Organization Reports


2023 Organization Report: Cleveland Guardians

by Chris Blessing

Organization Grades

Hitting: B+ ... Pitching: A- ... Top-end Talent: A- ... Depth: B ... Overall: B+

Minor League Affiliates

Triple-A: Columbus (AAA East)
Double-A: Akron (AA Northeast)
High-A: Lake County (A+ Central)
Low-A: Lynchburg (A East)
Rookie: ACL Guardians (Arizona Complex League)
Rookie: DSL Guardians (Dominican Summer League)

Unlock fantasy-friendly prospect insight for all 30 MLB teams with BaseballHQ. Subscribe Today!

1. Daniel Espino (RHP) ... 6-2, 205 ... 22 ... 2019 (1) HS (PN)
2019AZL Indians (Ariz)13.21.980.8803.310.53.2.146
2019Mahoning Valley (NYPL)10.06.301.4004.516.23.6.231
2021Lynchburg (A2_East)42.23.371.3364.913.52.8.210
2021Lake County (A1_Cent)
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)18.12.450.7092.
Comments: Short-statured, athletic RHP made only 4 starts due to right knee injury. Utilizes lower half like no other pitcher, allowing for high-octane arsenal. 4-seam FB—combining velocity, ride and run—is elite with near 40% whiff rate. SL flashes double-plus; sells CU well with a bit of run; may have scrapped CB. Commands FB/SL combination well.

Development Path: Espino's 4 starts likely muddied up his progression to CLE. He'll likely return to Double-A, move up to Triple-A by mid-season and potentially work out of the pen for CLE by the end of the year, since he will likely be on strict innings count.

Fantasy Impact: Espino is a SP prospect with 2 potentially double-plus offerings and a CU which he sells enough to add an additional winkle. With health, this is an SP1 profile with skyrocketing Dom rates.

Upside Grade: 9C

2. Gavin Williams (RHP) ... 6-6, 255 ... 23 ... 2021 (1) East Carolina
2022Lake County Captains (Midw2)45.01.400.8672.813.44.8.156
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)70.02.311.0003.310.53.2.173
Comments: Strong-bodied, hard-throwing RHP enjoyed breakout pro debut. Pro coaching streamlined high 3/4s delivery, improving FB command. Mid-to-high 90s 4-seam FB has plus ride with solid run, lots of whiffs. Best secondary is two-plane SL with late vertical drop. 12-6 CB and late fading CU are both viable 3rd and 4th offerings in arsenal.

Development Path: Williams pitched well across both high-A and double-A. A trip to Triple-A is now in store with a chance at a MLB debut later in the season.

Fantasy Impact: Williams has four pitches with above-average-or-better potential outcomes. He gets a high percentage of swings and misses with each offering. Likely, the FB and SL sustain whiff rates. This is a potential frontline SP with Dom and Ctl.

Upside Grade: 9C

3. Bo Naylor (C) ... 6-0, 195 ... L/R ... 23 ... 2018 (1) HS (ON)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2019Lake County (Midw)399.243/.313/.42110740.4111/7
2021Akron (AA_NE)313.188/.280/.33211640.3310/10
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)170.271/.427/.47121730.986/11
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)245.257/.366/.51413690.4915/9
2022Cleveland Guardians (AL)8.000/.000/.0000380.000/0
Comments: LHH C with MLB bloodlines had fantastic comeback season, putting offensive skillset together with power and on-base clip of more than 40%. Earned late season MLB debut. Open stance with a small bat wrap on load. Has advanced approach with a discerning eye and power to all fields (25+ HR at maturity). Makes great swing decisions. Plus framer at C.

Development Path: Naylor exploded in Double-A and carried the performance over to Triple-A, where he went on a HR barrage. His defense is near ready and could be the Guardians best option to start the season at C.

Fantasy Impact: Naylor erased the question marks left from a poor '21 and looks to be one of baseball brightest young catchers. It's potentially a .240/.350/.490 sort of bat from a weaker offensive position.

Upside Grade: 9D

Unlock fantasy-friendly prospect insight for all 30 MLB teams with BaseballHQ. Subscribe Today!

