The Cleveland Guardians have promoted shortstop Gabriel Arias as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader.
Arias, 22, will make his major-league debut with the Guardians two years after they acquired him from the Padres in a deal for pitcher Mike Clevinger. The young shortstop finished 2021 with a .284/.348/.454 slash and 13 home runs for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He was off to a similar start in nine games this season, with a walk rate higher in the double-digits for the first time in his career. Granted, that’s a small sample size, but walking more and striking out less is seen as the one big hurdle for Arias to make it as a major leaguer.
FanGraphs gave Arias a 50 FV in their latest top prospect rankings for the Guardians, putting him as the organization’s No. 4 overall prospect. They praised his power potential and defense at the position, but noted that scouts are concerned about his swing-happy approach at the plate:
His 55% Swing%, per Synergy Sports, would have made him the 10th swing-happiest player in the majors last year. Arias has historically been apt to chase pitches out of the strike zone, and looks like a player who’ll wind up with career OBPs in the .290-.310 range. But he is tooled out, a viable shortstop defender with a big arm and rare power for that position.
FanGraphs’ Steamer projections have him at a .242/.301/.381 slash, with a 7.0% walk rate and 25.5% strikeout rate — averaging out to a 86 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR shortstop. That might not sound like much, but remember Arias is only 22 with some surprising pop and a cannon arm at the shortstop position. That’s exciting no matter what.
Prospects Live scouted him as a bench/utility player with all the physical tools in the world, but the same hitting question marks that scared some scouts off in his FanGraphs report:
Arias is a physically impressive athlete that is easy to dream on. Has the physical tools and overall athletic ability to be an above-average major league defender at shortstop. Strength and bat speed give him exciting raw power for a shortstop. He has major questions about the hit tool. Swing decisions with an aggressive approach and struggles to pick up breaking stuff and get the bat to where the ball is pitched makes it hard to see the ability to make contact and get to his power.
In addition to Arias’ debut, according to Mandy Bell, the Guardians have also placed Cal Quantrill, Owen Miller, and Anthony Castro on the COVID injured list. Yu Chang, who has been on the injured list for the last week, was also confirmed to have COVID. Kirk McCarty, Tanner Tully, and Enyel De Los Santos have been recalled to replace them.