Guardians Could Turn Amed Rosario’s Career Year Into Security for Future
Amed Rosario was a central piece to the trade that sent Francisco Lindor to the Mets in January of 2021. While he had a fine season in Cleveland in 2022, he too is about to get more expensive, and would be attractive for a number of teams looking for middle infield help. Rosario hit .283 with an OBP of just .312 in 2022, with both numbers exceeding his career averages. He added 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases. While he was a valuable part of a very good team last year, his production is by no means irreplaceable, and his salary is expected to increase by nearly $4 million in arbitration this offseason. Meanwhile, the Guardians will need to make room for at least one top middle infield prospect within the next year.
Brayan Rocchio, the Guardians’ #4 prospect according to MLB.com, is likely to debut in the major leagues next season. Similar to Myles Straw, Rocchio is a gifted defender, which could buy him patience to develop as a hitter at the big-league level. He projects to eventually hit for a high average with plus speed and has the range and arm to stick at shortstop. If Rocchio needs more time for development, the Guardians also have Gabriel Arias, a 22-year-old with experience at shortstop, third, and first, who made his major-league debut in 2022.
Also of note is 20-year-old middle infielder Angel Martinez, who shot up through the Cleveland system in 2022. After starting the season in A-ball, Martinez forced a promotion to Double-A Akron before playing in the Arizona Fall League, which is often used for evaluating top prospects, and frequently used as a stepping stone to higher competition in the upper minor leagues, or even MLB.