One ranking exercise that helps us get ready for the pre-season top prospect rankings, is the top 10 rankings by position in the organization. This is titled the top prospects by position of 2021 in the Cleveland Guardians organization because it is based off of the prospects in the organization in 2021, who are still here as well. But getting these lists out will help us put together our overall rankings this spring.

We star this series with relievers, and will follow with each position, breaking starting pitching up by left and right handers, and then 1B and 3B together as corner infielders, and 2B and SS as middle infielders. We also break up outfielders by center fielders and corner outfielders.

The points are based on a basic ranking system. Justin Lada, Willie Hood, and Joe Coblitz rank players by position 1-through-10 and 10 points are awarded to the player ranked first by each person, nine for second, seven for third, and so on. Then they are combined for the final ranking you see here.

So, without further ado, the 2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 relief pitching prospects:

RankPlayerPoints
1Nick Mikolajchak29
2Jerson Ramirez28
3Aaron Pinto21
4Nic Enright19
5Tim Herrin13
6Jack Leftwich10
7Zach Hart9
8Nate Ocker7
9Kevin Kelly6
10Randy Labaut6
Alaska Abney5
Andrew Misiaszek4
Robert Broom3
Hunter Stanley3
Manny Alvarez1
Jake Miednik1

1 Nick Mikolajchak

Age: 24
Throws:
Right
Level:
DoubleA
Outlook:
After a strong 2021 campaign where he walked only nine in 39.2 innings of work, the Sam Houston product is not far away from being a major league ready bullpen asset. His stuff is set up man quality and he has good control, the only negative here is that he’s in the zone too much sometimes and gave up some homers in 2021. Still, he should be ready to slot in as a set up man in the near future.

2 Jerson Ramirez

Age: 23
Throws: Right
Level:
High-A
Outlook:
Armed with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a pair of different sliders, Ramirez missed bats as an advanced arm in High-A. His control is just average but the stuff is good enough for a middle relief package. He just needs to start moving up the chain quickly and face more age appropriate competition.

3 Aaron Pinto

Age: 25
Throws:
Right
Level:
Double-A
Outlook:
Another right handed arm a tad bit older in the system, some of that pandemic related, Pinto is a control artist. His fastball sits in the low-90s, though he can get into the mids at times, and he has a good slider to go with it. His delivery, movement and control all help the stuff play up a little. He’s another potential mid-relief option that might debut late in his career, but he could probably help a team in need of a relief option now because of the strike throwing ability. It’s a fairly safe profile.

4 Nic Enright

Age: 25 (this month)
Throws:
Right
Level:
Double-A
Outlook:
Non-elite, back end type relievers debut at older ages somewhat regularly, anyway, so Enright fits into that bucket with Pinto. Enright does have more bat missing ability though, despite only getting up to 93 with his heater on a good day. But the over the top arm slot, backspin, and the ability to pair it with a big, overhand curveball and a pretty solid slider is why he missed bats at a rate last year you wouldn’t guess for a guy who throws 89-92. That still leaves him with a low margin for error, but like Pinto, there might be a safe mid relief profile here.

5 Tim Herrin

Age: 25
Throws:
Left
Level:
Double-A
Outlook:
The first southpaw on the list, Herrin missed bats as an older arm in High-A in 2021 with a low to mid 90s fastball, a slider that could be average, and also has a cutter now. His control still leaves a bit to be desired, so his stuff has to be that good and he has to move soon given his age.

6 Jack Leftwich

Age: 23
Throws:
Right
Level:
Draft 2021
Outlook:
Leftwich served a variety of roles for Florida in college, but he was mostly a reliever and that’s where he’ll move quickest in this system. He can get up to 96 with the fastball, pairs it with a good slider, and a changeup that needs to improve, there’s a potential set up relief package here as well. He’s also a big competitor on the mound.

7 Zach Hart

Age: 24
Throws:
Right
Level:
Low-A
Outlook:
Hart too looks like he beat up on younger competition in 2021. He missed a ton of bats, but also had control issues. He throws up to 95 and has a big curveball and good slider to go with it. He could have starters stuff, especially given his big frame, but the control, age and depth in this system put him in the pen as a reliever at this point with interesting stuff.

8 Nate Ocker

Age: 25
Throws:
Right
Level:
High-A
Outlook:
Ocker has a three pitch mix, fastball, slider and changeup, operates in the low-90s and has a smaller frame. He had solid command for High-A Lake County and missed bats, although he was older for the level, too. He might be an organizational arm but it’s not impossible that he has enough stuff to make the kind up jump Justin Garza did in 2021.

9 Kevin Kelly

Age: 24
Throws:
Right
Level:
High-A
Outlook:
Though Kelly’s fastball only runs 90-94, he has some interesting characteristics of it with a low release and pairs it with a solid two-seamer, slider and curve. He missed bats in 2021, avoided walks and has an interesting pitch mix, and some added deception with his delivery and release. He’s older but there’s a change some underlying points of his delivery make him better and give him some future as a middlre elief amr.

10 Randy Labaut

Age: 25
Throws:
Left
Level: Low-A
Outlook: The Cuban native southpaw has overcome a lot in his baseball career and life with injures. He was a starter in college but is a reliever now with a funky arm angle and a typical lefty profile. If there were still a place for LOOGYs in baseball, Labaut’s future might be more certain but his age and with that role eliminated, he looks like an org arm.

Best of the rest

PlayerPoints
Alaska Abney5
Andrew Misiaszek4
Robert Broom3
Hunter Stanley3
Manny Alvarez1
Jake Miednik1

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