Guardians Announce Series Of 40-man Roster Moves
CLEVELAND, OH - The Cleveland Guardians today announced several transactions relative to the club’s 40-man roster, adding 11 players to the club’s offseason roster:
Selected the contracts of OF STEVEN KWAN, RHP CODY MORRIS and INF RICHIE PALACIOS from Triple-A Columbus.
Selected the contracts of INF TYLER FREEMAN, C BRYAN LAVASTIDA, LHP KONNOR PILKINGTON, INF BRAYAN ROCCHIO, INF JOSÉ TENA and OF GEORGE VALERA from Double-A Akron.
Selected the contract of INF JHONKENSY NOEL from High-A Lake County.
Acquired RHP TOBIAS MYERS from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for INF JUNIOR CAMINERO. Selected Myers to the 40-man roster.
Designated RHP JUSTIN GARZA, OF DANIEL JOHNSON, RHP J.C. MEJIA, LHP SCOTT MOSS, LHP KYLE NELSON, OF HAROLD RAMIREZ and LHP ALEX YOUNG for assignment.
40-man roster is now at 40 players.
INF Tyler Freeman (22, 5/21/99)
Batted .323 (53-for-164) at AA Akron in 2021 with 14 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR and 19 RBI in 41 games (.470/.372/.842) before undergoing season-ending left shoulder surgery (torn labrum) on August 9. At the time of his first IL placement (June 24), he ranked fourth in the Double-A Northeast in average (.327) and hits (48) and was eventually shutdown on July 26. The Rancho Cucamonga, CA native was an organizational all-star in 2018 and 2019 after being selected by the club with the 71st overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft (Competitive Balance Rd. B). He is currently the club’s top-rated prospect according to MLB Pipeline (59th in MLB; MLB.com).
OF Steven Kwan (24, 9/5/97)
Batted a combined .328 (97-for-296) for the year between AA Akron and AAA Columbus (15 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 44 RBI), striking out only 31 times in 341 plate appearances, on his way to organizational all-star status (MILB.com). His 65 runs scored were eighth most in the Cleveland Minor League system despite missing seven weeks with a right hamstring strain (May 7-June 24). Reached base safely in 20 straight games (8/14-9/7) and hit in 12 straight (8/25-9/7) between the two levels (promoted to AAA on Aug. 30). Was the club’s fifth round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Oregon State, where he helped lead the Beavers to the 2018 College World Series title.
C Bryan Lavastida (23, 11/27/98)
The 2021 organizational all-star made the jump from High-A to Triple-A, starting the year in High-A Lake County and spending time at Double-A and Triple A, batting a combined .289 (83-for-287) with an .836 OPS in 84 games. At the time of his promotion to AA Akron on July 30, his .303 average was third in the High-A Central (min. 175 PA). Reached base in 22 straight games, June 24-July 23. Went 6-for-12 in three games for Akron in the postseason for the Double-A Northeast champs (3 runs, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI). The Hialeah, FL native was the club’s 18th round pick (463rd overall) in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Hillsborough Community College (Tampa). Currently ranked as the 13th-highest prospect in the Cleveland system by MLB Pipeline (MLB.com).
RHP Cody Morris (25, 11/4/96)
Posted a breakout season between AA Akron and AAA Columbus in just his second professional season, going a combined 2-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 15 games/14 starts (61.0IP, 41H, 11ER, 20BB, 93SO, .189 AVG). Averaged 13.72 SO per 9.0 IP for the year and 6.0 hits/9 IP while posting a season WHIP of 1.00. Season was delayed to due to a right shoulder strain (offseason injury) and as he began a rehab assignment with the ACL club on June 28 and was activated at Akron on July 6. Promoted to AAA Columbus on Aug. 3. The Laurel, MD native was the club’s seventh round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of the University of South Carolina.
RHP Tobias Myers (23, 8/5/98)
The Winter Haven, FL native split the 2021 season between AA Montgomery and AAA Durham, going a combined 8-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 25 games/22 starts (117.2IP, 101H, 51ER, 28BB, 146SO). He earned two league pitcher of the week awards during the campaign and led Tampa Bay farmhands in strikeouts and innings. He is currently rated #29 among the top 30 prospects in the TB system according to MLB Pipeline (MLB.com). He was originally Baltimore’s sixth round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Winter Haven High School and was traded to the Rays in July 2017 for INF Tim Beckham. He owns a career Minor League ERA of 3.41 across 84 games/72 starts (385.0IP, 356H, 146ER, 383SO) since his 2016 draft selection.
INF Jhonkensy Noel (21, 7/15/01; \john-ken-z\)
Had a tremendous year, hitting a combined .340 (90-for-265) with 14 2B, 1 3B, 19 homers and 66 RBI in 70 games between Low-A Lynchburg and High-A Lake County (.390/.615/1.005). Would have led organization in all of the ratio stats with the requisite number of plate appearances and finished second in the system in homers (19) and RBI (66) despite missing almost two months due to injuries (hand/ankle). Combined .340 average would have been third highest among all 2021 Minor Leaguers while his .615 slugging pct. and 1.005 OPS would have placed fourth. Limited to just two games over a 57-day span at Lynchburg with a bruised hand (HBP, 5/24-6/3) and left ankle sprain (6/6-7/19). At this time of his original hand injury (May 23) he was tied for first in the Low-A East League in HR (5), leading in slugging (.672), second in RBI (21) and fourth in OPS (1.052). Promoted to High-A Lake County on August 15, spending the rest of the year with the Captains. Noel was acquired as an amateur international free agent in July 2017.
