There is a lot for Guardians fans to get excited about on Baseball America’s list of the top 100 prospects for 2023. To put it in perspective, only the Orioles (with 8) have more players on the list than the Guardians (with 7).
Major League Baseball’s annual ranking of the best young players
You can see how they stack up below:
No. 19: Daniel Espino
No. 20: Gavin Williams
No. 68: Bo Naylor
No. 72: George Valera
No. 77: Brayan Rocchio
No. 85: Logan Allen
No. 86: Tanner Bibee
Since the scouting reports are only accessible to subscribers, I won’t be able to reveal too much about them, but it’s clear that Cleveland is still on top in the eyes of Baseball America.
Even though he missed most of last season due to various injuries, Daniel Espino still managed to drop only three spots to third on the Guardians’ list of prospects this year, behind Gavin Williams. Williams jumped from position 34 all the way up to position 20.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Espino in the top 10, if not the top five of next year’s list, if he can put together one full healthy season. Williams’ pitches have been hailed as “some of the best pure stuff in the minors.”
Tanner Bibee, a rookie pitcher, made the top 100 at No. 86 after he experienced the much-touted increase in velocity that had been predicted for him. Using the Guardians, he has been able to increase his fastball velocity by as much as six miles per hour “without hindering his above-average control,” as noted by Baseball America.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the falls of Valera (No. 42 last year) and Rocchio (No. 69 last year).
It’s all just shuffling massive amounts of talent in the dark after the first handful of prospects, even the most hardline prospect evaluators will tell you; just making the top 100 is a sign of promise.
Keep in mind that both Valera and Rocchio were exceptionally young for their leagues, finishing the year at Triple-A despite turning 22 only recently. Eventually, Valera’s high number of strikeouts could be a problem, but the 2022 season ended too quickly for either of them to adjust to Triple-A pitching. We can discuss how worried we should be if they continue to struggle in 2023 and still don’t make the big leagues. At the very least, they are both considered starters by the baseball establishment.
And here’s something else to consider: Logan T. Allen is the only pitcher on this list whose fastball doesn’t get up to the mid-90s.
Looking at the list, Id have to guess that pitcher is Logan Allen? https://t.co/lj80TkRPJP
— Justin L. (@JL_Baseball) January 18, 2023
Angel Martinez, who just made the cut last year at No. 99 (so maybe it’s not that surprising), is absent this time around. Despite a season-long slash line of.288/.384/.477 in High-A and.244/.356/.451 in Double-A as a 20-year-old, he was not promoted. With the current vote total, he is expected to surpass Allen and become the No. 8 prospect in our community.