Guardians Sept 1st Call-Ups – Which Players Excite Us?

August 30, 2023

Tony Camino

Three prospects in Columbus who might give us a preview of what’s in store for 2024

As we’re getting closer to the last month of the season, the most exciting thing about Guardians baseball is watching the young guys develop, as they could make a big impact next year. The trade of Amed Rosario opened up more playing time at shortstop, so we’ve been seeing a lot of Gabriel Arias lately. He hasn’t been flawless, but he’s shown plenty of flashes that get us pumped for his future. The Guardians have a bunch of promising prospects in Columbus who might join the team either this year or next, giving us a great chance to start figuring out how they perform at the big-league level.

George Valera

  • #5 ranked prospect in the organization, just out of the top 100 in all baseball
  • 24 home runs in 132 games played in 2022
  • Elite walk rates, 17.1% in AAA this year

If not for an injury that derailed his 2023 season, George Valera would probably be in Cleveland by now, delivering results following his highly impressive 2022 campaign in AA and AAA. Valera does have a tendency to swing and miss frequently, yet he compensates for it with exceptional walk rates and impressive exit velocities. He stands as a genuine slugger, capable of adding power to the Cleveland outfield. Despite having played in center field, he will more than likely find his place in the corner positions.

Kyle Manzardo

  • #2 ranked prospect in the organization, #62 in all of baseball
  • 22 home runs in 93 games played in 2022
  • Low K% and high BB% give a high floor with great upside

Picked up during this year’s trade deadline in exchange for Aaron Civale, Kyle Manzardo is a massive acquisition for the Guardians organization. Although injuries have somewhat affected his performance in the 2023 season, his profile has scouts thinking he could easily maintain a batting average near .300 with a touch of power. His knack for drawing walks and avoiding strikeouts boosts his prospects at the next level. While his exit velocities might not be as impressive as some other prospects, he consistently finds the sweet spot and generates solid power. He’s better than average at first base, and with a bit of refining in his conditioning, he could enhance his range and tap into even more power.

Jonathan Rodriguez

  • #24 ranked prospect in organization
  • 27 home runs in 114 games played in 2023
  • 151 wRC+ in 26 games in Columbus this year

A lower-ranked prospect who’s worth some attention in September is Jonathan Rodriguez. His relatively low BB% and remarkably high K% are the factors that place him lower in the rankings than his stats would suggest. However, Rodriguez genuinely possesses significant power, which he has demonstrated this year while also maintaining an impressive batting average. His player profile closely resembles that of Oscar Gonzales, who struggled to secure a consistent spot in the lineup due to his lack of plate discipline. Unlike Gonzales, Rodriguez manages to draw nearly double the amount of walks in the minors. Still, reports indicate that his swing choices tend to lean towards aggressiveness rather than discipline.

Despite a high strikeout rate, if Rodriguez can minimize his swings and misses to pitches within the strike zone, he has the potential to deliver power in the heart of the batting order. While he may not be the swiftest outfielder or base runner, his strong arm serves as a deterrent for runners looking to advance. Throughout 2023, Rodriguez has been performing exceptionally well, making a case for some plate appearances in September.


Since the trade deadline, the focus of the season has shifted towards preparing for 2024. With certain positions locked up, the most significant uncertainties revolve around the shortstop and corner outfield spots. Kyle Manzardo is likely to be slotted into the opening-day lineup next year, so getting his first at-bats out of the way in September is a wise decision. As for the outfield, the situation is less clear. Although highly-ranked prospect George Valera has shown flashes of potential, injuries have prevented his debut this year. On the other hand, Jonathan Rodriguez may not hold the same ranking as the other players, but he has remained healthy throughout 2023 and has been delivering impressive performances in Akron and Columbus. The sole objective for the remainder of the season is to gather more insights for 2024, and getting these guys some opportunities is the best way to do that.

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