4. Will Brennan (OF) ... 6-0, 190 ... L/L ... 25 ... 2019 (8) Kansas State
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021Lake County (A1_Cent)238.290/.368/.44110820.584/13
2021Akron (AA_NE)150.280/.369/.36011810.622/2
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)135.311/.382/.50411881.064/5
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)393.316/.367/.4718870.629/15
2022Cleveland Guardians (AL)42.357/.400/.5005900.501/2
Comments: Hitterish LHH OF made late MLB debut after breakout season. Short, athletic build; utilizes closed, upright swing with smooth load. Solid approach with plus contact skills and will work all fields but best at RCF gap. Power mostly pull-oriented. Should hit 20-25 HR regularly with hit tool leading way. Solid defender. Offense will carry COF role.

Development Path: After dominating the upper minors, Brennan continued to hit in his MLB debut. Likely an Opening Day big league performer and a dark horse Rookie of the Year contender.

Fantasy Impact: Brennan's hit tool carries the profile. There's average power in his frame and swing and he consistently gets to harder contact. He'll continually flirt with .300 with 20-25 HR skills.

Upside Grade: 8A

5. George Valera (OF) ... 5-10, 160 ... L/L ... 22 ... 2017 FA (NY)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2019Mahoning Valley (NYPL)157.236/.356/.44616670.568/6
2021Lake County (A1_Cent)199.256/.430/.54822710.9516/10
2021Akron (AA_NE)86.267/.340/.40711650.373/1
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)330.264/.367/.47014700.5215/2
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)154.221/.324/.44813710.499/0
Comments: Power-hitting LHH prospect slugged career high 24 HR in solid season, split between upper levels. Open, unorthodox stance with large bat wiggle for timing. Plus-plus bat speed with uppercut swing produces hard EV and loads of loft. Plus-plus power plays to all fields. Patient hitter. Struggles with contact due to holes in zone. COF bat.

Development Path: Valera was super young for his Triple-A and showed he wasn't prepared for better competition. He'll head back there for '23 with a likely callup coming sometime during the season.

Fantasy Impact: Valera, with his contact issues, could become more of a Three True Outcomes hitter compared to the hit-plus-power prospect we dreamt on in the low minors. Still, it's potentially big power (35+ HR) with high OBP potential, even if the BA feels like it will be .240ish.

Upside Grade: 8C

6. Tanner Bibee (RHP) ... 6-2, 190 ... 24 ... 2021 (5) Cal State Fullerton
2022Lake County Captains (Midw2)59.02.591.0682.
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)73.21.830.8821.
Comments: 2021 6th round pick known for pitchability and command took an enormous step up in stuff. 4-pitch arsenal of average-or-better offerings. 4-seam FB sits mid-90s with an average spin profile. Commands a fading CU, with late drop out of the zone. It's a plus pitch and could be more. High-spinning, sweeping SL also projects as plus. CB is solid.

Development Path: Bibee got better as he stepped up to Double-A. He will head to Triple-A to start the year and hopefully hone his FB enough to have it play in the big leagues.

Fantasy Impact: The 9D rating hedges a potential improvement with spin efficiency on his mid-90s FB, the last ingredient for a SP2 upside. Without improving the FB, the SL and CU is enough to get whiffs as a SP3 for fantasy.

Upside Grade: 9D

7. Chase DeLauter (OF) ... 6-4, 235 ... L/L ... 21 ... 2022 (1) James Madison
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
Comments: Burly, athletic OF with pristine eye and power for days missed most of 2022 college season with a broken foot. Looks like SEC linebacker with speed to match. Upright stance; long stride and quick load. Uppercut swing trajectory with good plate coverage. 30+ HR at projection with underlying hit skills. Plus-plus speed in CF; a 30/30 threat.

Development Path: It's been awhile since CLE drafted a college hitter this high in the draft and there really isn't a history to tell us where he'll start out. Our guess is probably High-A, where his present skills should play well.

Fantasy Impact: DeLauter has the most fantasy impact potential of any recent college bat, given his underlying skills include hitability, a discerning eye, plus power and plus-plus speed. This could be a special fantasy player.

