Cleveland Guardians first base prospect Kyle Manzardo is off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League. Manzardo homered in his third straight game Wednesday night, which ties him with four others for the most home runs in Arizona. If homering in three consecutive games was not impressive enough, Manzardo's homer in Wednesday's contest traveled 460 feet, the longest home run hit in Arizona so far.
In addition to being tied for the league lead in home runs, Manzardo leads the Arizona Fall League in runs scored (11) and is tied for third in runs batted in with 10.
There is a reason why Manzardo is considered to be Cleveland's second-best prospect, behind only Brayan Rocchio. While the move was widely considered unpopular at the time, Manzardo is showing exactly why the Guardians were willing to part ways with Aaron Civale at this past trade deadline to acquire his services.
Those looking solely considering Manzardo being injured at the time of the deal or looking at batting average were missing the plot entirely. It is about focusing on the long-term future of the organization and understanding that they need to find impact bats to add to their lineup. Kneejerk reactions at the time of the deal were complete nonsense. Complaints about batting average in a 73-game sample for a 22-year-old prospect can go right into the garbage where they belong.
Anyone focusing on batting average for a player who possesses power rather than slugging percentage and OPS in 2023 is just showing they do not have their finger on the pulse of how the game is played. Manzardo has a .542 slugging percentage and .926 OPS in minor league play. And for what it is worth, Manzardo is a career .284 across three seasons in the minors, showing that panic about his .238 average at Durham while injured was incredibly premature and unnecessary.
Looking ahead, there is a clear path for Manzardo to be part of the major league roster as soon as next season. The highly regarded prospect should become an impact bat for the Guardians sooner rather than later and hopefully put to rest the non-stop complaints about a deal that was the right move at the time and has been proven correct based on how the rest of the season played out.