It seems to be an every-game occasion now that the box score shows a Cleveland Guardians rookie paving the way for the team whether they win or lose.
In the most recent case of this trend, former Triple-A Columbus Clippers shortstop Brayan Rocchio knocked home two doubles for the Guardians en route to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Recently, the youngster has made a case for himself to fill the void of being the everyday starting shortstop.
Towards the tail end of July, the Guardians approached the climax of the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline and opted to move on from struggling infielder Amed Rosario in hopes of freeing up his position for players in the farm system. Initially, it seemed that the decision to move on from Rosario would come back to haunt the team, but after a few weeks of patience, the Guardians may have found a solid replacement.
At first, it was a battle between Gabriel Arias and Rocchio, with Jose Tena entering the picture just recently. Arias seemed to be taking the edge early as his slightly longer experience in the majors had proven to be just enough to be more consistent at the plate than Rocchio.
However, before long Rocchio has transitioned into an eye-popping player at the plate.
He originally got a shot in the majors way back on May 18th, going 1 for 4 at the plate to go alongside one hit and an RBI before the Guardians sent him right back down the minors. He would then get another opportunity to play in the big leagues on June 2nd, where he recorded another hit going 1 for 4.
Through two outings. Rocchio amassed a 2 for 8 stat line from the plate to go alongside two hits and an RBI, but the Guardians wanted to see more from him. Thus, after the Rosario trade was official, the team brought him up to the major league roster and gave him the reigns to thrive immediately.
Since August 2, Rocchio has played in eight contests and has recorded nine hits, four doubles, and two RBIs. That is exactly what the team was looking for from their shortstop position, hitting ability. In the most recent contest against the Blue Jays, he collected two doubles, each of which resulted in an RBI, helping lead the team to a victory.
Not only has he shined at the plate, but in the field as well.
The talk of the town for the past two seasons has been the Golden Glove of second baseman Andres Gimenez, but the talk might shift to Rocchio as his fielding abilities have been put on display.
On Tuesday, August 8th, a ball was hit smack dab down the middle of the field. Rocchio made a running snag off the ground before throwing it across his body to Arias at first. For Guardians fans, the play brought a lot of hype to the intriguing prospect. Not only did the fans love it, but so did the Guardians' front office.
"Brayan has done a really good job with his development," said Guardians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti. "We are just going to continue to work with him on his consistency defensively. Whether it's making those big plays or making a routine play consistently."
With high praise coming Rocchio's way, the only thing holding him back from taking over the everyday spot at shortstop is himself. If he continues to showcase what he has since being called up, he should have it on a lock in due time.