Rays Prospects

Rays 2016 Top 50 Prospects: Number 5, Taylor Guerrieri

By Mat Germain
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Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.


While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.

Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.

More from Rays Colored Glasses

The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next.

Mikie Mahtook

and

Enny Romero

have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.

Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.

The next player to be examined in detail is …

#5: Christopher Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, 23 years old

  • Throws: Right  Ht/Wt: 6’3″ / 195 lbs
  • Drafted: in the 1st rd, 24th overall, of the 2011 MLB draft
  • Signed: for $1,600,000
  • 2015 Affiliate: Montgomery, AA
  • Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2016

Guerrieri’s 2015 Stats

Guerrieri’s 2015 Fielding Stats

Guerrieri’s 2015 Splits

Player Facts

"“I’d opt for Guerrieri’s higher ceiling over Odorizzi’s higher floor. Guerrieri gets swings and misses with his lively low-90s fastball (he hit 98 mph in high school) and his hard curveball, and his changeup should give him at least an average third pitch. His control has been better than anticipated, as he has walked just 17 in 119 pro innings.”"

  • HUGE fan of Halloween:

Best Tools & Abilities

  • 91-94 MPH Fastball (hits 97 MPH) with outstanding Command
  • Above-Average Slider and Curve
  • Average Change Up (helps neutralize LHB)
  • Grades: Fastball 55/60, Curve 50/55, Change Up 45/50+, Command 40/50+

Video

Our Thoughts

Character issues and injury plagued Guerrieri’s stock from the time he was on draft boards through 2013. However, since then, it seems like he’s turned things around and has been able to focus on making the most of his spectacular talent as a pitcher. And anytime you have a focused individual who can work with Guerrieri’s arsenal and with outstanding command, you know you’re in store for some good results.

More from Rays Prospects

The results in 2015 were so good, in fact, that the Rays added Guerrieri to their 40-man roster. On being added to the 40-man roster this offseason, Guerrieri had this to say:

"“It was almost the same level of excitement as getting drafted,’’ “I was pumped. It was great to know they believed in me enough to protect me and potentially, possibly, have a chance at the 2016 roster hopefully late in the season. Who knows? So I was really excited to say the least.’’"

Guerrieri comes to the mound with a plan, with confidence, and with an ability to keep hitters off balance. He gets a ton of groundouts, which also helps him avoid the big innings, and has shown to be extremely stingy in giving up HR (only gave up 2 in his 87 IP in 2014 and 2015).

Consistency and adding innings will be his biggest hurdles to overcome in 2016 as he attempts to lengthen his innings count and work deeper into games. Should he do both, there’s no doubt that he will leap up prospect rankings and could become an asset for the Rays to use as early as 2016.

Expectations

Guerrieri stated that the Rays have informed him they’re taking off “the leash” this season, so it’s anyone’s guess what his IP count will be at the end of the season. Should he reach too high a number, however, there’s a chance the Rays will opt to use him out of the pen to give him some MLB experience, and then lengthen him for 2017.

Baseball America recently ranked him 7th best in the Rays system, but we’re much higher on him overall. While they place his ceiling as a #3 starter, we see him as a potential ace if he plays up to his potential. He has the build, he has the repertoire, and he has the skills to become that kind of pitcher. What he needs now is the innings and health to prove he can put it all together.

At worse, we expect Guerrieri will become a dominant force in the pen for the Rays can could push for the closing role with similar results as Roberto Osuna has accomplished. However, we don’t believe the Rays will give up on him as a starter since his arsenal is so polished in comparison, and is also proven as a high level.

Conclusion

What most detractors will point to with Guerrieri is the makeup question and the lack of a season with more than 100 IP. Both of those are worrisome, no doubt about it, but his 2015 season provides hope that he’s turned the corner and can prove to everyone in MLB that he belongs among the best arms to be mentioned in the minors.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Top 50 Prospects List: 2016 Pre-Season

We wish Guerrieri nothing but health and dominance in 2016, and if he pitches as well as we expect, he will be a solid part of the 2017 rotation and could also impact the Rays in 2016. It remains to be seen whether he begins in AA or AAA, but with his name now on the 40-man roster, the Rays won’t shy away from using him if they need to.

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