The Cleveland Guardians have a lot of prospects they had to protect on their 40-man roster to avoid losing them.
Lots of young pitchers and infielders currently in the minors are members of the 40-man roster.
Unfortunately, those roster spots are at a premium, and teams often have to risk losing good players because of it.
This almost happened to the Guardians over the offseason with a player who is currently performing very well in the majors: outfielder Oscar Gonzalez.
The 24-year-old is hitting .333/.363/.500 with a couple of home runs in 102 plate appearances so far.
However, if there had been a Rule 5 Draft, he could very well be with another organization at this point.
“Reminder Oscar Gonzalez was left unprotected after the 2021 season and decided to re-sign with the #Guardians on a minor league contract for the 2022 season. Could have been selected in the Rule 5 draft but it was canceled this year due to the strike (lockout),” Guardians Prospective tweeted.
Reminder Oscar Gonzalez was left unprotected after the 2021 season and decided to re-sign with the #Guardians on a minor league contract for the 2022 season. Could have been selected in the Rule 5 draft but it was canceled this year due to the strike.#ForTheLand
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) June 23, 2022
Gonzalez Believed There Was A Path Towards Playing Time In Cleveland, And He Was Right
Gonzalez was, for a time, free to sign with any team, but opted to stay in the organization knowing he could win at-bats with his performance.
He has done just that.
As you probably can imagine, someone who hits 31 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A will attract a lot of interest around the league.
But he chose to stay, and proceeded to hit nine home runs in Triple-A before earning a shot.
He probably won’t bat .333 all year, but is capable of hitting around .280 and it’s obvious he has 30-homer power.
He has earned his playing time with the Guardians: it will be up to him to keep it.