June 23, 2024

Chase DeLauter appears to be the power hitter prospect that the organization has long desired.

While it’s common to expect young pitchers from Cleveland’s farm system to excel at the Major League level, the same cannot be said for position players, who have struggled to make a significant impact in the lineup. DeLauter has the potential to change that narrative.

DeLauter, Cleveland’s top prospect and ranked No. 31 overall by MLB Pipeline, has been generating buzz throughout Spring Training. He will once again be in the spotlight during the Guardians’ inaugural Spring Breakout game against the Reds at 7:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark. His performance on Tuesday, which included his second homer of the spring, showcased why he is deserving of the hype as he helped lead the Guardians to a 3-0 victory over the Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

While DeLauter is likely to start the season in the Minor Leagues, his promotion to the majors may not be far off. Several factors this spring have highlighted his potential as a valuable addition to Cleveland’s lineup, and his upcoming appearance in the Spring Breakout matchup may further solidify this notion.

DeLauter’s professionalism might easily go unnoticed at first glance. Despite being a 22-year-old Minor Leaguer in his second professional season, he seamlessly blends in with Major League hitters in big league camp. He appears composed and unruffled, displaying no signs of being overwhelmed or trying too hard.

Guardians hitting coach Chris Valaika emphasized DeLauter’s calm demeanor, highlighting his ability to maintain a steady heartbeat even in high-pressure situations. Observing someone so young execute professional at-bats with such composure has been a rewarding experience for Valaika and the coaching staff.

In the realm of batting, professionalism often manifests as patience. Many young players tend to become anxious or overly aggressive when facing Major League pitching, resulting in chasing pitches outside the strike zone or adopting overly aggressive approaches. However, DeLauter remains composed and trusts in his abilities.

When asked about his poise, DeLauter attributed it to self-trust and confidence in his skills. He believes in his capabilities and understands that his presence in the lineup is a testament to the organization’s confidence in him, allowing him to approach each game with a sense of assurance.

Chase DeLauter (@Chase_DeLauter1) / X

Power potential
The Guardians have long been yearning for a solution to their power shortage, particularly in the outfield. In the previous season, their outfielders collectively mustered only 16 home runs, leaving a significant void in comparison to other teams. For instance, the Nationals’ outfielders hit 46 homers, underscoring the pressing need for power.

On Tuesday, DeLauter provided a glimpse of his power potential, particularly against left-handed pitchers, a skill he has been diligently honing during the offseason. His ability to connect against lefties, especially with fastballs pulled for power, could be a game-changer for the team.

DeLauter’s demonstration of power comes as no surprise, as he previously showcased his prowess in the Arizona Fall League, where he smashed five home runs in just 23 games. This feat served as an early indicator to the Guardians that DeLauter possesses the ability to fulfill the lofty expectations placed upon him, despite enduring setbacks such as a foot surgery that sidelined him for half of his inaugural professional season.

Consistency
Maintaining both power and consistency as a hitter can be a challenge, as they often seem mutually exclusive. However, DeLauter appears to possess both qualities.

Despite his limited playing time and non-roster status in big league camp, DeLauter has made the most of every opportunity he’s been given. In nine games, he boasts an impressive .467 batting average, going 7-for-15 at the plate. His performance includes two home runs, four RBIs, a double, two walks, and three strikeouts.

Although he’s not officially part of the big league roster, DeLauter has demonstrated his readiness to compete at the highest level. His consistent performance in spring training games has not only showcased his offensive capabilities but also his defensive prowess.

Valaika, the hitting coach, expressed optimism about DeLauter’s potential to seamlessly transition his success in camp to regular-season play. DeLauter’s confidence in his abilities, coupled with his strong work ethic, bodes well for his future in the organization.

For DeLauter, believing in himself amidst the competition and talent surrounding him has been pivotal. Despite the awe-inspiring presence of established Major League players, he remains focused on trusting his skills and maximizing his opportunities. This mindset, combined with his talent and determination, positions him for success as he continues his journey in professional baseball.

 

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