INF Richie Palacios (24, 5/16/97)
The 2021 organizational all-star enjoyed a breakout campaign in his first taste of game action since his 2018 draft year, missing all of 2019 due to right shoulder surgery following by the 2020 canceled season. Batted a combined .297 (106-for-357) with 33 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR and 48 RBI in 103 games between AA Akron and AAA Columbus. Led the Cleveland system in average (.297) and doubles (33) and was T2nd in runs (72), 3rd in steals (20) and fourth in walks (58) and extra-base hits (44). His 33 doubles were T12th in Minor League Baseball. He is currently batting .263 (20-for-76) with 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR and 11 RBI in 19 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions (.871 OPS, 16 RS, 4 SB) in the Arizona Fall League. The Brooklyn, NY native was the clubs’ third round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Towson Univ. He is currently rated as the 14th-best prosect in the Cleveland system by MLB Pipeline (MLB.com; entered 2021 unranked).
LHP Konnor Pilkington (24, 9/12/97)
Acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline (July 29) for 2B César Hernández, was impressive over 8 outings at AA Akron to wrap up the season. His ERA (2.33) was the third-lowest in the Double-A Northeast and 49 strikeouts, fourth-best, from Aug. 4-end of season. Combined on the year, he went 7-6 with a 3.04 ERA in 22 games/21 starts (100.2IP, 61H, 34ER, 39BB, 120SO) for Akron and Double-A Birmingham. Limited hitters to a .178 average against on the year and posted a K/9 of 10.7. Prior to the trade had spent summer at Birmingham, posting a mark of 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts (62.0IP, 36H, 24ER, 21BB, 71SO). At the time of the trade, he sported the lowest average against (.173) and WHIP (0.92) in the Double-A South League while ranking sixth in ERA and tied for eighth in strikeouts. Entered the campaign 17th among Chicago’s top prospects (Baseball America). Made one start in the AA Northeast finals (5.0IP, 1H, 2R/0ER, 4BB, 9SO). Owns a career Minor League ERA of 3.84 (104ER/243.2IP) after being selected in the third round (81st overall) in the 2018 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State.
INF Brayan Rocchio (20, 1/13/01; \brian\ \roak-E-O\)
The 2021 organizational all-star split the year between High-A Lake County and Double-A Akron, leading the organization in runs scored (79) in 2021. Combined on the year he batted .277 (122-for-441) with 26 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 63 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Also finished second in the system in extra base hits (46), total bases (203) and steals, third in hits (122) and fourth in doubles (26) and RBI (63). At 20 years of age, was nearly 4 years younger (3.9) than the Double-A Northeast average. Following his July 30 promotion to Akron, the Caracas, VZ native led the Double-A Northeast in hits (54), extra base hits (23), TB (93) and runs (34) and was named Double-A Northeast Player of the Week, Sept. 6-12. Rocchio was acquired as an amateur international free agent in July 2017. He is currently batting .391/.440/.594/1.034 (27-for-69, 17 games) in the Venezuelan winter league (LVBP). He is currently rated as the 7th-best prosect in the Cleveland system by MLB Pipeline (MLB.com).
INF José Tena (20, 3/20/01)
Made the jump from rookie ball in 2019 to High-A in 2021, spending the entire season at High-A Lake County. For the year, he batted .281 (116-for-413) with 58 runs, 25 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR and 58 RBI in 107 games. At 20 years of age, the Azua, DR native was 2.4 years under the league average age of 22.4. Led the Captains in virtually every offensive category, finishing fourth in the Cleveland system in hits (116) and total bases (193) and tied for fifth in homers (16). Among High-A Central leaders, he was tied for second in hits, tied for third in doubles (25), fourth in total bases and fifth in extra base hits (43). Following the season, he was named a Minor League Rawlings Gold Glove recipient (SS). Has continued his breakout year in the Arizona Fall League, batting .387 (24-for-62) with 6 2B, 1 3B and 9 RBI in 17 games presently for the Scottsdale Scorpions (.983 OPS, 16 RS). Tena was acquired as an amateur international free agent in July 2017.
OF George Valera (21, 11/13/00)
The 2021 organizational all-star split the year between High-A Lake County and Double-A Akron, finishing tied for second in the Cleveland Minor League season in homers (19) and walks (2nd, 66) and third in RBI (65). For the year, he batted .260 (74-for-285) with 5 2B, 4 3B, 19 HR and 65 RBI despite missing nearly a month (5/13-6/7) with a right oblique strain. At the time of his Aug. 23 promotion to Akron, he was tied for fifth in the High-A Central in homers (16) and third in walks (55). After hitting just 2 homers over his first 26 games (thru July 8), clubbed 14 homers over his final 37 games with the Captains. Went 6-for-13 (.462) over the three postseason games for the RubberDucks, helping lead them to the Double-A Northeast title (2 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI). Defensively, he appeared in 48 games in right field, 17 in left field and 16 in CF at LC and Akron. At 20 years of age, was nearly 4 years younger (Double-A level; 3.9). The San Pedro De Macoris, DR native is currently rated as the 2nd-best prosect in the Cleveland system by MLB Pipeline (63rd-overall in MLB; MLB.com). Was acquired as an amateur international free agent in July 2017.