It'll be hard to keep this Cleveland Guardians prospect down in Triple-A for long

Kyle Manzardo is a top prospect for the Cleveland Guardians, and, if he doesn't start the year with the team, he'll certainly be up in the majors very early in the 2024 season.
Feb 22, 2024; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Guardians player Kyle Manzardo poses for a photo during
Feb 22, 2024; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Guardians player Kyle Manzardo poses for a photo during / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

By all accounts, first base prospect Kyle Manzardo is going to start the 2024 season down in Triple-A Columbus.

Service time and roster manipulation aside (he's not yet on the 40-man either), Manzardo, acquired at the trade deadline last season in the Aaron Civale deal with Tampa Bay, won't be down there for long. The Cleveland Guardians desperately need his bat, and Manzardo certainly seems ready for the majors.

Though I'll preface by saying spring training stats are utterly useless in most cases, it never hurts to see a prospect play well in the spring and make it a tough decision for the coaching staff. That being said, Manzardo made his spring training debut with Cleveland on Sunday, getting two hits in two at-bats.

This is on the heels of a tremendous run in the Arizona Fall League, in which Manzardo slashed .272/.340/.565 with six home runs, seven doubles, and 19 RBI in just 103 plate appearances. The hitting profile has always been there for him, but there's a good chance scouts have been lowbaling the 23-year-old's power potential.

Maybe Manzardo makes it an impossible decision for the Guardians and forces their hand. He might have to hit .900 in spring training to do so, and even then that might not be enough. But he'll be up in Cleveland within a few weeks regardless and should immediately become an impact bat for the team. He could even make a run at AL Rookie of the Year if everything falls right for him.

The Guardians essentially stood pat this offseason, opting to give their young players an open runway to playing time once again. Manzardo is one of those players who is going to benefit, and it needs to happen sooner than later.