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Brandon Guyer: Looking Back, Moving Forward

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Brandon Guyer finally got his chance last year. Out of options, the Rays had to keep him at the major league level. For the first few months of the season, Guyer probably wished he was back in the minors. In the first month of the season, Guyer only had 22 at-bats. His slug line of .136/.174/.182 resembled Kate Moss’s measurements more than a professional baseball player’s stats.

You could hardly blame Brandon Guyer. He was barely getting a chance to play and it shouldn’t have come as any surprise he wasn’t doing well. On May 1st, his average bottomed out at .120. This is a guy, though no longer a prospect, was still only 28 and has a good bat. Not being able to stay healthy for any length of time has bitten into his development as a player.

Credit has to be given to Guyer, though. He did not get down and continued to try to make himself ready when for his time did finally come. In May, Guyer’s fortunes at the plate improved significantly until the injury bug reared its ugly head once again. Guyer managed 17 more plate appearances than he had in April despite missing the last five days of the month. He slugged a  much better .333/.350/.462 line as well. However, luck was not on his side. Not too long after Guyer went down to injury, slugger Wil Myers did as well. A chance to play every day and get some much needed at-bats fell by the wayside.

One of Guyer’s better qualities is his attitude. That was never more clear than when he came back from injury and continued improving. For the season he slugged a .266/.334/.367 line, including a .281/.355/.393 line from May 15th to the end of season. He saw a respectable 3.72 P/PA, displaying fine plate discipline once he started receiving more regular playing time. The troubling aspect for Guyer is that his power was basically nonexistent as only 19 of his 69 hits went for extra base hits. When you factor in that he only stole 6 bases, it is easy to see why his runs created was so low (34.0).

The Rays, however, can be hopeful. Guyer got his feet wet last year and did not wilt under the bright lights of the big stage. As the Rays go forward with Guyer–and there’s no reason to think they won’t keep him–they have t0 be hoping he develops a little more power and steals a few more bases. Last season, Guyer didn’t hit home runs and didn’t run. His ISO was his worst since 2007, and his stolen bases his fewest other than his injury-shortened 2012. Given that and his problems staying healthy, Guyer is worth far more to the Rays, given his potential, than they could ever hope to get in a trade.

Going into 2015, Brandon Guyer projects to be a fourth of fifth outfielder, but he could jump the line quickly given one of a number of circumstances. This is a player who has shown flashes of intriguing power and speed in the past, and if those tools show up more often in games, he could turn into an interesting player for this team. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but at the very least, the Rays can be relatively optimistic that they have found a solid platoon player.

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