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Guardians’ 2023 organizational All-Stars

Who are the all-star performers within the Guardians organization this season?

Texas Rangers v. Cleveland Guardians Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Guardians have two all-stars this season in MLB in José Ramírez and Emmanuel Clase, but who has performed the best throughout the full-season levels for the team at each respective position so far? Let’s find out!

I decided not to worry about small sample size in these selections and I’m not giving much preference to the level of performance (e.g. we know that Brito would be very unlikely to outperform Andrés Giménez in Cleveland). I’m just taking the stats for what they are at a player’s given level.

Catcher: Bo Naylor

Cleveland’s rookie catcher carrying the hopes and dreams of Guardians fans has had his expected early struggles as a hitter in the majors, but his stat line in Columbus shows why there are plenty of reasons to hope the 23-year-old will be something close to a league average hitter eventually.

2023 stats: 121 wRC+, 19.3/18.1 K/BB% (AAA), 57 wRC+, 32.1/8.9 K/BB% (MLB)

Runners up: David Fry (AAA/MLB), Bryan Lavastida (AA/AAA), Zac Fascia (A), Zack Collins (AAA).

First base: Josh Naylor

There is a solid argument that Josh Naylor should have made the American League all-star squad. After a disastrously unlucky April, he has had a 149 wRC+ since May 1 and he and Ramírez have joined forces to save an offense that otherwise would have likely been the most inept in MLB history. Naylor has also played a solid first base.

2023 Stats: 123 wRC+, 16.3/5.9 K/BB% (MLB)

Runner up: Micah Pries (AAA)

Second base: Juan Brito

Juan Brito has provided Cleveland some solace as Nolan Jones has flashed some of his potential for the Rockies. There are some questions about Brito’s defense, but his performance as a 21-year-old switch-hitter at Double-A leaves plenty of reasons for optimism about his future in the team’s major-league lineup in the near future.

2023 stats: 131 wRC+ 14.9/13 K/BB% (A+), 121 wRC+, 18.9/13.3 K/BB (AA)

Runners up: Andrés Giménez (MLB), Juan Benjamin (A), Nate Furman (A+/AA)

Third base: José Ramírez

Not only has Ramírez rebounded from a slow start at the plate, but he’s also played gold glove-level defense at third base and remains the smartest baserunner in baseball. He’s a gift, folks. Appreciate him.

2023 stats: 132 wRC+, 9.9/10.9 K/BB (MLB)

Runners up: Daniel Schneemann (AAA), Dayan Frias (A+)

Shortstop: Tyler Freeman

I played a little fast and loose with Tyler Freeman’s positional qualifications for this award, but since short is his natural position, I think it works. One thing about Freeman is this kid can hit. He doesn’t have the launch angle to hit a lot of homers so far and hasn’t had a barrel in the bigs yet this season, but he does have a 41.1% hard-hit rate which is fourth on the team. He’s also been average to above average at short, second, and third on defense.

2023 stats: 140 wRC+, 13.8/12.8 K/BB% (AAA), 111 wRC+, 15.3/5.6 K/BB% (MLB)

Runners up: Brayan Rocchio (AAA/MLB), Christian Cairo (A+)

Outfield: Chase DeLauter

Sure, it’s a small sample size, but let’s celebrate some signs of life and power from the outfield position in the Guardians 2022 first-round draft pick’s brief time at High-A. Let’s also hope Chase DeLauter’s next stop in Akron comes soon and that foot stays strong as he continues to demonstrate he’s recovered from the surgery that delayed his debut.

2023 stats: 251 wRC+, 12.5/0 K/BB% (A+)

Outfield: Johnathan Rodriguez

It would seem to be about time to get Johnathan Rodriguez up to Columbus in his 23-year-old season to see if he can translate his hit tool and power there, but he had a good first half of the season in Double-A. In an organization desperate for right-handed pop, there’s still a chance he could supply it in the majors, perhaps in a platoon role.

2023 stats: 130 wRC+, 27.5/9.4 K/BB% (AA)

Outfield: Angel Zarate

Another hit-tool first player for the Guardians, Angel Zarate is old for his level at 23, but he’s performed well enough to earn the nod at this position. I don’t think it makes much sense to bet on the left-handed hitter making the Guardians right now, but hopefully, he gets a chance to show what he can do at Lake County in the second half.

2023 stats: 142 wRC+, 17.1/14 K/BB% (A)

Runners up: Korey Holland (AA), Will Brennan (MLB), Steven Kwan (MLB), Petey Halpin (AA), Joe Lampe (AA).

Designated hitter: Zack Collins

Yes, Zack Collins looks like a Quad-A player whom you don’t want behind the plate as a catcher, but those offensive numbers have made Cleveland fans long to give him a shot on the major league roster at times. He sits in the middle of that Clippers lineup as catcher or DH and gives them timely hits and even homers many times, and for that, I appreciate him and give him the nod as my DH choice.

