Cleveland Guardians Have Power Bats Developing In Their Organization


The Cleveland Guardians headed to the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee with one vacancy on their 40-man roster.

Perhaps the team has a trade possibility that requires use of that roster spot. Or, maybe they have targeted a player to claim in the MLB Rule-5 Draft, which takes place at the meetings.

Fans and industry personnel are well aware the Guardians need more offense. Their lack of power has been well chronicled.

It is important to note however, that power bats do exist in the Guardians organization.

In fact, several potential power hitters are included on the 40-man roster.

The issue facing the club is a matter of bridging the gap until the front office feels their consequential hitters are major-league ready.

The Guardians have already been burned by the lack of production from targeted “sluggers” Bobby Bradley, Franmil Reyes, and Oscar Gonzalez.

Bradley, Reyes and Gonzalez were perceived to be capable of game-changing thunder. They all did, indeed, have their moments. They were fleeting.

All big, strong hitters, each had difficulty making consistent contact. Their hitting mechanics faltered as they searched to find the barrel of the bat, but too often found only the cool breeze of swings and misses.

Gonzalez was quietly designated for assignment by Cleveland, and claimed by the New York Yankees.

Reyes was released by the Guardians, signed and released by the Kansas City Royals, and signed and released by the Washington Nationals. He is now a free-agent.

Bradley was released by Cleveland, and is out of baseball.

Now, fans and the front office can’t help but be wary of the potential for failure from the next waive of power bats to wear a Guardians big league uniform.

Here are several Guardians prospects waiting in the wings for their chance to add power to the Guardians lineup.

Kyle Manzardo-1B, Age 23: 6-0, 205 pounds

Kyle Manzardo is likely to find his way to the parent club at some point in 2024. He may even make the club out of spring training.

Obtained in trade from the Tampa Bay Rays, Manzardo does, indeed, have power potential.

A left-handed hitter, Manzardo doesn’t have the type of frame one equates to a power hitter. However, his strong arms and wrists, his quick hands through the ball, and his selectivity at the plate bode well for his future as an impactful hitter.

Last year, playing at Triple-A in the Rays and Guardians organizations, Manzardo registered only 80 strikeouts in 415 plate appearances, which is very, very promising.

Chase DeLauter-OF, Age 22: 6-4, 235 pounds

Left-handed hitting Chase DeLauter was the Guardians 1st round draft pick in 2022.

He is likely targeted to spend most of the season at Triple-A Columbus. However, he did gain valuable experience in the Arizona Fall League, where he flashed enough power to be a hopeful prospect.

DeLauter played mostly at Class-A Advanced and Double-A last year. He struck out only 30 times in 242 plate appearances, which was excellent. But he hit just five home runs.

One really can’t consider him a true power threat, but there is power upside in his bat.

George Valera-OF, Age 23: 6-0, 195 pounds

George Valera was signed as an international free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017.

Valera has always been touted as a power hitter, with strength throughout his body in a 6-foot frame.

However, due to injuries, Valera has played only 355 games in parts of six minor league seasons. He has 1,503 professional plate appearances.

Last year, limited once again by injury, Valera had only 312 plate appearances in 73 games. He hit 10 home runs, drove in 35 runs, and struck out 85 times. He did, however, draw 50 walks.

To this old scout, there is reason for concern regarding Valera’s ability to stay healthy, and his ability to hit major league pitching. Color this writer concerned.

Jhonkensy Noel-OF, Age 22: 6-3, 250 pounds

Due to his size and strength, the right-handed hitting Noel draws comparisons to Franmil Reyes.

There are other comparisons as well. He has tremendous power. He also strikes out way too much.

Last season at Triple-A Columbus, Noel hit 27 home runs, drove in 85 runs, drew 49 walks, and struck out 145 times.

The power is undeniable.

As a team that thrives on high contact, do the Guardians have tolerance for a high strikeout hitter in their big league lineup? Can Noel adjust to quality pitching at the big league level and avoid the pitfalls of Bradley, Reyes and Gonzalez?

Jonathan Rodriguez-OF, Age 24: 6-0, 224 pounds

Right-handed hitting Jonathan Rodriguez was a 3rd round draft pick in 2017. He was selected out of the Carlos Beltran Academy in Florida, Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez spent last season at Double-A Akron, and Triple-A Columbus, where he hit a combined 29 homers, and drove in 88 runs. At Columbus, he hit 11 homers in 202 plate appearances.

The problem? Rodriguez struck out 163 times. He did accept 59 walks.

And finally, while he may not have the same power upside as other Guardians prospects, second baseman Juan Brito offers hope for some true infield pop.


This offseason, the Guardians may try to improve their big league power and run production via trade. It won’t be easy to find a consequential bat on the trade front.

However, there are players on the 40-man roster with power potential, giving the team hope for the future. They just aren’t ready yet for prime time.

With a combination of payroll limitations, and potential power hitting prospects still in development, fans may have to remain patient until the offensive limitations are resolved.

But hope is on the way.


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