For the first time since joining the Guardians' organization, Kyle Manzardo got a chance to show off the impactful power that's been part of his calling card in the Minors.
Manzardo's 12th homer of the season (11 of which came in the Rays' organization) traveled a projected 409 feet to deep right field at 107.6 mph off the bat and rounded out a quartet of Clippers long balls, joining top prospect Brayan Rocchio, No. 5 George Valera and No. 28 Jhonkensy Noel as Columbus enjoyed a booming display of power.
Acquired by the Guardians when they sent right-handed starter Aaron Civale to the Rays at the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline, Manzardo was viewed as someone who could one day bring some thump to a typically light-hitting Cleveland lineup. The 23-year-old first baseman established a solid track record in 2022 -- his first full professional season -- slashing .327/.426/.617 in 93 games between High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery.
Manzardo's numbers have taken an overall dip in 2023 -- he slashed .238/.342/.442 in 73 games with Triple-A Durham -- in part because the left-handed-hitting slugger has been exposed to more left-handed pitching than in previous years. Entering Friday, Manzardo had an .861 OPS against righties compared with .551 against lefties.
Naturally, Manzardo's first homer with Columbus came against a left-hander.
With two outs in the sixth inning on Friday night, RailRiders reliever Anthony Misiewicz threw Manzardo a four-seamer that appeared to be right in his wheelhouse. Once Manzardo crushed it out to right field and rounded the bases with the Huntington Park lights strobing behind him, it marked just his second home run against a lefty this season.
Manzardo finished 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs. He's slashing .286/.373/.500 through 11 games with Columbus.