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George Valera is our No. 1 Guardians prospect. Who should be No. 2?

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The legend grows with every flipped bat

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC

George Valera is the No. 1 Cleveland Guardians prospect according to readers of Covering the Corner.

The 21-year-old outfielder ascended to Double-A Akron during the 2021 season. As he rose, heads turned to track his tape-measure blasts. Eyes widened as flipped bats tumbled to the clay. Hopes grew with every glimpse of his talent, usually piped into Twitter from a cell phone or fuzzy broadcast camera.

A top-prospect narrative now crystallizes around Valera right as our view begins to clarify.

There are many players deserving of the No. 1 spot in the Cleveland Guardians, but the George Valera Hype could be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

Here is one reason. In this clip, Valera appears to be caught off-guard by a fastball down the middle. Still, he clears his hands and smacks the ball over the left-field wall. Also, a bat flip.

I understand that one good, toolsy reason to root for a ballplayer may not be enough. Please, let me present another.

Here is George Valera jumping all over a fastball in on his hands. He identifies it immediately, clears his hips and hands effortlessly, and lets it fly. Also, a bat flip.

You might be wondering, now, “What can this George Valera fellow do in the field? You said he is an outfielder, yes?”

Well, good news. I have a clip here of Valera making a sensational defensive play to —

I apologize — this is another video of Valera absolutely smoking a baseball and, my god, that bat flip.

The most entertaining player in baseball continues to be George Valera. Now, he is our top prospect.

Please spread the good news.


Gabriel Arias, SS (Age 21)
2021 (AAA): 483 PA, .284/.348/.454, 13 HR, 5 SB, 8.1 BB%, 22.8 K%, 115 wRC+

Spent the entirety of 2021 in Triple-A and held his own as a 21-year-old with an improved plate approach. Expected to debut with Cleveland sometime in 2022, likely as their starting shortstop.

Daniel Espino, RHP (Age 21)
2021 (A+): 49.0 IP, 10 GS, 45.1 K%, 8.2 BB%, 4.04 ERA, 3.08 FIP
2021 (A): 42.2 IP, 10 GS, 35.6%, 12.8 BB%, 3.38 ERA, 3.20 FIP

Features a mid- to high-90s fastball, slider, curveball, and a work-in-progress change-up. Tremendous strikeout potential as a mid-rotation starter with some command refinement.

Tyler Freeman, SS (Age 22)
2021 (AA): 180 PA, .323/.372/.470, 2 HR, 4 SB, 4.4 BB%, 11.7 K%, 130 wRC+

One of the most polished bats in Cleveland’s system. Excellent bat speed and control; could wind up as a shortstop or second baseman, depending on Cleveland’s MLB needs.

Nolan Jones, 3B/OF (Age 23)
2021 (AAA): 407 PA, .238/.356/.431, 13 HR, 10 SB, 14.5 BB%, 30.0 K%, 113 wRC+

Expected to make his MLB debut in 2021, but a slow start in Triple-A prevented his ascension. One of the best players in baseball occupying his primary position in the majors doesn’t help either, but he could see a shift to the outfield.

Brayan Rocchio, SS (Age 20)
2021 (AA): 203 PA, .293/.360/.505, 6 HR, 7 SB, 6.4 BB%, 20.2 K%, 135 wRC+
2021 (A+): 288 PA, .265/.337/.428, 9 HR, 14 SB, 6.9 BB%, 22.6 K%, 110 wRC+

Reached Double-A as a 20-year-old and continued to show his potential as a future MLB middle infielder. Hit a career-high 15 home runs in 2021.

Poll

Who should be the No. 2 Guardians prospect for 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Gabriel Arias
    (64 votes)
  • 16%
    Daniel Espino
    (47 votes)
  • 22%
    Tyler Freeman
    (63 votes)
  • 6%
    Nolan Jones
    (18 votes)
  • 32%
    Brayan Rocchio
    (93 votes)
285 votes total Vote Now