Guardians pitcher Daniel Espino now 11th-ranked prospect in MLB Pipeline top 100
Daniel Espino is not only one of the best prospects in Cleveland’s system, but he’s quickly becoming one of the best prospects in all of baseball.
Cleveland Guardians pitching prospect Daniel Espino is continuing to make believers out of people all over baseball, as the 21-year-old is now the 11th-ranked prospect in MLB’s list of the top 100 prospects in the game.
Before going on the IL with a knee injury at the end of April, the right-hander had a 2.45 ERA in four starts at Double-A Akron, with an incredible 35 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.
Here is what MLB Pipeline had to say about Espino, who made the biggest leap on the updated list, all the way up from No. 49:
"The new No. 11 overall prospect is our biggest jumper in this group. Guardians right-hander Daniel Espino moved 38 spots up from No. 49 after showing some of the best stuff in the Minors at Double-A Akron with a triple-digit heater and low-90s (you read that right) slider. The 21-year-old fanned 35 in 18 1/3 innings before hitting the IL with a knee injury."
Espino, who was a former first-round pick by Cleveland in 2019, could very well be pitching in Triple-A Columbus by the end of the season, provided injuries don’t keep derailing his progress. And if that’s the case, Guardians fans could potentially see him in the majors sometime in 2023 if he continues to dominate at that level.
All of this praise is nothing new for Espino, either, who was considered one of the best pitching prospects in all of spring training this year. He’s already received praised from current major leaguers too, like Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins, who believes Espino could be pitching in the big leagues right now.
The Guardians had four other players make the updated top 100 list (the same five from MLB Pipeline’s list to open the year), including outfielder George Valera (No. 43), infielder Gabriel Arias (No. 69), infielder Brayan Rocchio (No. 78, up from 80), and infielder Tyler Freeman (No. 80, up from 83). Arias, of course, made his major-league debut earlier this season and is currently out with a fractured hand, while Freeman could very well be the next top prospect to make his debut in 2022.