The Guardians announced Friday that they’ve designated outfielders Daniel Johnson and Harold Ramirez; righties Justin Garza and J.C. Mejia; and lefties Kyle Nelson, Alex Young and Scott Moss for assignment.
Cleveland also added a whopping 10 players to the 40-man roster, headlined by top prospects Tyler Freeman and George Valera. Also added to the 40-man roster are Brayan Rocchio, Richie Palacios, Steven Kwan, Jose Tena, Cody Morris, Bryan Lavastida, Konnor Pilkington and Jhonkensy Noel.
Finally, the Guardians have also acquired right-hander Tobias Myers from the Rays in exchange for minor league infielder Junior Caminero, tweets FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen. Myers will also be added to the 40-man roster.
Johnson and Ramirez have been part of a revolving door in an uncertain Cleveland outfield in recent seasons. Neither has hit well enough to lock down a permanent roster spot, although Ramirez did start more than half the team’s games in 2021. Ramirez would have the right to elect minor league free agency if he clears waivers.
Mejia logged significant action as a depth starter this year but struggled. Garza, Nelson and Young saw some bullpen work, while Moss has yet to make it to the major leagues.
The massive turnover highlights the high minors depth Cleveland has stockpiled in recent seasons. The selection of ten prospects is highly atypical, but it’s a testament to the Guardians’ scouting and development staffs that they’ve managed to accumulate so much talent they’re afraid other teams might jump on. That’s particularly true on the position player side, with much of this group being hitters with advanced bat-to-ball skills who could factor onto the big league roster in relatively short order.
Freeman, Valera and Rocchio might be the most notable. All three appeared on FanGraphs’ Top 100 list entering the 2021 season. They’ve all topped out at Double-A Akron, where each posted above-average offensive performances despite being 22 years old or younger. Valera plays center field, while Freeman and Rocchio are middle infielders. Palacios is another infielder with great high minors numbers, while Lavastida is regarded as one of the better catching prospects in the minors.