2023 stats: 121 wRC+, 27.1/14.1 K/BB% (AAA)

Utility: David Fry

Probably the biggest pleasant surprise for the Guardians, David Fry has looked competent at catcher, first base, third base, and in the corner outfield spots while offering a league-average hitting performance and lefty-mashing. I’m hoping he gets a chance to take the backup catcher spot from Cam Gallagher at some point soon.

2023 stats: 121 wRC+, 18.1/9.5 K/BB% (AAA), 97, 29.4/5.9 K/BB% (MLB)

Runner up: I just wanted to reiterate the great season Daniel Schneemann is having for Columbus. Hope he gets a shot as a utility infielder in the bigs sometime soon.

Starting pitcher: Triston McKenzie

We only saw Dr. Sticks for two brief appointments but it was enough to remind us how elite of a pitcher he is. Here’s to a miracle in which he avoids Tommy John and helps the team down the stretch in September, and a speedy recovery regardless of the treatment plans for his injured elbow.

2023 stats: 2.78 FIP, 13.5/3.6 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Starting pitcher: Will Dion

With a fastball that tops out at 90 mph, Will Dion continues to befuddle minor-league hitters as a soft-tossing lefty with the Kershaw delivery. I’m rooting for him to get a chance to show he can do it at the Triple-A level before the year is out.

2023 stats: 2.48 FIP, 10.96/2.67 K/BB/9 (A+), 2.73 FIP, 9.68/2.35 K/BB% at (AA)

Starting pitcher: Aaron Civale

I’m anxiously awaiting the 9 K/9 Aaron Civale of 2022 to return but enjoying his effectiveness nonetheless. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and anchor the Guardians’ rotation for the rest of 2023.

2023 stats: 3.62 FIP, 7.52/2.73 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Starting pitcher: Tanner Bibee

The best of Cleveland’s top pitching prospects to debut in 2023, Tanner Bibee just needs to harness his fastball control a little more to really set the league on fire and I believe in his potential to do just that in the second half.

2023 stats: 3.65 FIP, 9.13/3.47 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Starting pitcher: Logan Allen

Innings limits and some control issues sent Logan Allen back down to Columbus, but make no mistake — he has shown he can consistently get major league hitters out and we will see him in Cleveland again before too long.

2023 stats: 3.71 FIP, 9.1/3.47 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Runners up: Gavin Williams (AAA/MLB), Shane Bieber (MLB), Parker Messick (A+/AA), Joey Cantillo (AA/AAA), Zach Jacobs (A).

Bullpen: Cody Morris

Dealing with injuries and roster flux, Morris looked incredible in the two-inning stint he got in Cleveland. Small sample size be darned, he’s making the list.

2023 stats: 0.28 FIP, 13.5/0 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Bullpen: Emmanuel Clase

Emmanuel Clase had some hiccups, but he’s still elite.

2023 stats: 2.95 FIP, 8.05/2.52 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Bullpen: Eli Morgan,

Eli Morgan has been a bullpen savior in Cleveland.

2023 stats: 3.44 FIP, 9/2.37 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Bullpen: Enyel De Los Santos

Enyel De Los Santos has also been clutch; I would love to see him rack up some more K’s in the second half as he gets more eighth and ninth-inning opportunities.

2023 stats: 3.69 FIP, 7.68/3.47 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Bullpen: Magnus Ellerts

The 22-year-old right-hander has been eating up hitters and hopefully, we’ll see him in Akron before too long. He also has an 80-grade name.

2023 stats: 1.56 FIP, 14.05/1.48 K/BB/9 (A), 3.14 FIP, 13.5/1.5 (A+)

Bullpen: Nick Sandlin

Nick Sandlin seems to have his walk issues under control and is providing excellent middle-inning value for the Guardians.

2023 stats: 3.78 FIP, 9/2.91 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Bullpen: Sam Hentges

I would like to see Sam Hentges’ walk numbers come down a little bit, but he has been a reliable late-inning option capable of giving the Guardians multiple innings on several needed occasions.

2023 stats: 3.79 FIP, 8.49/3.86 K/BB/9 (MLB)

Bullpen: Tim Herrin

You might not realize how unlucky Herrin has been in a couple of outings. A fastball that can reach 99 and a devastating sweeper makes him an option I hope sticks in the big league pen for a while.

2023 stats: 3.89 FIP, 10.55/2.53 K/BB/9. (MLB)

Runners up: Cade Smith (AA/AAA), Davis Sharpe (AA), Xzavion Curry (MLB), David Fry (MLB), Tyler Thornton (A+), Randy Labaut (AA), Michael Kelly (AAA/MLB)