Photo credit: Jay Gehres/Courtesy Columbus Clippers

It’s time again to start the exercise of looking at each position in the Cleveland Guardians farm system and ranking the prospects by position to get a jump start on the next season’s rankings. It’s not an exact science but it’s a good thought experiment and debate to see where we think the best prospects in the system rank by position. We start 2022 by outfield, a position that has seen plenty of growth in the last year, versus the brutal lack of depth in previous years.

Last year’s list included graduates of Steven Kwan, Richie Palacios, Will Benson and Oscar Gonzalez. It also included Micah Pries, who you’ll now see in the first base section, though he could still play the outfield. Nolan Jones also would have been a graduate too before he was traded.

2021 Top 10 Rankings by Position

2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 relief pitching prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 catching prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 right handed pitching prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 left handed starting pitching prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 centerfield prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 corner infield prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 middle infield prospects
2021 Cleveland Guardians top 10 corner outfield prospects
2022 Cleveland Guardians Top 10 Outfield Prospects

RankAggregate RankingJustin LadaWillie Hood
1George ValeraWill BrennanGeorge Valera
2Will BrennanGeorge ValeraWill Brennan
3Chase DeLauterChase DeLauterChase DeLauter
4Petey HalpinPetey HalpinJaison Chourio
5Jaison ChourioJaison ChourioPetey Halpin
6Johnathan RodriguezJohnathan RodriguezJohnathan Rodriguez
7Joe LampeJoe LampeJoe Lampe
8Alexfri PlanezAlexfri PlanezAlexfri Planez
9Isaiah GreeneIsaiah GreeneJose Gomez
10Jose GomezJorge BurgosConnor Kokx

George Valera
Age: 22
B/T: L/L
2022 Level: Triple-A Columbus
Rule 5 status: On 40-man
Comments: Not the consensus #1 OF in the Guardians system anymore according to these rankings, but did finally enjoy a fully healthy full season for the first time and played at the upper levels of the minors at the age of 22, which made him younger than most he faced. He popped 24 homers despite some strikeout issues. His penchant for running the bases went away in 2022 despite a new pickoff rule that saw more steals in the minors. Valera may be hitting some post-hype prospect levels despite not debuting yet, but he’s been around for five years in limited time before 2021. That could also a sign that Cleveland has other outfielders on the rise as well, though there is some underlying data and analysis that sees concerns with his potential to make contact that could limit his tools and overall upside.

Will Brennan
Age: 24
B/T: L/L
2022 Level: MLB
Rule 5 status: On 40-man
Comments: Brennan followed what was something of an eye opening season in 2021 with a bit of a breakout 2022. He hit well at Double-A and then Triple-A, driving in over 100 runs, continuing to show modest power gains while making contact at an above average rate. He does just about everything well – hit, run, throw, play defense and has modest pop that he could tap into a bit more. If he doesn’t, he may still be a platoon outfielder that can run and play good defense. Platoon issues are a question with Brennan as are his penchant for being slightly over aggressive swinging at times. But he makes a lot of contact in the zone, so he can overcome that enough to have a high offensive floor. The production is hard to ignore. He probably won’t be the next Steven Kwan, but could he be another Lonnie Chisenhall with good defense and speed?

Chase DeLauter
Age: 21
B/T: L/R
2022 Level: College
Rule 5 status: 2025
Comments: There’s an argument for DeLauter to be the top rated outfield prospect in this system. Even Valera can’t match DeLauter’s upside. The limited performance, as good as it is, and small school bias is enough to remain conservative to see if his gaudy college performance is the real deal. If it’s close at all, consider him a threat for the top spot as a true middle of the order hitter in right field.

Petey Halpin
Age: 20
B/T: L/R
2022 Level: High-A
Rule 5 status: 2024
Comments: The numbers may not jump off the page, but Halpin has performed well for his age at both A-ball levels so far in his two year career. He’s been young for each level (-2.2 in 2022) and got better as the season went on in 2022 (1.015 OPS in July, .910 OPS in August) while playing good centerfield defense and running the bases. As he continues to add strength and get reps, he could be close to a breakout soon.

Jaison Chourio
Age: 17
B/T: B/R
2022 Level: DSL
Rule 5 status: 2026
Comments: A high ranking for a player who has yet to take any stateside at bats and has very limited video floating around, but the pedigree here perhaps weights his ranking some (his brother is Brewers wunderkind prospect Jackson Chourio) and he did show good contact/patience/strikeout numbers for what that’s worth. We’re really banking on the upside, tools and pedigree here as he might be the most exciting international hitter since perhaps Valera.

Johnathan Rodriguez
Age: 23
B/T: R/R
2022 Level: Double-A
Rule 5 status: Eligible (unselected in 2022)
Comments: Rodriguez displayed classic corner/DH traits with big power and a big arm in right field. He hit well in High-A but was challenged in his limited Double-A exposure. The two big tools are intriguing enough to keep an eye out for on this list but it remains to be seen if his swing and miss and other defensive attributes will be a detterent enough to get to it all.

Joe Lampe
Age: 22
B/T: 22
2022 Level: College (draft)
Rule 5 status: 2025
Comments: Lampe has plenty of speed and contact skills. He could profile as a leadoff hitter if the contact skills translate into enough hits. He should play centerfield in his debut and we’ll look to see if Cleveland can help turn his contact skills into any more doubles or homers the way they’ve looked to with other skills like this.

Alexfri Planez
Age: 21
B/T: R/R
2022 level: High-A
Rule 5 status: Eligible (unselected in 2022)
Comments: Like Rodriguez, Planez tapped into the bigger tools of his game in 2022 at High-A. He showed his power and big arm in the outfield. But like Rodriguez, and Oscar Gonzalez, there aren’t a lot of walks and the contact is very inconsistent. He profiles best as a right fielder with his arm and has 20/20 potential if he ever got to enough contact to move up and prove it. Double-A in 2023 will be a big test for that.

Isaiah Greene
Age: 21
B/T: L/R
2022 level: Single-A
Rule 5 status: 2024
Comments: Greene had a pretty good season on the surface, drawing walks, stealing bases and playing some good outfield defense. There are questions about if his patience is more passiveness and how much his bat can really do, but he passed his first test in Low-A in 2022 and will look to pass the next in 2023. The better pitching he faces will separate whether he can really walk enough to make it translate and if he can make enough contact to get on base without walking to take advantage of his speed.

Jose Gomez
Age: 17
B/T: L/L
2022 level: DSL
Rule 5 status: 2026
Comments: Another player on this list without a domestic at bat seems like a big risk and question mark. He struck out a ton in the DSL and there’s not a lot of video or info on him, but there’s a lot of buzz about Gomez coming into 2023.

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