As the organization’s future prepares for a new year and spring training begins, there’s no better time to present our top 50 prospects than Cleveland Baseball Insiders for the upcoming 2023 season.
As a side note, I’ve included links at the bottom of the article to my top 50 2022 Guardians pre-season predictions.
The Guardians are widely regarded as having one of the deepest and best farm systems in baseball. So deep, in fact, that it was very difficult to narrow down the roster to just 50 players who I think could make an impact at the MLB level. I probably could have easily ended up listing 75 or more players.
I’m doing Fangraphs future value A score scale that you will be able to select at the bottom of each played video. The future value is a score on a scale of 20-80 that specifies the expected annual production of WAR during the player’s first six years of service.
My ratings are based on seeing players first hand, watching video, and having conversations with other raters and writers. While the rosters of prospects are fun and entertaining for fans, they don’t represent everything in terms of who eventually makes it to the major leagues. Remember, Jose Ramirez was never a Top 100 national and Oscar Gonzalez was never a Top 20 prospect in the Guardians.
The ultimate goal here is to inform our readers and give you information on some of the young talent in the organization that they can pursue and look forward to seeing in the future at the MLB level.
No. 50 Aaron Davenport – RHP
Cleveland Guardians right-hander Iron Davenport made his 2021 debut after being drafted in the sixth round from the University of Hawaii. He pitched in just seven games (three in the Arizona League and four with Lynchburg) totaling 16.2 innings pitched. Over those 16.2 innings, he struck out 26 strikeouts—good for 14.04 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Strikers also batted just . 140 against him.
In 2022, Davenport was assigned to High-A Lake County out of spring training and stayed with the Captains the entire season. He made 23 starts in the year posting a 4.21 ERA and 4.26 FIP over 107.0 innings pitched. Davenport struck out 118 batters on the year well for a 9.93 SO/9 inning average while hitting just . 224 batters against him on the season.
The only downside to Davenport’s season was the 52 walks he allowed in only 107.0 innings pitched which averaged 4.37 BB/9. Despite only allowing 89 base hits on the year, the 52 walks are credited to a 1.32 WHIP as well. With walks he was prone throughout the season to give up some big roles and high counts on the field.
Davenport finished the season on a high note as he posted a 1.05 ERA over his last four starts of the season, striking out 28 batters while striking out only three hits over 25.2 innings pitched. Hopefully, he can pick up that momentum at the start of 2023.
Davenport offers a four-tone blend featuring their signature mid-70s hammer curveball that is really louder or better. His fastball sits at 88-92 mph and can touch 94 mph. He has an average change that has the potential to develop further into another above average. He added a slider to his arsenal ahead of the 2022 season.
2023 and outlook
Davenport could start the 2023 season, possibly move to Double-A Akron or he could easily return to High-A Lake County where he spent all of 2022. If he does return to Lake County, it shouldn’t be seen as a step back since the Guardians farm system is currently so deep At the top level when starting the monument.
His MLB futures capper is currently a fourth or fifth starting capper if he continues to develop better command and control over his entire repertoire. He also needs to do a better job of limiting the big innings against him that plagued him at times so far early in his career.
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