Last week the Cleveland Guardians acquired talented infield prospect Kahlil Watson in a trade with the Miami Marlins.
The big part of the deal featured another MLBbro, in veteran slugger Josh Bell being shipped to Miami. But, for the Guardians adding someone as talented as Watson is something team brass seems very intrigued by.
Watson, who was immediately assigned to the High-A Lake County Captains, has so much potential, and he’s the main reason the team made the deal. Guardians’ president of baseball operations, Chris Antonelli spoke highly of Watson via a Zoom following the trade.
“Kahlil is a former first-round pick who is really athletic,” Antoinetti said. “He’s a dynamic player with a great set of skills. He can really impact the ball. He can run. We’re excited to add him to our system.”
"Well, that's one way to greet your new teammates."
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 4, 2023
Guardians Unsure Of Where They’ll Play Watson?
The Miami Marlins drafted Watson with the 16th pick of the 2021 MLB Draft, and he’s had some maturity issues in the past. For instance, last summer while playing for Single-A Jupiter, he pointed his bat like a gun at an umpire following a called strike three.
Always considered a shortstop, Watson’s position with the Guardians will be determined as he climbs through the minor league ranks. The aforementioned Antonelli also mentioned this during the Zoom.
“We want to connect with Kahlil before we take any chances like that. We certainly feel he has the athleticism to play multiple positions on the diamond. There’s a chance he can impact us in a number of different places.”
The 20-year-old has struggled a bit at the plate with High-A Beloit team, batting just .206 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 58 games this season. The team knows he’s better than that and they’re hopeful that this change of scenery can help his talents shine through.
We are excited to welcome Kahlil Watson into the Guardians organization.
Watson was ranked as the Marlins 3rd-best prospect according to Baseball America, 11th-best prospect according to https://t.co/Ia2zWuF6Py, and the Marlins 2021 1st-round pick. #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/bo9qlR3YV0
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 1, 2023
A Work In Progress
Prior to making the trade that also brought veteran infielder Jean Segura — who was immediately released — Antonelli says the team definitely did their “due diligence” on Watson.
“It’s a work in progress,” Antonelli said. “Kahlil joined professional baseball right out of high school. There may have been some bumps along the way in his maturation and development, but we’re encouraged by the progress he has made recently, and we’re excited to bring him into our organization and culture.”
Guardians are hopeful that Watson pans out, if he does, they’ll have a dynamic piece for the future.