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Cleveland Guardians

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  1. 1. 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: 1-0 | 2.45 ERA | 35 SO | 4 BB | 19 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 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.

  2. 2. 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: .263/.366/.468 | 15 HR | 2 SB | 327 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.

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

  3. 3. Gavin Williams | RHP
    Gavin Williams
    Born: Jul 26, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 238
    Signed By: Pete Loizzo.
    Minors: 3-4 | 1.66 ERA | 109 SO | 31 BB | 82 IP

    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 the Indians 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.

  4. 4. 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: .278/.420/.512 | 13 HR | 15 SB | 281 AB

    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 the Indians 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.

  5. 5. 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: .264/.355/.438 | 12 HR | 9 SB | 322 AB

    Track Record: The Indians 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.

  6. 6. 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: 6-6 | 4.08 ERA | 131 SO | 37 BB | 93 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 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.

  7. 7. 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: .279/.371/.364 | 6 HR | 6 SB | 297 AB

    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.

  8. 8. 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: .219/.293/.396 | 8 HR | 5 SB | 169 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, big league debut should come some time in 2022.

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

  9. 9. Nolan Jones | 3B/OF
    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: .311/.417/.500 | 3 HR | 4 SB | 90 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 Indians’ 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.

  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: .290/.396/.481 | 8 HR | 8 SB | 241 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 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 the Indians’ 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.

  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: .263/.293/.397 | 7 HR | 6 SB | 353 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. Joey Cantillo | LHP
    Joey Cantillo
    Born: Dec 18, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Kailua, Hawaii, 2017 (16th round).
    Signed By: Justin Baughman (Padres).
    Minors: 4-3 | 1.93 ERA | 87 SO | 28 BB | 61 IP

    Midseason Update: Cantillo was acquired by Cleveland in the deal that sent Mike Clevinger to San Diego. He did an excellent job over the offseason adding strength to his frame and has seen a corresponding boost in velocity, with his four-seam fastball now sitting in the low 90s and peaking at 93. He pairs the fastball with a changeup that could be at least above-average if not plus as he matures, and is continuing to hone the development of his curveball and slider. He’s performed exceptionally well this season with Double-A Akron.

  13. 13. Tanner Bibee | RHP
    Tanner Bibee
    Born: Mar 5, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 190
    Minors: 2-2 | 2.34 ERA | 112 SO | 16 BB | 85 IP

    Midseason Update: Bibee is looking increasingly like another in the line of Guardians’ talented pitching prospects. He’s improved his stuff dramatically without sacrificing his ability to throw quality strikes. His fastball bumps the upper 90s and he backs it up with a nasty slider as well as an early-count curveball and a changeup.

  14. 14. Richard Palacios | 2B/OF
    Richard Palacios
    Born: May 16, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Aaron Etchison.
    Minors: .280/.388/.488 | 3 HR | 11 SB | 125 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.

  15. 15. Will Brennan | OF
    Will Brennan
    Born: Feb 2, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 190
    Minors: .326/.390/.485 | 9 HR | 17 SB | 371 AB

    Midseason Update: Brennan just keeps on raking. After honing his command of the strike zone and working with Cleveland’s hitting development staff he’s unlocked the kind of power that drives players up rankings. That he’s done so while making plenty of contact only bolsters his case as a future big leaguer.

  16. 16. Xzavion Curry | RHP
    Xzavion Curry
    Born: Jul 27, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 189
    Signed By: Ethan Purser
    Minors: 7-4 | 3.69 ERA | 107 SO | 26 BB | 95 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.

  17. 17. Angel Genao | SS
    Angel Genao
    Born: May 19, 2004
    Bats: S Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'0" Wt.: 150
    Minors: .317/.390/.423 | 2 HR | 4 SB | 123 AB

    Midseason Update: Genao signed with Cleveland in January 2021 and has already impressed evaluators, especially with his early play in the Arizona Complex League. He’s a true shortstop prospect with smooth hands and instincts and the arm to stick at the position. He’s not the most physical player, but his plate discipline and swing decisions give him a chance to hit for both average and power.

