Where the Guardians' Top 30 prospects are starting the season

April 2nd, 2024

With the Minor League season opening this week, here's where the Guardians' Top 30 Prospects are projected to start:

1. Chase DeLauter (MLB No. 30), OF -- Akron (Double-A)
2. Kyle Manzardo (MLB No. 56), 1B -- Columbus (Triple-A)
3. Brayan Rocchio (MLB No. 88), SS/2B -- Cleveland (MLB)
4. Daniel Espino, RHP -- Columbus (Triple-A) -- injured list (shoulder surgery)
5. Ralphy Velazquez, C/1B -- Lynchburg (Single-A)
6. Jaison Chourio, OF -- Lynchburg (Single-A)
7. Juan Brito, INF -- Columbus (Triple-A)
8. George Valera, OF -- Columbus (Triple-A) -- injured list (hamstring)
9. Alex Clemmey, LHP -- Lynchburg (Single-A)
10. Angel Martínez, INF -- Cleveland (MLB) -- injured list (foot)
11. Joey Cantillo, LHP -- Columbus (Triple-A) -- injured list (hamstring)
12. Angel Genao, SS/3B -- Lynchburg (Single-A)
13. Welbyn Francisca, SS -- Extended spring training
14. Jackson Humphries, LHP -- Lynchburg (Single-A)
15. Kahlil Watson, SS/2B -- Akron (Double-A)
16. Petey Halpin, OF -- Akron (Double-A)
17. Johnathan Rodriguez, OF -- Columbus (Triple-A)
18. Robert Arias, OF -- Dominican Republic complex
19. Jake Fox, OF -- Lake County (High-A)
20. Jose Devers, SS/3B -- Lake County (High-A)
21. Alex Mooney, SS -- Lake County (High-A)
22. Parker Messick, LHP -- Lake County (High-A)
23. José Tena, SS -- Columbus (Triple-A)
24. Rafael Ramirez Jr., SS -- Lynchburg (Single-A)
25. Cade Smith, RHP -- Cleveland (MLB)
26. Andrew Walters, RHP -- Akron (Double-A)
27. Will Dion, LHP -- Columbus (Triple-A)
28. Jhonkensy Noel, OF/1B/3B -- Columbus (Triple-A)
29. Franco Aleman, RHP -- Columbus (Triple-A)
30. Dayan Frias, 3B -- Akron (Double-A)

Team to watch
Single-A Lynchburg includes not only the Guardians' first two choices in the 2023 Draft -- catcher/first baseman Ralphy Velazquez and left-hander Alex Clemmey -- but also one of the system's most gifted hitters in outfielder Jaison Chourio (Jackson's younger brother). Infielders Angel Genao and Rafael Ramirez Jr. and lefty Jackson Humphries are three more interesting youngsters on the Hillcats.

Teams on MLB.TV and MiLB.TV
Columbus Clippers (Triple-A)
Akron RubberDucks (Double-A)
Lake County Captains (High-A)
Lynchburg Hillcats (Single-A)

Players we could see in MLB in 2024
Kyle Manzardo -- one of the game's top first-base prospects -- made a run at a big league job in Spring Training and could get an early callup if Cleveland looks for more thump. The Guardians also have a pair of infielders on standby at Triple-A Columbus (Juan Brito and José Tena), two more sluggers (outfielders Johnathan Rodriguez and Jhonkensy Noel), a pitchability starter (left-hander Will Dion) and a power reliever (right-hander Franco Aleman). Outfielder George Valera, infielder Angel Martinez and lefty Joey Cantillo are three more Clippers to watch, though all three began the season on the injured list.

New faces
Clemmey (second round) and right-hander Andrew Walters (supplemental second), the top two pitchers the Guardians drafted last July, will make their pro debuts in April. A reliever who could move quickly, Walters will open in Double-A. Outfielder Robert Arias, an advanced hitter who signed for $1.9 million out of the Dominican Republic in January, will begin his career in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.

On the shelf
Right-hander Daniel Espino's pure stuff rivals that of any pitching prospect, but he hasn't pitched in a game since May 2022 and will miss all of this season following two shoulder surgeries in 10 months. Valera and Cantillo both injured hamstrings during Spring Training, which could sideline Valera for most of April and Cantillo until June. Martínez is on Cleveland's IL with a bruised right foot sustained during the spring, and he'll head to Triple-A later this month once healthy.