just 63 innings in pro ball. He turns 22 in May and should be able to get back to action soon after. He still has tremendous upside, but simply needs innings to help him realize it.

  20. 20. Jhonkensy Noel | 3B/1B
    Jhonkensy Noel
    Born: Jul 15, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Domingo Toribio/Jhonathan Leyba.
    Minors: .340/.390/.615 | 19 HR | 5 SB | 265 AB

    Track Record: Another member of Cleveland’s banner 2017 international class, Noel signed on his 16th birthday and debuted the following year in the Dominican Summer League. Though he was hampered by hand and ankle injuries in 2021, he still delivered a breakout season and rose to High-A Lake County as a 20-year-old in his first full professional season.

    Scouting Report: Noel has a big, strong frame and produces tremendous bat speed and raw power. He recorded a max exit velocity of 115 mph in 2021 and he doesn’t have to sell out to get to his premium power. He controls the zone relatively well for a young power hitter, but there’s no question he’s an aggressive hitter looking to do damage at the plate. Noel spent most of his time at third base, but his below-average range may mean he eventually moves across the diamond to first base, where he’s already playing some.

    The Future: Noel’s raw power is tantalizing, and he could be a middle-of-the-order hitter. But as a right-right corner infielder, there’s a lot riding on his bat and he’ll need to continue to develop as an overall hitter. Still, the Guardians thought enough of his potential to add him to the 40-man roster in November. He’ll advance to Double-A Akron in 2022.

  21. 21. Doug Nikhazy | LHP
    Doug Nikhazy
    Born: Aug 11, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 205
    Signed By: C.T. Bradford

    Track Record: Nikhazy was one of the most polished college pitchers in the 2021 draft class. He earned Freshman All-America honors in 2019, pitched for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and was named a first-team All-American in 2021. He didn’t pitch in an official game after Cleveland drafted him, but he did participate in instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Nikhazy has a slight frame and isn’t overpowering but is an elite competitor and produced a stellar track record in college. His fastball gets up to 94-95 mph, but typically sits around 90. It plays up thanks to his over-the-top arm slot and the riding life on the pitch. He throws both a big, looping curveball and a slider that has late-biting action, both of which can be plus pitches. He also has a promising changeup but threw it only sparingly in college. He has above-average control.

    The Future: Nikhazy’s polish should enable him to move quickly in the minor leagues and he could begin his professional career at High-A. How much upside Nikhazy has will be determined by whether or not Cleveland can coax more velocity out of him.

  22. 22. Petey Halpin | OF
    Petey Halpin
    Born: May 26, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Carlos Muniz.
    Minors: .294/.363/.425 | 1 HR | 11 SB | 221 AB

    Track Record: Cleveland used top 100 draft picks in 2020 on Carson Tucker and Halpin, both of whom were committed to Texas. Halpin made his professional debut in 2021 with Low-A Lynchburg.

    Scouting Report: Halpin has a top-of-the-order profile and a well-rounded skill set. He controls the strike zone well and makes adjustments quickly, helping him to make a lot of contact. His swing is geared toward hitting line drives and he’s not a slugger, but he drives the ball into gaps often. The combination of that hard contact and his above-average speed makes for a lot of extra-base hits, and about a third of his hits this season went for extra bases. He’s still learning to make the most of his speed on the bases and got thrown out 45% of the time as a basestealer. Halpin has good outfield actions and an average arm. If he can stay in center field—where he saw most of his action in 2021—he’d profile well. But if his range ends up being a better fit in left field, it would put more pressure on his bat.

    The Future: Of the three prep hitters Cleveland drafted in 2020 (Tucker, Halpin and infielder Milan Tolentino), Halpin had the best professional debut. He showed off exciting offensive upside and will be ready for High-A in 2022.

  23. 23. Tobias Myers | RHP
    Tobias Myers
    Born: Aug 5, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 193
    Signed By: Kelvin Colon (Orioles).
    Minors: 8-7 | 3.90 ERA | 146 SO | 28 BB | 118 IP

    Track Record: Drafted in the sixth round in 2016 by the Orioles, Myers was traded at the deadline the following year to the Rays. He steadily climbed through the minor leagues to reach Triple-A Durham in 2021. Following the season, he was traded to the Guardians for Junior Caminero.

    Scouting Report: Myers in 2021 saw his stuff tick up, as his fastball sat around 93-95 mph with some of the biggest vertical movement in the minor leagues. His best secondary offering is a mid-80s breaking ball that he calls a cutter. He also mixes in an above-average changeup and a big curveball. His stuff all plays up thanks to his plus control. Myers is a little undersized at 6 feet, 193 pounds, but his combination of stuff and control makes for an intriguing package. He has a starter profile, though his stuff would also play in relief.

