Will Cleveland Guardians prospect George Valera get a shot in the majors?
By Cade Cracas
The Cleveland Guardians have consistently been a team loaded with farm system talent.
Most of the time that's a good thing to have, but it can sometimes become a bad situation for a front office to balance. For the Guardians' front office, an abundance of young talent has proven to have its struggles.
Earlier this season the Guardians brought outfielder Nolan Jones up to the majors. Once coming up to the pros, he instantly made an impact. After a few games however, he was sent back down to the minors.
Other prospect outfielders Oscar Gonzalez, Will Benson, Will Brennan, and others have made their major league appearances, but one notable prospect has still yet to step foot on Progressive Field.
That prospect would be 21-year-old outfielder George Valera.
In 2022, Valera dominated the minors with absurd hitting power and an incredible throwing arm.
Through 90 games with the Double-A Akron Rubberducks, he slashed .264/.367/.470 to go alongside an outstanding 15 home runs. He also knocked in 59 RBIs with 87 hits, 17 doubles, and three triples.
One of his biggest issues though was his excessive boom-or-bust style of hitting.
Through his 330 at-bats, he struck out 100 times. While at the plate he was also walked 52 times through those 90 games.
Although he struggled at times, the front office gave him a call-up to the Colombus Clippers, the Triple-A team of the Guardians.
With the Clippers, he made an impact from day one.
Through just 42 games he crushed nine home runs and eight doubles to go along with 23 RBIs. However, once again, he struggled with strikeouts.
He struck out 45 times through 42 games averaging right over a strikeout per game.
By the end of the 2022 season, he finished with 145 strikeouts to 74 walks.
While it seems as though the front office has taken notice of Valera’s play, the lack of a major-league appearance has definitely been noticed.
Other Triple-A prospects got their shots throughout the year and in the September call-ups, with some of them making big play moments.
Whether it was Will Brennan smacking a leadoff triple in October, Oscar Gonzalez hitting a walk-off home run in the MLB postseason, or Will Benson scoring the winning run over the Diamondbacks in his MLB debut, Valera has got to be itching for a moment to make his name known.
His hitting power and elite ball placement is something that makes him stand out, but the boom or bust at the plate definitely has the front office holding back until the young star grows a bit more.
With Valera sitting in the minors since 2019, his debut major league appearance is right on the cusp.