There may be only six games left on the schedule of the RubberDucks, but Cleveland Guardians prospect Chase DeLauter will get to briefly experience Double-A ball before the season is up. The 16th overall selection in the 2022 MLB June Amateur Draft will finish the year at Akron, according to reports.
The soon-to-be 22-year-old outfield prospect has been impressive so far in his brief minor league career. Slashing .354/.411/.542 with a .953 OPS, DeLauter has 21 doubles and five home runs while driving in 35 runs in 51 games between rookie ball and Lake County. Prior to being selected by Cleveland, DeLauter compiled a .402/.520/.715/1.235 super slash in 66 games (three seasons) at James Madison, with 27 doubles, 15 home runs, and three triples, in addition to scoring 71 runs, driving in 70, and stealing 24 bases.
This is an important step in the development and progression of Cleveland's fourth-rated prospect and third overall hitter according to MLB Pipeline. Finding a way to give the highly regarded outfielder a little experience at the next level should allow DeLauter to see how he measures up against other Double-A prospects while those in charge of development for the Guardians get a glimpse of areas that he could need to work on this offseason.
It is all about progression for DeLauter at this point in his young career. Taking sizable steps forward in his quest to become a major league outfielder is the priority at this moment in time. DeLauter's debut timetable is still set down the line (2025 per MLB Pipeline), but that should not mean a lax approach should be taken in how he is handled by the Guardians organization. This ballclub has experienced difficulties when it comes to developing major league caliber hitters, and they must ensure that a player that could fill an obvious void on their roster is handled properly.