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Daniel Espino is our No. 4 Guardians prospect. Who should be No. 5?

Espino possesses one of the filthiest arms in all of baseball. But can he stay on the field?

Cleveland Guardians Photo Day Photo by Cleveland Guardians/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Flamethrowing right-hander Daniel Espino is our No. 4 prospect, earning 51% of the vote on Saturday and beating out Juan Brito, who had 29%, by over 60 votes.

Like overall No. 1 pick Chase DeLauter, Espino was a first round draft pick by the Guardians back in 2019 when the then-Indians selected him from Georgia Premier Academy with the No. 24 pick overall.

Espino impressed in his professional debut in 2019, then got a year off due to the lost MiLB season from the COVID pandemic. In 2020, he split time between Single-A and High-A, improving his numbers after his promotion.

In the leadup to the 2022 season, Espino’s hype started to skyrocket and he became a top 10 overall prospect in MLB. He blew away Major League hitters in Spring Training, then dominated Double-A to the tune of a disgusting 51.5% strikeout rate.

But then the injuries began.

It started with some knee soreness, and while rehabbing the knee, he sustained a compensation injury to his shoulder, causing him to miss the final four months of the 2022 season.

Many hoped the injuries would heal on their own, but Espino instead required anterior capsule repair surgery on his shoulder in May 2023.

Espino was added to the Guardians’ 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft in November and had the opportunity to meet fans at GuardsFest. When speaking at the event, he said he hopes to be back on the mound by March or April. The recovery time of his surgery typically is 12-14 months, so he could be ahead of schedule.

If healthy, he’ll possibly have a chance to once again try to be a starter, or he could instead become a devastating bullpen weapon if he can’t be stretched out.

Juan Brito, SS (Age 22)

2023 (AAA w/ TB) 313 PA, .238/.342/.442, 11 HR, 1 SB, 13.4 BB%, 20.8 K%, 95 wRC+

2023 (A+): 161 PA, .265/.379/.424, 4 HR, 3 SB, 14.9 BB%, 13.0 K%, 129 wRC+
2023 (AA): 374 PA, .276/.373/.444, 10 HR, 3 SB, 12.8 BB%, 16.8 K%, 125 wRC+
2023 (AAA): 20 PA, .214/.450/.286, 6 HR, 1 SB, 30.0 BB% 20.0 K%, 115 wRC+

Acquired from Colorado in the Nolan Jones trade, Brito led Spring Training in walks, then proceeded to soar through three levels of Cleveland’s MiLB system in 2023.

Joey Cantillo, LHP (Age 24)

2023 (AA): 24.1 IP, 6 GS, 36.1 K%, 14.4 BB%, 1.85 ERA, 3.50 FIP
2023 (AAA): 195.0 IP, 20 GS, 26.1 K%, 12.9 BB%, 4.64 ERA, 5.29 FIP

Has transformed himself from crafty soft-tosser to flamethrowing southpaw. Had his first healthy season with Cleveland in 2023 and made the Futures Game.

Jaison Chourio, OF (Age 18)

2023 (CPX): 189 PA, .349/.476/.463, 1 HR, 19 SB, 20.1 BB%, 19.6 K%, 147 wRC+
2023 (A): 42 PA, .200/.310/.229, 0 HR, 1 SB, 14.3 BB%, 35.7 K%, 65 wRC+

Younger brother of top 3 overall prospect Jaxon, has showcased elite eye, speed and contact as he advanced to full season in his age-18 season.

Alex Clemmey, LHP (Age 18)

2023: Second round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Standing 6-foot-6 with a 99 mph fastball and a filthy curveball, Clemmey had one of the most electric arms of all high school prep prospects for 2023, but lacks command.

Welbyn Francisca, SS (Age 17)

2023 (DSL): 179 PA, .316/.419/.500, 3 HR, 11 SB, 13.4 BB%, 19.6 K%, 144 wRC+

The top-rated international signing by Cleveland in 2022, Francisca impressed in his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League.

George Valera, OF (Age 23)

2023 (AAA): 312 PA, .211/.343/.375, 10 HR, 1 SB, 16.0 BB%, 27.2 K%, 84 wRC+

A sky-high ceiling only limited by injuries and sometimes failing to get out of his own way. Barring another huge injury or suspension, will debut with Cleveland this season.

Ralphy Velasquez, C (Age 18)

2023 (CPX): 28 PA, .348/.393/.739, 2 HR, 1 SB, 10.7 BB%, 17.9 K%, 151 wRC+

Cleveland’s No. 1 draft pick in 2023. Velasquez has strong hit and power tools and showcased them in a limited sample size at the complex league.


Who should be the No. 5 Cleveland Guardians prospect?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Juan Brito
    (171 votes)
  • 9%
    Joey Cantillo
    (28 votes)
  • 2%
    Jaison Chourio
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Alex Clemmey
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Welbyn Francisca
    (6 votes)
  • 19%
    George Valera
    (54 votes)
  • 3%
    Ralphy Velasquez
    (10 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now