The Cleveland Guardians decided to trade longtime starter Aaron Civale this season, prior to the deadline.
The return he fetched could have serious long-term implications for the franchise: first baseman Kyle Manzardo is extremely talented and could provide some much-needed left-handed power to the lineup.
Now, Manzardo is probably close to MLB-ready, but a shoulder injury put his debut on hold and delayed his return to Triple-A Columbus.
He returned soon enough to play 21 games with Columbus, in which he showed his power stroke with six homers and a .590 slugging percentage.
To make up for the time lost, the Guardians have Manzardo playing in the Arizona Fall League, and the results have been satisfactory.
He appears to be over his shoulder injury: we would think a person with a damaged shoulder would have a hard time hitting a ball 460 feet.
“The longest measured HR of the @MLBazFallLeague so far belongs to Kyle Manzardo! The No. 2 @CleGuardians prospect launches his third dinger 460 feet,” MLB Pipeline tweeted.
The longest measured HR of the @MLBazFallLeague so far belongs to Kyle Manzardo!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 12, 2023
It was a truly majestic blast by a very talented hitter.
Manzardo has a clear chance to win a spot on the Guardians’ roster and in the long-term plans with a strong Fall League performance and spring training.
In 2023 as a whole, he hit 17 home runs in 97 games, and he is capable of much more than that.
For example, he had 22 last year, in fewer games.
He could be the impact, cost-controlled hitter that Cleveland has been looking for to complement their lineup for quite some time now.