mcrose's Top 25 Guardians/Tribe Prospects

(Proviso to Editors - I use "tribe" a couple times for shorthand and because it feels true. Chk dictionary vis a vis small cohort identities. I'm on board with Guardians v Indians, but as far as I know, "tribe" is not prohibitive? Let me know otherwise and I'll adjust, thx)

Going to do my prospect rankings a little different this year, listing my top 25 up front (instead of top 20) with brief subjective comments rather than paragraph analyses spread over separate posts. I'll follow up by highlighting certain areas and comps/stats in followup posts.

Overall, the system is deeper than ever with quality prospects, despite unprecedented graduation rates in 2021. I couldn't even keep it to 20, despite not considering any 2021 draftees (save for Gavin Williams, who seems like a beast), all AZL/DSL players, and recent acquisitions that I've not had a chance to see but could very well make an impact next year (Cantillo, Myers).

Much of the high end talent will be in AA-AAA next year, so I look for 2022 to be a crucial season on the farm as many of our top prospects position themselves for a cohort graduation to the bigs in 2023, which I see as the earliest flowering of a truly young and homegrown (low payroll, natch) major league team that will contend once again for a deep playoff run.

With that said, here's my top 25:

1: Daniel Espino. In the age of TINSTAAPP, its rare to dare ranking a young prep draftee hurler #1, but I'll do so and follow up with a comp with He Who Shall Not Be Named (for now).

2: Brayan Rocchio
2: Gabriel Arias
2: George Valera
2: Tyler Freeman. Yep, I can't truthfully parse and rank the proven record and potential of these four, who, along with Espino, form a clear top tier/top 5 in the system. A case can be made for each to be #1, but I choose to rank them equally and apart at #2. Rocchio has true SS action with a Lindoresque swing from both sides of the plate. Arias has proven himself at AAA at the age of 21 with a plus glove and arm and untapped power in a 215 lb frame. Valera is the bat flip highlight reel, a real outfielder who I wish would hit more doubles. Freeman has the best hit tool in the system (and let's face it, the game is about hitting), but shoulder surgeries have raised a red flag. All will be AA-AAA next year, at least one will see time in Cleveland. Hopefully I'll follow up with a more detailed comparison.

6: Cody Morris. Absolutely dominant in 14 appearances across AA/AAA in '21. High 90's heater with command of offspeed. Would be firmly in the top tier save for his relatively brief showing. He's healthy now and could easily be in the rotation next year. Think Mike Clevinger without the funky delivery.

7: Gavin Williams. The only '21 draftee (#1 out of Eastern Carolina) I felt safe including here, based on video from instructs. A lean 6'6 240 lbs with the fastball/slider combo that a closer weeps for, but with a repertoire that includes a good curve and changeup to make him a frontline starter prospect going forward. Will debut at high-A Lake County.

8: Nolan Jones. In a sense, he's inherited this spot, as he's been a top 5 prospect since he was drafted as a Pennsylvania high schooler in 2016 (2nd round). His potential is still awaiting breakout performance. Still without a true position. Elite walk rate, untapped all fields power in his 6'4 210 lb frame. His biggest advance in '21 at AAA was showing he could hit same sided lefties. Let's hope he can continue that, and see time in Cleveland next year in RF or 1B.

9: Logan "T" Allen. As opposed to Logan "S" Allen who graduated off this list last year. "T" had arguably the best full season pitching debut in recent tribe memory, going 9-0 in 19 starts across A+ and AA, with a stellar 11+ K/9 and 2.1 W/9 from the left side. Just 6 feet tall, he plays up with command of his pitches and dealing up to 94 from the left side. Along with Xzavion Curry, he impressed me the most last year in doing the most with his tools and stature.

10: Jhonkensy Noel. Don't know why he's not getting more prospect love, and I have him cracking the top 10 for a reason. Or reasons: .290 ISO (best in system, saw him hit two 480 ft home runs in a single game) combined with a .340 BA (!). Please keep both those metrics in mind and not have your head explode or veer off into Valera batflip land. All at 19 yrs old, spanning low and high A. Unusual. And he can play 3B. This is not your regular Jesus Aguilar.

I see I'm making more comments than I thought I would, so I'll leave this top 10 as a single post and follow up later with the rest. We have a really good farm system right now! Cheers!

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