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What to Expect of Kyle Manzardo

Kyle Manzardo, the number two prospect for the Cleveland Guardians, made his highly anticipated debut, as Cleveland baseball fans have been clamoring for his debut since spring training. Manzardo was drafted in the second round of the 2021 MLB draft and made his minor league debut in 2022 for the Bowling Green Red Hots, the Tampa Bay Rays’ high-A affiliate. He has been a solid bat in the minors, batting a respectable .287 during his career between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Guardians’ minor league systems. Additionally, he had an on-base percentage of .383, with 50 home runs and 164 RBIs in the minors. Kyle was no slouch behind the plate and looks to carry that momentum into his major league career.

Kyle Manzardo made his MLB debut on May 6th, 2024. In this game, where he was the designated hitter, he struck out three times during his three at-bats. Kyle, following a hamstring injury to star outfielder Steven Kwan, was awarded his big league debut, and as stated, it did not go as well as some had hoped. However, this can be expected. Manzardo is indeed an impressive bat; his minor-league career and time in college at Washington State prove that. Young players starting slow in the majors happens more often than not. Look at Baltimore Orioles’ top MLB prospect Jackson Holiday, who made his major league debut on April 10, 2024. The top prospect in the entire league and son of Matt Holliday started slow, batting just .059, and was eventually reassigned to the triple-A minor league affiliate of Baltimore, the Norfolk Tide. This kind of thing happens as young players enter the MLB. Both Holiday and Manzardo, for example, are in their early 20s. Not every player makes their MLB debut and lights the world on fire, and that’s okay. This is part of the development of professional baseball players.

All this being said, what should we expect from Kyle Manzardo? Well, if he sticks with the Guardians, I could see him batting in the mid-200s as well as hitting a handful of home runs if he gets consistent play and rotation from here on out. But there is also the possibility that Manzardo fills his role while Kwan is out, and when Kwan returns from his injury, Manzardo goes back to the triple-A affiliate of the Guardians, the Columbus Clippers, to continue perfecting his craft to become a full-time starter in the infield for the Guardians in the coming season.

I have seen a lot of chatter from the Cleveland fanbase about being disappointed with the output we have seen in just one game from Kyle Manzardo. I know we, as a fanbase in Cleveland, can be negative, which can be just as we do not know any better with the sports woes we have gone through throughout the years. But listen, let this young prospect have some time to develop. It was only one game, and one game in the grand scheme of MLB player development is minuscule. Manzardo has the potential to be something special for Cleveland baseball, and I, for one, look forward to watching Kyle develop into the player he can be.

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