    The Future: The Guardians added Myers to the 40-man roster after acquiring him and he’ll go to spring training in competition for a spot on staff, though he’ll likely make his organizational debut with Triple-A Columbus.

  24. 24. Ernie Clement | 2B/3B
    Ernie Clement
    Born: Mar 22, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 170
    Drafted/Signed: Virginia, 2017 (4th round).
    Signed By: Bob Mayer.
    Minors: .244/.287/.382 | 1 HR | 2 SB | 131 AB

    Track Record: Clement’s reputation as a pure hitter dates back to his amateur days. That success translated to the professional ranks, as he continued to produce throughout the minor leagues. He made his major league debut in June, serving in a utility role for Cleveland. He spent most of September on the injured list but returned to action by the end of the season.

    Scouting Report: Clement has an aggressive approach and an uncanny knack for putting the bat on the ball. He has below-average power and instead sprays the ball all over the field and takes advantage of his plus speed to get on base. Clement is a versatile defender and appeared at second base, third base, shortstop and left field in 2021. He has above-average instincts on the infield and good hands. His fringy arm strength means as an everyday player his best position is probably second base, but as a utility option he can handle the left side of the infield. His speed plays well in the outfield.

    The Future: Clement’s first taste of the big leagues was likely always going to come as a utility player. His challenge now is breaking into a crowded infield in Cleveland for a regular role. He’ll likely ultimately settle in as a utility player, but his feel for hitting gives him a chance for more.

  25. 25. Aaron Bracho | 2B
    Aaron Bracho
    Born: Apr 24, 2001
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
    Signed By: Hernan Albornoz/Rafael Cariel.
    Minors: .174/.269/.299 | 7 HR | 1 SB | 241 AB

    Track Record: When Cleveland went big in the 2017 international market, Bracho and outfielder George Valera were the two most-hyped prospects in the group it signed. Bracho was banged up at the outset of his career and missed 2018 due to an arm injury, delaying his debut until 2019. After spending 2020 at the alternate site, he advanced to High-A Lake County in 2021, though he struggled at the plate and missed three weeks due to a thumb injury.

    Scouting Report: A switch-hitter, Bracho produces good bat speed and has a quick, compact swing from both sides of the plate. He was lauded for his advanced approach early in his career but was more undisciplined in 2021 and struck out in more 31.9% of his plate appearances. His bat speed helps him drive balls better than his build might suggest and he has solid power potential. Bracho was signed as a shortstop, but he soon moved to second base. His hands and range are good enough to keep him there, but he’s always going to be more of an offensive second baseman. He also saw time at both infield corners in 2021.

    The Future: Bracho’s 2021 struggles were a disappointment and led the Guardians not to add him to the 40-man roster, leaving him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. To get back on track, he’ll need to get back to the disciplined plate approach he had early in his career. He’ll likely begin 2022 back at Lake County.

  26. 26. Carlos Vargas | RHP
    Carlos Vargas
    Born: Oct 13, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Rafael Espinal.

    Track Record: Cleveland’s international department went through a transition in 2016 and its biggest signing in that class was Vargas, who signed for $275,000. Cleveland was excited enough about his ceiling that in November 2020 it added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, despite the fact he hadn’t advanced past short-season ball. Vargas still hasn’t pitched in a full-season league because he had Tommy John surgery in April, sidelining him for the 2021 season.

    Scouting Report: When he signed as a 17-year-old in 2016, Vargas had an ultra-projectable frame and was already throwing 93 mph. His velocity has ticked up as expected, and before his injury his fastball touched 100 mph and sat in the upper 90s. His slider sits around 90 mph and is a plus pitch at its best. His changeup can be an average pitch and gives him a viable third offering. He improved his strike-throwing in 2019, cutting his walk rate considerably. He still needs to refine his command and learn how to get the most out of his electric stuff.

    The Future: After missing so much game time the last two years, Vargas simply needs to get back into a regular routine. He’ll be ready to return to action early in 2022 and will get his first taste of A ball.

  27. 27. Steven Kwan | OF
    Steven Kwan
    Born: Sep 5, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Conor Glassey
    Minors: .328/.407/.527 | 12 HR | 6 SB | 296 AB

    Track Record: Kwan starred at Oregon State, helping to lead the Beavers to the 2018 national championship. While in college he built a strong track record for on-base skills and hitting, and that carried over to pro ball. He had a breakout 2021 season while splitting time between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.

