Continuing with the shortstop position here’s my look at Javier Guerra
Guerra is a talented prospect in the Red Sox system, he spent 2015 playing for the Greenville Drive, he just turned 20, listed at 5’11” 155 he bats left and throws right.
Guerra signed out of Panama as a 16 year old in July 2012 for $250,000, he wasn’t a high profile signee. I first heard of Guerra in 2014 Spring Training as he was turning heads with his glove work. He made his stateside debut last Summer and continued to get high marks for his defense at shortstop but I still wasn’t hearing much about the bat. I was a bit surprised that he skipped Lowell (Bostons short season A ball affiliate) and came to Greenville but it turned out he was more than ready for the level.
I was fortunate to see the loaded Drive team a dozen or more times in 2015 and I got a lot of looks at Guerra. I’d guess he’s 6′ 170 lbs and there’s room for more muscle but I think he’s destined to remain thin, he’s got some wiry strength to him though. He hits with a bit of a crouch and a closed stance. He’s got a short, fast, level swing and he’s quick to the ball. He has an aggressive approach and sprays the ball all over the yard. The ball jumps off of his bat.
All of Guerra’s over the fence power right now is to his pull side. I saw four of his home runs, three were long home runs to right, and all of those cleared the bull pen (Greenville’s Fluor Field has the exact dimensions as Fenway) each shot was 400+. Guerra’s other shot was a pop down the left field line that just cleared the monster at the 310 sign. He showed surprising power but most of his home runs came on fastballs on the inner third. The question is how many of those types of pitches in that location will he see against advanced pitching? I suspect he’ll fall in the 10-14 home run range with a lot of doubles.
Here’s a look at his batted ball rates courtesy of MLB Farm
Vs RHP (315 at bats), Groundball 45%, Flyball 31%, Line Drive 20%, Pop Up 4%. With a 7% BB Rate and 19% Strikeout Rate .187 ISO
He sprayed the ball all over the yard but mostly favores up the middle and to his pull side
13 of his 15 HR’s came vs RHP.
Guerra slumped a little bit in the 2nd half and hit a lot of a lazy fly balls to shallow LF and CF; a sign that he was over swinging, but that could have been due to fatigue.
Vs LHP (119 at bats), Ground Ball 49%, Line Drive 27%, Fly Ball 18%, Pop Out 6%. He walked 4% and struckout 33%. .126 ISO
He struggled, especially early vs lefties (40% K rate the first two months). He was out on his front foot a lot early, but did a better job of staying back as the year went along.
I would grade the hit as current 40 potential 50/55 and the power as current 40 potential 45/50 his speed is 40
Defensively is where Guerra shines the brightest, he was the best defensive shortstop I saw this season. He’s not a burner, but has an excellent first step and great instincts. He covers both holes very well and has a rocket throwing arm. Every game I saw he did something special. 70 arm 65 glove
Guerra’s glove will get him to the bigs. How well he hits will determine if he’s a starter or a utility player.
Here we get some nice looks at Guerra’s swing courtesy of Tucker Blair and Baseball Prospectus
Guerra was a lot of fun to watch, and it will be exciting to see his continued growth as he continues on his climb up to the big league level.