BLUF: Extreme risk player with slugger potential from a classic right-field profile.
The Player: Gabriel Guerrero (OF, Seattle Mariners) – Signed for $400,000 in 2011, Guerrero debuted in the rookie-level Dominican Summer League with a .236/.288/.298 line in 57 games as a 17-year old. He returned to the DSL in 2012 and improved dramatically with a .355/.409/.605 line that included nine doubles, four triples and eleven home runs. The Mariners challenged him with an 18-game cameo in the Arizona League where he continued to rake with a .333 average, five doubles and four home runs.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 190): Long legs, high waist, solid natural strength. Lots of room to fill out his frame and add much-needed muscle. Not a great athlete and struggles with coordination at times. Needs to grow into his long limbs. Could end up with a 6-4 or 6-5 and 210-220 pounds physique.
Hit: Tremendously aggressive swinger. Will go after any pitch anywhere near the strike zone. Loves to pound fastballs and has the coverage to hit them no matter where they are. Good bat speed that lets him catch up to quality velocity. Struggles to recognize breaking pitches and will have to develop a better approach as he consistently faces quality secondary pitches. Has the potential to be a very good hitter given his natural bat-to-ball skills but projecting better than average is not possible right now given his hacker tendencies and his lack of experience against even remotely advanced pitching. Needs time and multiple grade jumps; would get eaten alive at higher levels right now. Grade – 20/50
Power: Easy raw to all fields that translates to game situations at a young age. Good bat speed and an aggressive swing allows for some above-average pop in batting practice and the potential to reach that level in game situations depending on the utility of the hit tool. More likely to have average game power but could own plus raw at physical peak. Grade (raw power) – 50/60
Arm: Classic right field arm that could improve with additional strength in the frame. Shows some plus ability though lacks consistency because of issues with coordination and a consistent release. Needs to develop but projects for easy plus tool. Grade – 50/60
Fielding: Well below-average defender at present. Struggles with reads and routes, often getting very late jumps and taking improper routes to balls in the gap and down the line. Has enough athleticism to stick in OF but needs considerable work. Must put the time in and even after that will have to adjust to the second deck on larger stadiums. Has average potential long term but defensive projection comes with risk given inexperience. Grade – 30/50
Speed: Below-average runner at present and doesn’t project for significant improvement as his body fills out. Will likely always be a below-average runner and has a chance to degrading further. Degradation of speed will be something to monitor as it will impact his ability to handle right field. Grade – 40/40
Summation: Big raw ceiling as a potential power hitting right fielder but lots of development required. Has legitimate present power for age and can get to it in game situations but wild swinging approach will be tested in full-season ball. Has natural bat-to-ball skills that can play if he can develop a sense of what he can drive and what will end up weak contact. If approach develops as physical maturity is reached, hit tool utility should improve and power could play in plus range. Speed is not a factor and he will have to focus on physical development to ensure he maintains mobility to stick in RF. Has enough athleticism to handle the position now and future plus arm fits the position. Boom or bust prospect with potential to become a classic corner outfield slugger.
Relative Risk: High. Absolutely extreme risk stemming from age, raw tool profile and ultra-aggressive approach.
Future: Guerrero may need another round of extended spring training and short-season ball in the either the AZL or Northwest League before he is ready for the rigors of Low-A. He is extremely raw in many facets of the game and will need considerable development time to improve his raw tools and develop game skills. If Guerrero succeeds in Low-A at some point in 2013, that would be an enormous success and signal that he may be further along than anticipated.