Antonetti and Chernoff: Grading the Cleveland Guardians front office at season’s midway point

Nov 13, 2019; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonettispeaks with members of the media during general managers meetings at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2019; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonettispeaks with members of the media during general managers meetings at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Gabriel Arias.  David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Gabriel Arias.  David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Farm system

Antonetti and Chernoff have made ample use of Cleveland’s farm system, mostly in the search for effective yet controllable talent.

The Guardians have to date utilized 15 first-year farm system products, which is probably a major league high. A wise major league executive never expects the bulk of rookies to produce positive benefits immediately, but Antonetti and Chernoff have done okay in that respect.

Of the 15, nine have generated some level of positive benefit to the team. Because those benefits have been small and because the two most consequential are also negative, the overall rating is slightly to the down side. That’s to be expected.

The biggest productivity issue has involved first year utility player Gabriel Arias. The Guardians have given the 23-year old every opportunity, keeping him on the active roster all season and using him in 61 games. But he’s batting .189 with a .318 slugging average and negligible fielding numbers. That translates to a -1.0 WAA.

Starter Peyton Battenfield got an early April promotion from Triple-A, and made six starts. But, by mid-May Battenfield, along with his 5.19 ERA, was headed to the injury list with shoulder inflammation. A final prognosis on that damage is awaited.

Fry and Naylor, younger brother of first baseman Josh Naylor, will probably be given a full shot at filling the gaping hole behind home plate. Logan Allen is a rookie pitcher who got a dozen starts and produced a 3.47 ERA before the Guardians for some reason decided that wasn’t good enough; they shipped him to Triple-A last week.