Upside Grade: 9E

8. Brayan Rocchio (2B,SS) ... 5-10, 150 ... B/R ... 22 ... 2017 FA (VZ)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2019Mahoning Valley (NYPL)268.250/.310/.3737850.505/14
2021Lake County (A1_Cent)257.265/.337/.4287750.319/14
2021Akron (AA_NE)184.293/.360/.5057780.326/7
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)373.265/.349/.43210780.5213/12
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)137.234/.298/.3878850.575/2
Comments: Small-statured, switch-hitting, defensively skilled SS struggled with getting to harder contact in Triple-A sample, especially from RH side. Upright, closed stance with quick trigger, has improved getting to power; there's 25 HR potential in his leveraged swing. Plus runner has struggled with SB% throughout career. Plus SS defensively.

Development Path: Rocchio was super young for Triple-A and didn't have the same explosiveness in his swing as prior seasons. He probably heads back there for 2023 with a chance at a late-season MLB callup if needed.

Fantasy Impact: Due to his inability to use his speed in his game, Rocchio is an average upside performer compared to a solid regular. Still, we'll keep some hope alive he can get to a .270-20-20 type, but it's likely less than that in the SB department.

Upside Grade: 8D

9. Logan Allen (LHP) ... 6-0, 190 ... 24 ... 2020 (2) Florida Intl
2020Florida Intl (ConfUSA)25.22.450.8962.
2021Lake County (A1_Cent)51.11.580.9742.311.85.1.194
2021Akron (AA_NE)60.02.850.8832.
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)73.03.331.0962.712.84.7.209
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)59.26.491.5594.411.02.5.263
Comments: Shorter-statured LHP inched closer to MLB debut with solid '22 campaign. Repeatable, crossfire, low 3/4s delivery with four pitches. 4-seam FB has excellent riding profile from a lower arm slot, playing up average pitch. SP is best pitch with great deception off FB. Hitter love chasing sweeping SL. CT a solid new offering.

Development Path: Allen is on the cusp of his big league debut and could compete for a role in the Guardians rotation during spring training, especially if the team moves pitchers before the start of the season.

Fantasy Impact: Allen doesn't overwhelm with any one pitch; it's a sum-of-all-parts profile. Most of the whiffs will come from the softer pitches. However, how he tunnels his FB & CT off one another will determine whether he gets to a SP3 ceiling or not. Floor is SP4/SP5.

Upside Grade: 8C

10. Cody Morris (RHP) ... 6-5, 222 ... 26 ... 2018 (7) University of South Carolina
2021ACL Indians (Rk_ACL)
2021Akron (AA_NE)20.01.351.0503.
2022ACL Indians (ACL)
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)15.12.350.7173.517.65.0.098
2022Cleveland Guardians (AL)
Comments: Promising rookie SP struggled with shoulder injury in spring but pitched for MLB club during pennant chase. Repeatable 3/4s delivery. Flashed plus command of FB, CT & CB in minors. 4-seam FB has an average movement profile with ride and arm-side run. Fading CU with late drop is best whiff inducer. CB is solid eye level changing pitch.

Development Path: Morris struggled with FB command in his MLB debut but looked solid overall. He'll likely compete for a rotation spot out of spring training.

Fantasy Impact: Morris' superior command likely carried his high Dom rates in the minor leagues. At the MLB level, it's probably a solid Dom rate, especially if he adds velocity to his FB. The CU will be the whiff producer. At worst, SP4 or SP5 starter.

Upside Grade: 8D

11. Angel Martinez (SS) ... 6-0, 165 ... B/R ... 21 ... 2018 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021Lynchburg (A2_East)377.241/.319/.38210770.497/13
2022Lake County Captains (Midw2)281.288/.384/.47712790.6910/10
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)82.244/.356/.45113780.673/2
Comments: Heady, switch-hitting MIF with MLB bloodlines put together solid season between two aggressive assignments. Power driven hit tool from LH side, getting to lofted contact more, especially to the pull side gap. From RH side, swing is much more linear, depressing loft. Plus feel for zone and situations. Defensively, arm plays at SS/3B.

Development Path: Martinez, nearly four years younger than average in Double-A, struggled against advanced pitching. He'll likely return there for '23 with a chance at Triple-A by mid-season.

Fantasy Impact: Martinez is solid prospect who does a little bit of everything well but nothing great. His baseball instincts play up the profile. Think .270/.330/.460 slash with 10 SB potential.

