Start Thinking About 2024 – Guardians Prospects Names We May See Next Year – Part 3

September 25, 2023

Tony Camino

The Most Exciting Guardians Prospects and Minor Leaguers Performances in 2023

With the Guardians 2023 season coming to an end, the Columbus Clippers entering the final three-game series of their season, and the rest of the minor league affiliates finishing up earlier this month, we can finally reflect on what we saw and who stood out in 2023. Although the Guardians did not have the type of season we had hoped for, there is plenty to get excited about in the Guardians’ organization to improve the team next year. Here are some standout performances from the 2023 minor league season.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Rodriguez & Jhonkensy Noel

Sitting at numbers 24 and 28 in the Guardians’ prospect rankings, Jonathan Rodriguez and Jhonkensy Noel aren’t the top-level prospects that scouts have been constantly raving about. However, Rodriguez finished 2023 leading the organization in home runs with 29, split between Akron and Columbus, and Noel isn’t too far behind with 27 home runs in Columbus.

Rodriguez concluded his 2023 season with a .280 batting average and a .936 OPS, while Noel posted a .220 batting average and a .723 OPS. In the final month of the year, Noel batted .247 with a .839 OPS, truly showcasing the raw power he possesses. While both hitters have concerns regarding their low walk rates and high strikeout rates, their eye-popping power numbers keep them on the radar for 2024.

2B/SS Brayan Rocchio

The only name on this list with significant MLB experience, Brayan Rocchio currently holds the top prospect ranking within the organization and is ranked 47th in all of baseball. After a brief stint in the majors this year, the Guardians decided it was better to have him receive daily at-bats and chose to leave him in Columbus for the rest of the season.

  • .280 average in AAA with .788 OPS and 101 wRC+
  • .290 average in August with .817 OPS
  • .235 average in September with .744 OPS

Definitely a candidate for the shortstop position in 2024, Rocchio displayed consistency when moved to the top of the order for the Columbus team. He recorded seven multi-hit games since his return and has reached base in all but six games during that period. While Rocchio may not be a power hitter, he demonstrated an ability to produce from the leadoff spot and set the table for the rest of the lineup. His combination of on-base skills and solid defense makes him an intriguing choice for the shortstop position in 2024.

1B/DH Kyle Manzardo

Perhaps the player most closely followed by fans, Kyle Manzardo was acquired at the deadline in exchange for Aaron Civale, who has a 5.36 ERA with TB. Ranked as the second-best prospect in the organization and 58th in baseball, Manzardo has demonstrated to fans why the organization decided to trade Civale, as they won’t require his services in 2024.

  • .256 average in Columbus with .938 OPS and 123 wRC+ in 21 games
  • 17 home runs this year, had 4 over 3 games, and 6 over 9 games
  • 13.0% BB% with just a 15.2% K% shows his discipline at the plate

Recently, Manzardo has experienced a significant power surge in Columbus, providing fans with compelling reasons to be excited about his addition to the offense next year. With excellent swing decisions and the ability to make solid contact with a wide range of pitches, Manzardo possesses a unique combination of plate discipline and power. He should be a significant asset to this lineup moving forward. I anticipate that he’ll have a strong chance of making the opening day roster in 2024 and rotating between 1B and DH with Josh Naylor.

OF Chase DeLauter

A name that many haven’t heard of or only learned about this year, Chase DeLauter has burst onto the scene as an exciting all-around outfield prospect. After excelling in high-A with Lake County and participating in their postseason, where he gained valuable at-bats, DeLauter had his first taste of AA ball, playing the final 6 games in Akron.

  • .366 average with .952 OPS and 164 wRC+ in Lake County
  • .364 average with .873 OPS and 149 wRC+ in Akron
  • 5 home runs in 57 minor league games

The left-handed outfielder has rapidly climbed the ranks of Guardians’ prospects with an outstanding 2023 campaign. He will take part in the Arizona Fall League and is expected to start next season in Akron to gain further experience. If everything goes well, I anticipate a promotion to Columbus in short order, but I wouldn’t expect to see him in Cleveland until at least the end of 2024. DeLauter has been a pleasant surprise this year and could bolster the outfield offense in the near future.

OF George Valera

After contending with numerous injuries to start the 2023 season, including a wrist injury, George Valera didn’t have the beginning that anyone in the organization had envisioned. Before the injuries, there was hope that he could join the lineup by the end of this year to provide a spark and some power from the corner outfield positions. Valera is currently ranked as the #5 prospect in the organization, a slight drop following his sluggish start in 2023

  • .226 average with .774 OPS in the second half of the season
  • High 16.0% BB% accompanied by a high 27.2% K%
  • Hit all 10 home runs this season from July on when finally healthy

The concern was definitely present at the beginning of the season, as his final numbers for this year don’t appear as impressive as his recent performance. He’s concluding the year with an approximate 79 wRC+ while batting just .210. However, he has transformed into a different player since achieving full health and appears to have rediscovered the power that has excited scouts. If everything goes well this offseason, Valera could contend for an opening-day roster spot in 2024.

INF Juan Brito

Acquired in exchange for Nolan Jones this past offseason, Juan Brito has generated a lot of excitement among scouts in the organization for what he can contribute to the offense. As a switch-hitter, Brito primarily plays second base, with a few games at third base and shortstop. He has progressed from high-A Lake County to Columbus for the final trip of the season, which bodes well for his prospects in 2024.

  • .265 average with .803 OPS and 129 wRC+ in Lake County
  • .276 average with .817 OPS and 125 wRC+ in Akron
  • Above-average walk rates with very low strikeout rates along with 14 home runs

With the future infield potentially crowded, the Guardians might consider starting Brito in AAA in 2023 to gain experience in the outfield. Unless Gabriel Arias, Brayan Rocchio, and Tyler Freeman all aren’t the answers at shortstop, Brito would need to transition to the outfield to secure a roster spot. His impressive hitting ability as a switch-hitter makes him a valuable addition to the team, and a move from Steven Kwan to center field could position Brito well in the corner outfield. There’s a good chance we’ll see Brito in 2024, especially if he continues to hit as he did in 2023.


2023 was an unusual season, especially considering that at various times, the minor league offenses were more exciting than the major league offense. Thanks to the players listed above, there is hope that the offense can gain more power in 2024 and beyond to complement their abundance of young pitching. Adding a few more players to hit alongside Jose Ramirez, Josh and Bo Naylor, Andres Gimenez, and Steven Kwan isn’t an insurmountable task when you consider the prospects. This is what needs to happen for the Guardians to return as World Series contenders in 2024

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