George Valera, the second-ranked Guardians prospect, launched a pair of home runs in Triple-A Columbus' 9-6 victory over Buffalo on Thursday at Sahlen Field. The two solo shots give him four in his first 13 Triple-A games since being promoted from Double-A Akron on Aug. 8. He has also laced three doubles.
The 21-year-old outfielder belted his first homer of the contest in the second inning off Buffalo starter Casey Lawrence, and then blasted his other in the seventh off reliever Kyle Johnston. He also added a single for good measure in the eighth. His three-hit performance on the day raised his average from .227 to .271 since joining Columbus.
Valera, who was born in Queens, N.Y., but moved to the Dominican Republic when he was 13, was signed in 2017, and he continues his rapid rise through the Guardians' Minor League ranks. Despite being limited to only 58 professional games heading into 2021 due to injuries and the loss of the 2020 Minor League season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he's proven why Cleveland has been so high on his talent.
Valera posted a .910 OPS with 19 home runs and 11 steals in 86 games between High-A Lake County and Double-A Akron last season, and in 90 games with Akron this year, he had an .837 OPS with 15 homers.
If past is prologue in Valera's case, we may be seeing him at Progressive Field sooner rather than later.