This article on Javier Guerra is the final piece of the series featuring three high profile shortstops in the Sally. Previously I covered Ozhaino Albies and Jorge Mateo.
Guerra, age 19, bats LH, throws RH, he's listed at 5'11" 155 LB's, I'd guess he's 10 pounds heavier than that. He's from Panama, and he signed with the Red Sox in 2012 for $250,000. Guerra got into 60 DSL games in 2013 and slashed .248/.356/.290 with a 15% BB rate and 20% strikeout rate and showed virtually no power. In 2014 he made his stateside debut with the GCL Red Sox, the power began to emerge but at the expense of his BB rate. .269/.286/.408, with a 3% BB rate and a 20% K rate. He began to get recognized for his shortstop defense while in the GCL.
I was a little surprised Guerra was assigned to Greenville to start 2015, rather than making a stop at short season Lowell, but he's shown he's ready for the level. Offensively he's got a closed stance and some pre pitch bat wiggle. He's got a quick bat, a short swing and an aggressive approach, and he hits the ball where it's pitched, shooting the ball all over the yard. He's walking about 7% of the time this season and striking out 30%.He's hammering righties .299/.357/.500 with a 9% BB rate and 24 K% but struggling mightily vs lefties .216/.263/.392 with a 4% BB rate and a 42% K rate. So that's certainly something to keep an eye on.
I've seen about 30 AB's from Guerra at this point, and when he makes contact he hits the ball with authority from gap to gap. it's a good approach but he needs to learn to lay off the bouncing breaking balls. and of course improve vs lefties. potential 55 bat.
Guerra has continued to improve on the power he started to show last year. He's smacking line drives to both gaps and turning on inside fastballs, roping home runs to right field (for those not aware Fluor Field in Greenville has the same dimensions as Fenway) so most of right field is 380' or more.
I've seen an assortment of doubles and home runs at this point from Guerra. The first HR was a wall scraper down the left field line that just cleared the monster, the other two were in one game that he crushed to right field, both of which cleared the bull pen, 400'. I could see 35-40 doubles and 15-20 Hr's in his future. Potential 50+ power.
Guerra isn't a fast runner and not a base stealer 45 speed.
Defensively Guerra really shines, he's a fantastic glove man, and gets to balls in both holes with quick reactions and a great first step. Every time I've seen him he does something special. His arm is other worldly, a rocket launcher.
Just one example, I saw Albies hit a grounder up the middle, I couldn't believe Guerra got to it, but he fielded it cleanly on a dive, jumped up and got Albies by a full step and my jaw dropped. Tempted to say 70 glove but i'll say 65 as I've seen him kick a couple of routine grounders. I will say 70 arm though.
Guerra is an exciting prospect, he's transformed from an all glove, no power guy to a more complete player. Definitely worth monitoring whether he figures lefties out. It wouldn't surprise me if he's up in Salem by mid August.
To recap our three South Atlantic League shortstops:
Hit: Potential 70
Hit: Potential 50
Hit: Potential 55
Up next I'll look at the Augusta Green Jackets.