Sixth Core Player for the Cleveland Guardians; Gabriel Arias – SS, 2B, 3B
Once again the San Diego Padres get a mention for a possible piece of Cleveland’s future core, sending the Tribe Gabriel Arias as part of the return package for Mike Clevinger at the 2020 trade deadline.
Arias is the third consecutive prospect I’ve listed 21-years-old or younger, and is currently the Tribe’s No. 4 prospect after the midseason updates at MLB.com. He has four-tool potential, possessing the best arm in the organization while refining his overall fielding and his approach at the plate.
Thanks to COVID-19 eliminating the 2020 minor league season, Arias jumped from High-A in the Padres organization all the way to Triple-A Columbus in Cleveland’s system. An impressive enough feat for a player that young, but more impressively he’s held his own, slashing .274/.341/.425 through 95 games with 20 doubles and 10 home runs. Arias will need to reign in his strikeout numbers to truly tap into his potential at the plate, registering a roughly 29% strikeout rate for his professional career, including a 25.7% rate in 2021.
Defensively Arias is a primary shortstop, but has spent time at both second and third base. He put up an alarming 64 errors in two seasons of rookie and A-ball in the Padres’ system, but appears to have used his time at the alternate site in 2020 to work heavily on his defense, registering only 12 this season in Columbus across three positions.
It’s possible that Arias will profile better as a third baseman in the majors given his elite arm and the defensive kinks still being ironed out at shortstop, but it’s highly likely he’s competing for an opening day roster spot at 22-years-old next season.