Top Guardians outfield prospect George Valera will likely be behind schedule this spring after recently undergoing surgery on the hamate bone in his right hand, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The 22-year-old Valera has ranked among Cleveland’s top prospects for several years and has landed among the game’s top 100 prospects on rankings at Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus in each of the past two offseasons. Valera appeared in the 2022 Futures Game and climbed as high as Triple-A last season, making him a relatively near-term option for the Guardians — though this surgery will slow that trajectory a bit.
Valera split the 2022 season between Double-A and Triple-A, slashing .264/.367/.470 (129 wRC+) in 387 plate appearances at the former and batting .221/.324/.448 (103 wRC+) in 179 trips to the plate with the latter. He was playing in the Dominican Winter League this summer, but the hand has been problematic — evidenced by a tepid .171/.244/.220 output in 11 games there.
The Guardians haven’t formally announced Valera’s surgery, nor has the team provided an update on his expected recovery period. Hamate fractures and the subsequent surgeries typically sideline hitters for at least four weeks but can require an absence upwards of two months in length.
There’s no immediate spot in the Cleveland outfield for Valera, though with a full, healthy and productive spring he’d have had a chance to force his way into the mix. Third-place Rookie of the Year finisher Steven Kwan has left field locked down, and while Myles Straw’s bat left plenty to be desired in 2022, his elite defense and the contract extension he inked last spring both make him the clear option in center field. In right field, 25-year-old Oscar Gonzalez figures to get the nod after surprising with a .296/.321/.461 batting line and 11 home runs in 382 trips to the plate as a rookie in 2022.
Valera secured a spot on the Cleveland 40-man roster over the 2021-22 offseason once he’d have become eligible for the Rule 5 draft. He’ll be going into his second minor league option year and seems likely to start next season in Triple-A if he’s ready for Opening Day.
Joey Bart Future MVP
The Guardians, Orioles and Dodgers farm systems are so deep they can lose a top 100 prospect and not even notice. Hopefully Valera takes his time and heals fully before coming back.
Even if Valera was healthy, I highly doubt he would make the team out of camp. He had a 30% K rate across multiple minor league levels last season. He needs work on his contact rate and get his K rate down into the low 20’s before he gets a call up. Hopefully he can make that leap this year and be a mid-summer call up.
I wonder what or whom he punched.
Rumor has it he didn’t punch anyone. Reports suggest that he went “full ohio” after being in the Guardians system.
Which means grabbing a 30 of Busch and entering yourself in those troglodyte slap tournaments. He made it to the second round before injurying himself against “Fat Jeff”, the unofficial state leader because he can supposedly read.
That doesn’t even make sense.
Everything I typed made sense. If you need help reading it, bring it up with “Big Jeff”. I’m not here to teach ohio to read.
Big Jeff is Fat Jeff’s manager.
No it does not @smelly beans. Just like the other poster said, you may have described Kentucky, but certainly not Ohio. Try again, and fat jeff doesn’t make any sense either.
Have you ever actually been to Ohio? If anything, you just described Kentucky
I’m waiting for an article with this title: Kris Bryant to miss eight weeks due to sore hangnail.
And/or a tweaked hair follicle.
I want to see a Giménez extension….. Not sure what it looks like tho
That unfortunate manicure accident….thoughts and prayers…
A truly superior prospect.
But how many LH batting OF’s that are contact hitters can a team have?
They can run out an all LH batting order……
C – Bo Naylor
1B – Josh Naylor
2b – Andrés Giménez
SS – Brayan Rocchio (switch hitter)
3B – José Ramírez (switch hitter)
LF – Steven Kwan
CF – Will Brennan or Will Benson
RF – George Valera
Which lefty would DH?
layventsky: Either Will Brennan or Will Benson would be the DH. It’d be which ever one wasn’t playing CF.
Josh Bell is a switch hitter
Actually Valera isn’t one of those slap hitting contact machines like Kwan, brennan and many other guardians prospects, he is a serious power hitter.
Correct. Valera K’d 145 times last season while hitting 24 HRs.
Shame, he was such a nice guy at Guards Fest!!! Hopefully he recovers quickly so he can join Bo in the majors!
Spiderfest would have been so much cooler.
Hard pass. Spiders is a terrible name. The media would have a field day every time they lost. “Spiders get Squashed!!!” If Spiders weren’t the previous name, no one would have suggested it.
Guardians isn’t a great name, but at least it’s not a pathetic bug.
Hamate surgery often, but not always, impact and reduce a player’s power his first season back. He may not be at full strength again until 2024. Still quite young.