  18. 18. 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: .215/.281/.505 | 28 HR | 1 SB | 331 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.

  19. 19. Hunter Gaddis | RHP
    Hunter Gaddis
    Born: Apr 9, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 212
    Minors: 5-3 | 4.07 ERA | 114 SO | 31 BB | 87 IP

    Midseason Update: Gaddis is another in the Guardians’ line of talented pitching prospects. He can bring his fastball into the mid 90s and has improved his slider into a potential out pitch and his changeup isn’t far behind. Gaddis has a curveball in his bag of tricks as well, but it’s not used as frequently as his slider.

  20. 20. 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: 2-3 | 3.36 ERA | 58 SO | 25 BB | 57 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.

  21. 21. Peyton Battenfield | RHP
    Peyton Battenfield
    Born: Aug 10, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 224
    Signed By: Jim Stevenson (Astros).
    Minors: 7-5 | 3.19 ERA | 79 SO | 41 BB | 122 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.

  22. 22. 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.
    Minors: 0-0 | 0.00 ERA | 1 SO | 0 BB | 1 IP

    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.

  23. 23. Cody Morris | RHP
    Cody Morris
    Born: Nov 4, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 222
    Signed By: Mike Bradford.
    Minors: 0-0 | 2.08 ERA | 15 SO | 1 BB | 9 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.

  24. 24. Bryan Lavastida | C
    Bryan Lavastida
    Born: Nov 27, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Steffan Segui.
    Minors: .223/.304/.364 | 4 HR | 4 SB | 184 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.

  25. 25. 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: .281/.355/.442 | 8 HR | 2 SB | 260 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.

  26. 26. 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: .127/.284/.145 | 0 HR | 3 SB | 55 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.

  27. 27. Doug Nikhazy | LHP
    Doug Nikhazy
    Born: Aug 11, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 205
    Signed By: C.T. Bradford
    Minors: 2-4 | 3.73 ERA | 91 SO | 55 BB | 73 IP

    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.

  28. 28. Petey Halpin | OF
    Petey Halpin
    Born: May 26, 2002
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Carlos Muniz.
    Minors: .266/.353/.365 | 2 HR | 15 SB | 304 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.

  29. 29. Jaison Chourio | OF
    Jaison Chourio
    Born: May 19, 2005
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 160

    Track Record: Chourio’ s brother, Jackson, was Milwaukee’ s big-ticket international signing in Jan. 2021, had an impressive pro debut in the Dominican Summer League and finished 2021 as the No. 10 prospect in the Brewers system. Another athletic, well-rounded center fielder, Jaison was Cleveland’ s top international signing in their 2021-22 class when that signing period opened on Jan. 15, 2022.

    Scouting Report: There’ s a promising mix of tools, skills, athleticism and physical projection remaining with Chourio. He has a lean, wiry build with plus speed, easy actions and good instincts in center field. With his body type and strength projection, there’ s a chance Chourio’ s speed and average arm strength could tick up as he gets stronger, but he already has the range to handle center field. At the plate, Chourio recognizes pitches well and makes frequent contact with good feel for the barrel from both sides of the plate. While some scouts think it’ s likely to stay a hit-over-power approach, others see the leverage in his swing and strength projection remaining to develop into a power/speed threat.

    The Future: While the Guardians are rich in young infield prospects, Chourio immediately becomes one of their most exciting outfield prospects at the lower levels. He will get his first official at-bats in 2022 in the Dominican Summer League.

  30. 30. Milan Tolentino | SS
    Milan Tolentino
    Born: Nov 17, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Minors: .299/.404/.406 | 3 HR | 16 SB | 308 AB

    May Update: The Guardians scouting and player development groups worked with Tolentino to change the way he moves in the box in order to tap into more impact without sacrificing his bat-to-ball skills. The results have shown up in a scorching start for the team’ s fourth-round pick from two seasons ago. Scouts inside and outside the organization see a player who can hit his way to the big leagues, but there are questions about where he’ ll wind up defensively.

View Players 11-30

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