Here are the Guardians' 2023 Top 30 prospects
After the Guardians' streak of eight consecutive winning seasons came to an end with an 80-82 finish in 2021, they wasted no time starting another. They took the American League Central with 92 victories last season, setting a record for an AL or National League division or league champion by having 17 rookies make their big league debuts. They also became the first team to win a division title with the youngest club in MLB since the 1986 Mets.
The influx of young talent, highlighted by Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez plugging long-standing holes in the outfield, helped Cleveland overcome the fourth-lowest payroll ($91.6 million) in baseball. And a farm system tied for the second-most players on our 2023 Top 100 Prospects list with seven isn't about to stop.
The 2023 edition of the Guardians may not feature as many debuts as the 2022 club, but it could have several rookies playing key roles. Bo Naylor is pushing for the catching job, Will Brennan or Gabriel Arias could get regular playing time, and outfielder George Valera and infielder Brayan Rocchio also are knocking on the door.
While Cleveland's rotation seems fairly set, its four best pitching prospects -- Daniel Espino, Gavin Williams, Tanner Bibee and Logan Allen -- are close to big league ready, as is Cody Morris. Espino's health is in question, however, as he's currently shut down with shoulder issues.
Here's a look at the Guardians' top prospects:
1. Daniel Espino, RHP (MLB No. 16)
2. Gavin Williams, RHP (MLB No. 42)
3. George Valera, OF (MLB No. 51)
4. Bo Naylor, C (MLB No. 64)
5. Tanner Bibee, RHP (MLB No. 65)
Complete Top 30 list »
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2022 preseason list to the 2023 preseason list:
Jump: Tanner Bibee, RHP (2022: NR | 2023: 5)
Bibee's fastball and slider gained 3-4 mph during his pro debut, becoming plus offerings to go with his already advanced feel for pitching.
Fall: Bryan Lavastida, C (2022: 12 | 2023: NR)
Lavastida made Cleveland's Opening Day roster but things went downhill from there, with a hamstring strain and a regression in plate discipline contributing to his worst year as a pro.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 55 -- Will Brennan (Justin Boyd, Juan Brito, Jaison Chourio, Chase DeLauter, Jake Fox, Angel Genao, Petey Halpin, Angel Martinez, Brayan Rocchio)
Power: 60 -- Jhonkensy Noel (Chase DeLauter, George Valera)
Run: 60 -- Jake Fox (Wuilfredo Antunez, Justin Boyd, Petey Halpin)
Arm: 70 -- Gabriel Arias
Defense: 60 -- Gabriel Arias (Brayan Rocchio, Milan Tolentino)
Fastball: 80 -- Daniel Espino
Curveball: 55 -- Gavin Williams (Justin Campbell, Daniel Espino, Doug Nikhazy)
Slider: 70 -- Daniel Espino
Changeup: 60 -- Logan Allen (Joey Cantillo, Justin Campbell, Hunter Gaddis, Parker Messick, Cody Morris)
Control: 60 -- Tanner Bibee (Parker Messick)
How they were built
Draft: 18 | International: 8 | Trade: 4
Breakdown by ETA
2023: 15 | 2024: 5 | 2025: 6 | 2026: 3 | 2027: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 2B: 1 | SS: 6 | OF: 9 | RHP: 9 | LHP: 4