It’s prospect season, and many publications are releasing their lists.
The Cleveland Guardians have several prospects and future stars on their minor league rosters.
One of the most prominent, and one who should have a chance to make his MLB debut in 2024, is Kyle Manzardo.
Recognizing their need for potent hitters and using their pitching depth as an advantage, the Guardians dealt Aaron Civale to the Tampa Bay Rays last year around the deadline.
In return, they got Manzardo, an advanced bat-first prospect who plays first base.
Manzardo spent the whole 2023 campaign in Triple-A: first with the Rays and then with the Guardians.
He hit 17 home runs between the two teams, and slashed a beautiful .256/.348/.590 in 21 games with Columbus.
MLB Pipeline, specialists on prospects, have Manzardo very high on their first baseman prospects list, per Bally Sports Cleveland.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) January 19, 2024
The slugger is ranked second among first basemen by MLB Pipeline, behind only Xavier Isaac of the Rays.
Scouts believe that once he gets his feet wet in MLB, Manzardo can settle as a .280 hitter with 20-homer power and the ability to take walks and control the zone.
He rarely strikes out, so he is not as vulnerable as the average modern slugger.
Manzardo has a great feel for the barrel and makes plenty of contact.
He could be a very nice addition to the Guardians lineup, a unit in need of all the talent it can handle.
There is a chance he opens the season in the minor leagues if Cleveland wants to earn an extra year of control, though.
That’s likely to be the case.
In any case, we should see Manzardo in the middle of the Guardians lineup sooner than later.