What an interesting time to be a Cleveland Guardians fan.
In recent weeks the Guardians have called up minor-league prospects Nolan Jones, Will Benson, Tyler Freeman, and Alex Call just to name a few.
Now, the front office is giving 6’6″ 260-pound pitching prospect Hunter Gaddis an opportunity.
The righty made his major-league debut for the Guardians Friday night against the Houston Astros and, well, it could have gone better. Gaddis was knocked around in 3 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on seven hits, striking out two and walking two.
Still, there is plenty of potential for him.
Get to Know Cleveland Guardians Prospect Hunter Gaddis
Heading into this season, Gaddis started with the Akron RubberDucks before being promoted to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers after a phenomenal performance with the Ducks.
Through 15 games, Gaddis recorded a 4.24 ERA, allowing just 63 hits and 37 runs. His opponent’s batting average stayed relatively low as well, allowing just a .223 average for opposing hitters.
He recorded 102 strikeouts through his 15 games, roughly seven per contest.
When promoted to Triple-A he made an incredible leap forward and has held his ERA lower than in Double-A at just 2.70.
Through two games he allowed just six hits, three runs, and struck out 12 opposing batters. His opponent’s batting average has also stayed incredibly low, allowing just a .176 average for opposing hitters.
However, the main question is if Gaddis can recover from his extremely subpar performance against the Astros, which included two home runs to the newly acquired Trey Mancini.
Batters are at a much higher level in the majors, and pitchers often struggle to find the strike zone when going up in competition level, and that was prevalent in Gaddis’ performance.
In order to find the strike zone, Gaddis often left his changeup with a hitch at the top, leaving the window for error high.
After such a bloodbath of a game, that could shake anyone’s confidence, but how Gaddis responds in his next outing will be a huge factor in how his time in the majors goes.
He showed that the switch from Double-A to Triple-A was not going to phase him, but it was just two games. With such a small variety of games to look at, it’s hard to tell whether or not his talent will translate into the majors further.
One thing we do know, however, is that Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona has given young prospects the opportunity to prove themselves, and so far most of them have risen to the occasion.
With Bryan Shaw given the opportunity to start a major-league game, the opportunity for prospects to start is prevalent, and the former fifth-round selection in the 2019 MLB draft will get just that.