George Valera, OF, Cleveland Indians / Cleveland Guardians
One of the fast rising prospects in organization, George Valera was bumped up to Double-A Akron earlier this month and has continued to impress at the plate. Earlier this month, Valera was also moved up to the club’s No. 2 overall prospect, sitting behind only Tyler Freeman and leapfrogging Nolan Jones.
At just 20-years old, turning 21 in November, Valera has plenty of time to get his game to the level that others are anticipating. He’s projected for an ETA of 2023 in the big leagues, which would still provide at least two full seasons with this group in 2024 and 2025, plus whatever action he sees in that 2023 season. Being that he hasn’t started his service time yet, he could be locked in for much longer than that as well.
If you look at just Valera’s batting average it might be curious why he’s a top prospect, but when you take into account his full slash line it becomes clear. With Lake County, where he played most of this season, he slashed .256/.430/.548 for the Captains, including 16 home runs, 43 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
The one area that Valera will have to improve a bit is extra base hits. The 16 home runs shows his power and the 10 stolen bases his speed, but he had just two doubles yet managed to get four triples. The lack of doubles is a bit confusing, but that should come along as he progresses towards Cleveland.