Brandon Guyer of the Tampa Bay Rays rounds the bases after hitting a home run in his major league debut against the Baltimore Orioles on May 6, 2011. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Prospect of the Day: Brandon Guyer
One of the most dangerous hitters in Triple-A this year is outfielder Brandon Guyer of the Tampa Bay Rays, currently hitting .326/.392/.527 in 35 games. He earned notoriety on May 6th, when he was promoted to the majors for one game and went 1-for-3 with a home run in his first major league at-bat against the Orioles. How soon will he return to the Show?
Guyer was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round in 2007, from the University of Virginia. Quite toolsy, with above-average speed and good power potential, the athletic Guyer was hampered by a shoulder injury in his first two professional seasons. He didn't really unleash his bat until 2010, when he hit .344/.398/.588 with 13 homers and 39 doubles along with 30 steals in 102 games for Double-A Tennessee. He was traded to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, and so far he's brought his Double-A performance ahead to Triple-A.
Scouts have always loved his athleticism. They project that he'll hit for a high batting average, show at least decent power, and demonstrate strong defensive skills at all three outfield positions, though his arm is just mediocre for right field. His biggest weakness offensively is impatience; he's aggressive and won't draw a lot of walks. In the minors, his bat speed, running speed, and contact rates keep his batting average high and his OBP solid even with few walks, though we'll have to see if that works in the majors long term.
Guyer will get another chance in Tampa as soon as a spot opens up. Durham teammate Desmond Jennings is also having an excellent year and is seen as a better long-term prospect, but Guyer adds extra depth and is a fine prospect in his own right.