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Brayan Rocchio called up by Guardians, Hunter Gaddis optioned to Triple-A

The middle infielders just keep coming

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Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians minor leaguers Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images

There were rumors of it last night, and now it’s official: The Cleveland Guardians have called up Brayan Rocchio from the minors. He will be on the bench when the Guardians attempt to not get swept by the Tigers this afternoon.

To make room for their newest infielder, the Guardians have also optioned Hunter Gaddis to Triple-A.

Ranked as the No. 5 Guardians prospect by the Covering the Corner community earlier this year, Rocchio brings a solid hit tool as well as a high baseball IQ and athleticism that earned him the nickname “The Professor” as a teenager playing in the Dominican Republic. He may have shown some signs of struggling to adjust to Triple-A pitching last year, but he has had no such issues so far in 2023. His .344/.414/.459 slash equates to a 129 wRC+ and he has walked 11.4% of the time, compared to a 12.9% strikeout rate.

FanGraphs scouts had some concerns about Rocchio’s play in the Venezuelan Winter League last year but noted that those issues did not appear as much during the 2022 regular season. It’s possible he was just gassed after playing a career-high 132 games between Double-A and Triple-A. Even with these concerns, he still made FanGraphs’ top-100 list at No. 54 overall.

If you want an optimistic view of Rocchio, look no further than the Athletic’s Keith Law — I don’t think anyone has been as high on Rocchio as Law has from the very beginning. He has been cemented as Law’s No. 22 overall prospect the last two seasons, receiving high marks for his “compact, direct swing” and power potential as a shortstop.

Rocchio won’t get the start in Cleveland today, however. It will instead be Gabriel Arias replacing Amed Rosario, who is nursing a sore back, at shortstop. Per Zack Meisel, Rocchio won’t be around as long as Rosario and Tyler Freeman avoid the injured list.

Freeman isn’t officially listed as injured yet, but he appeared to hurt his arm in a minor collision at second base yesterday. Rosario is also not on the injured list, but day-to-day with lingering back soreness. As Meisel alludes to above, the team will probably be forced to make a decision one way or another when Enyel De Los Santos returns from the paternity list on Friday. Either Rocchio will go back down, or one of Freeman/Rosario will head to the injured list.

Either way, welcome to The Show, Brayan Rocchio!