The Cleveland Guardians farm system is top tier in 2023 but 10 years ago the same couldn’t be said.
The Cleveland Guardians are one of the best-built teams in baseball, thanks in part to team president Chris Antonetti and GM Mike Chernoff. They’ve heavily invested in keeping the farm system stocked with great talent, and drafting very well. Something former GM and team president Mark Shapiro couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Under Shapiro’s watch, the Guardians, then known as the Indians, would perpetually make bad trades, poor draft choices, and develop very few great players.
Sure, you’d have some gems like the Bartolo Colo and Cliff Lee trades, but other times you’d get the CC Sabathia trade, where you went all in Matt LaPorta, and lucked into landing Michael Brantley by accident.
But under Antonetti and Chernoff, the farm system has been enriched, with seven players in the Top 100 prospects via MLB. Those names are Daniel Espino, Gavin Williams, George Valera, Bo Naylor, Tanner Bibee, Brayan Rocchio, and Chase DeLauter.
Yet, 10 years ago it was a vastly different story.
How far the Cleveland Guardians have come in just 10 seasons
A decade ago in 2013, the Guardians had just two prospects in the Top 100 of MLB’s list, and one that was a prereferral guy. Those names were Francisco Lindor, and Trevor Bauer, with Dorssys Paulino being a non-MLB.com guy who had his fans.
Sure, if you take away the toxic nature of both Lindor and Bauer (though to drastically different extremes), they both turned into very good layers. Lindor has taken a step back as he’s gotten older and tried to become more of a power hitter, and Bauer really struggled without his patented sticky stuff. Plus the whole suspension and being an all-around garage person who spent years harassing people both online and off didn’t help his reputation.
But looking past those two, the Guardians farm system in 2013 was ranked in the 20s. They were ranked 24th by Minor League Ball, and 22nd by Bleacher Report. In 2023, Propsects1500 had the Guardians 5th. This is huge, considering that just in 2018, they were ranked 25th by Bleacher Report.
It’s wild to see where this club has come in a decade. They’ve become a stable, successful, and championship-winning club.