Upside Grade: 7B

12. Jhonkensy Noel (1B,3B,OF) ... 6-3, 250 ... R/R ... 21 ... 2017 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2021ACL Indians (Rk_ACL)15.200/.294/.2676730.250/0
2021Lynchburg (A2_East)150.393/.426/.6934820.2611/2
2022Lake County Captains (Midw2)228.219/.286/.5097650.2319/1
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)240.242/.338/.48811740.4813/2
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)17.176/.222/.2356590.140/0
Comments: XXL RHH 1B/OF prospect hit 32 HR across 3 levels but struck out 150 times. Open, crouched stance with hands back to minimize load. Plus-plus bat speed with some feel for hit. Struggles with spin recognition and over-aggressiveness. Exceptional wall power. If approach tones down, perennial threat for 40+ HR season. Solid athlete for size.

Development Path: Noel did enough during his Double-A stint to allow for a promotion to Triple-A in most orgs. There's real concern with his chase rate, likely sending him to Double-A to start '23.

Fantasy Impact: Noel's fantasy carry is his enormous power potential. If there is a semblance of patience, Noel should be a guarantee for 30+ HR a season.

Upside Grade: 8D

13. Gabriel Arias (2B,3B,SS) ... 6-1, 185 ... R/R ... 23 ... 2016 FA (VZ)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2019Lake Elsinore (Calif)477.302/.339/.4705730.2017/8
2021Columbus (AAA_East)436.284/.348/.4548750.3513/5
2022ACL Indians (ACL)13.231/.412/.30819460.430/1
2022Columbus Clippers (IL2)288.240/.310/.4068730.3213/5
2022Cleveland Guardians (AL)47.191/.321/.31915660.501/1
Comments: Athletic SS prospect made MLB debut after struggling with contact in Triple-A. Power over hit prospect. Upright, closed stance with bat wrap and leg lift. Linear swing plane conducive to line drive contact. Frame and max EV indicate more power present than swing trajectory currently allows. Aggressive approach overall. Strong arm and rangy SS.

Development Path: Arias is currently blocked by better players at the MLB level. However, his athleticism should allow him to add other positions to his repertoire. Likely up and down all season long.

Fantasy Impact: Arias' hit tool was challenged by Triple-A and MLB pitchers, which was somewhat expected. To reach projection, this bat needs to get to lofted power or this is a fringe regular performer.

Upside Grade: 7B

14. Justin Campbell (RHP) ... 6-7, 219 ... 22 ... 2022 (1) Oklahoma State
Comments: Tall, lean '22 high round draft pick had excellent college season. High 3/4s delivery will need pro refinement but gets to plus extension. Mostly 3-pitch pitcher. 4-seam FB sits low-90s with solid ride/run profile and plus command. Late-fading CU is best secondary with plus separation off FB. 12-to-6 CB is potentially best secondary long term.

Development Path: The Guardians like to give their college drafted hurlers a break from game action once they sign to tweak mechanics and afford prospects rest. Campbell will likely make his pro debut in High-A.

Fantasy Impact: Campbell has a solid foundational skill set. CLE will attempt to maximize that foundation, which they tend to do with nearly all of their high draft picks. With more velocity, the FB could become elite and the pitch mix screams mid-rotation SP long term.

Upside Grade: 8E

15. Joey Cantillo (LHP) ... 6-4, 200 ... 23 ... 2017 (16) HS (HI)
2019Fort Wayne (Midw)98.01.930.8702.511.84.7.165
2019Lake Elsinore (Calif)13.24.611.3904.610.52.3.226
2021ACL Indians (Rk_ACL)
2021Akron (AA_NE)8.04.502.25011.313.51.2.250
2022Akron RubberDucks (East2)60.21.931.0884.
Comments: Crafty, low 3/4s LHP had best season as pro despite late shoulder injury. Added velocity to entire pitch mix while also improving spin of CB. 4-seam FB sits low-90s with natural ride up in zone. Best pitch is arm-side fading CU with late drop. Has improved spin profile of CB to get greater break profile. SL is below-average offering.

Development Path: Cantillo has dealt with injuries the past two seasons but was added to the 40-man roster this off-season. He should open in Triple-A with a chance at the MLB squad late.

Fantasy Impact: The added velocity has helped define Cantillo's role more. It looks like a mostly a 2-pitch LHP with an occasional eye level changing CB to keep hitters off his high riding FB. The CU will garner the whiff rate. Should be a solid SP4/SP5 option long term.

Upside Grade: 7B

Organization Reports Home