What to Expect from Guardians Infielder Brayan Rocchio
Rocchio could be one of many Cleveland prospects to debut in 2023.
With a banged-up infielder, the Cleveland Guardians called up infield prospect Brayan Rocchio from Columbus (AAA) for depth. The 22-year-old’s time in the Majors may not be long this time around, but it’s possible that Guardians fans could get a look at the team’s potential future shortstop over the coming days.
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A Look at Rocchio
Guardians infield prospect Brayan Rocchio jumped his stock after a very strong first pro season in 2018. In the Arizona Fall League, the then-17-year-old hit .335/.390/.442 with the AZL Indians. Rocchio tallied 81 hits over 60 games and swiped 22 bases to become one of the team’s more intriguing prospects.
Rocchio didn’t put up eye-popping numbers with Mahoning Valley (SS-A) the following season in 2019. However, he’s looked more and more like a high-end prospect in recent years. Rocchio showed more pop after the return to play in 2021, when he hit 15 home runs and 46 extra base hits across two levels. The 22-year-old hit 18 more in 2022, along with 15 stolen bases between Akron (AA) and Columbus (AAA).
A switch-hitter, Rocchio does have good power and speed, alongside a more disciplined approach at the plate. Both his power and contact attributes project to be at least average, and Rocchio’s speed is arguably his second-best trait behind a formidable glove at short.
The 22-year-old is just one of several prospects that could make their way to Cleveland this year. High-end pitching prospects Tanner Bibee and Gavin Williams could make their way to the Great Lakes at some point, and the same could be said for power-hitting outfield prospect George Valera. Valera, however, is currently on the Minor League IL.
A Look at the Guardians Infield
It’s very likely that Rocchio won’t be on the Guardians roster for very long, so long that starting shortstop Amed Rosario doesn’t require an IL stint for his back injury. Should Rosario wind up on the IL, then Guardians fans could expect to get a bit of a look at the young infield prospect.
If Rocchio does get time with the Guardians in the interim, it would mark a potential glance at what may lie ahead for Cleveland in 2024 and beyond. Rosario is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and it’s not a given that Cleveland does opt to re-sign him. The Guardians already locked up Andres Gimenez just before the start of the 2023 season, and reliever Trevor Stephan a few days later. Cleveland isn’t a big spender, and it’s possible that other players like Steven Kwan and Shane Bieber are likelier to receive contract extensions than Rosario.
Part of that may have to do with organization depth, as Rocchio’s been a highly-touted prospect for years thanks to his speed, fielding ability, and improvements at the dish. If he does get time in the field while up with the big club, it might be a glimpse into the future for the Guardians.