    Scouting Report: Kwan’s size has always led to questions about his impact potential. What’s never really been in doubt, however, is his ability to put the bat on the ball. He has excellent feel for the barrel and rarely strikes out—he whiffed in just 9% of his plate appearances in 2021. That fit with his profile as a slap-hitting leadoff hitter prior to 2021, but in 2021 he produced surprising power. While Akron and Columbus are both hitter-friendly ballparks, he did his best to answer questions about his ability to drive the ball. Kwan is an above-average runner and tracks balls well in center field.

    The Future: Kwan’s 2021 season led the Guardians to add him to their 40-man roster in November, setting him up to make his major league debut as soon as 2022. While he’s likely to end up as a fourth outfielder in the long run, Kwan has exceeded expectations throughout his career and if his newfound power carries over to the big leagues he could do so again.

  28. 28. Xzavion Curry | RHP
    Xzavion Curry
    Born: Jul 27, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 189
    Signed By: Ethan Purser
    Minors: 8-1 | 2.30 ERA | 123 SO | 16 BB | 98 IP

    Track Record: Curry in 2017 became the first true freshman to be Georgia Tech’s Opening Day starter since 1995. He was a stalwart in the Yellow Jackets’ rotation for the next three years before being drafted by Cleveland. He didn’t pitch in 2019 after signing due to shoulder inflammation and the 2020 season was canceled, delaying his professional debut until 2021. He made up for lost time, pitching at three levels to end the season with Double-A Akron.

    Scouting Report: Curry is undersized for a righthander and isn’t overpowering. His fastball sits in the low 90s, reaching 96 mph, but it plays up thanks to its shape and spin rate. He locates the pitch exceptionally well and can generate swings and misses with it. He relies heavily on his fastball, but also mixes in two breaking balls and a changeup. His slider has above-average potential and is his best secondary offering but it needs to be more consistent. Curry’s whole arsenal plays up thanks to his plus control.

    The Future: Curry’s breakout season significantly elevated his profile. While he doesn’t look like a traditional righthanded starter, he has a starter profile, and his style meshes well with the Guardians’ approach. He’ll start 2022 back in Akron.

  29. 29. Tommy Mace | RHP
    Tommy Mace
    Born: Nov 11, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 230
    Signed By: Andrew Krause.

    Track Record: Mace was a key member of the Florida pitching staff for four years and spent the last three seasons in the Gators’ rotation. Though he was highly regarded ahead of the 2020 draft, he opted to return to school for a fourth year and had a solid campaign. He did not pitch after the Guardians made him the 69th overall pick in 2021.

    Scouting Report: Mace added some good weight in the last year and saw his velocity tick up. His fastball this spring averaged 93 mph and touched 97. He doesn’t get a ton of life on the pitch but his ability to locate it to all quadrants of the strike zone helps it play up. He also throws a cutter, curveball and changeup, none of which project as a plus pitch. While Mace did post a career high strikeout rate this spring, he doesn’t have the kind of stuff that stands out as swing and miss and instead relies on his above-average control to help it play up. He has a big 6-foot-6 frame and can create a tough angle for hitters.

    The Future: Mace has the look of a back-of-the-rotation starter now, but the Guardians have had plenty of success in helping college pitchers take a step forward in pro ball. He’ll look to start down that path in 2022 when makes his professional debut, likely with High-A Lake County.

  30. 30. Konnor Pilkington | LHP
    Konnor Pilkington
    Born: Sep 12, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 225
    Signed By: Warren Hughes.
    Minors: 7-6 | 3.04 ERA | 120 SO | 39 BB | 101 IP

    Track Record: Pilkington was a reliable starter throughout his college career at Mississippi State. He carried that success into pro ball after the White Sox drafted him in the third round in 2018. In 2021 he was traded to Cleveland in exchange for Cesar Hernandez and impressed with Double-A Akron after the deal.

    Scouting Report: Pilkington’s stuff has ticked up in pro ball and his fastball now works in the low 90s. His changeup is his best secondary offering, and he throws it against both righthanded and lefthanded hitters. He throws both a curveball and a slider and both pitches are average offerings. While his stuff isn’t overpowering, he pounds the strike zone and has a good feel for pitching, helping him to get swings and misses. He pitches with above-average control.

    The Future: After Pilkington’s strong finish to the season, the Guardians added him to their 40-man roster in November. He’ll open the 2022 season in the rotation for Triple-A Columbus and could soon push his way into the mix in Cleveland. His profile fits the kind of pitcher the Guardians develop well and could end up as an innings-eating starter.

View Players 11-30

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