Top 15 Twins Prospects: #15: Deolis Guerra

Andrew KneelandSenior Writer INovember 26, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 08:  World Team All-Star Deolis Guerra of the New York Mets pitches against the USA Team All-Star during the XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game at AT&T Park on July 8, 2007 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins are known throughout the league for their deep minor league organization and uncanny ability to supplement established major-league players with young minor-league talent.

This past year has seen some ebb and flow in several aspects of Minnesota’s minor league system. While there are plenty of elite pitching prospects now in the Twins’ system, there is a lack of middle infielders.

Overall, the Twins have a fairly average minor league organization relative to the league average.

At about this time last year, I published my Top 15 prospects. It’s time for another go-around!

It’s not often I get the chance to subjectively rank anything, so I am savoring this opportunity. For a numbers nerd like me, though, weighing several variables based solely on my opinion is quite a bizarre feeling.

I attempted to conjure a formula for my Top 15 prospects last year, which worked to some extent. I wasn’t happy with the results, though, and spent dozens of hours attempting to tweak the formula to suit my needs.

Needless to say, I failed.

The only way to effectively measure and rank young baseball prospects is arbitrarily, because quite a few things simply can’t be quantified. Young, toolsy players with high potential but little on-field success cannot be forgotten about in prospect rankings, yet didn’t fit into my finite formula.

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So, despite my best attempts, I reached the conclusion that prospect rankings are best done subjectively. In the next few weeks I will share who I believe are the Top 15 prospects in the Twins’ system, with little mathematical evidence and a whole lot of my opinion. Enjoy!

15. Deolis Guerra, RHP, 20 years old

2009 stats : 4.69 ERA, 86.1 IP, 57/25 K/BB, 1.39 WHIP in Ft. Myers (A+); 5.17 ERA, 62.2 IP, 49/17 K/BB, 1.261 WHIP in New Britain (AA)
Last year’s rank : 4
from New York Mets in Johan Santana trade

In spite of his seemingly endless struggles, there is no denying the ceiling of Deolis Guerra. Acquired by the Mets as a 17-year old, Guerra was hurried through the minors.

Starting his professional baseball career in Single-A, Guerra immediately endured hot and cold stretches. A year or two at lower levels would have been perfect for Guerra, and his fast progression through the minor leagues is proving to be his downfall.

Guerra has been discussed for years now – and the “bust” label has been readily applied — but he is still just 20 years old in a league where the average age among pitchers is 24. There is no need to simply give up on Guerra, as his strikeout-to-walk ratio has been steadily improving, as have his strikeouts.

Having a big frame, Guerra is very projectable. In the past, his fastball touched 97, but his changeup has always been his best pitch. Last year, his fastball was clocked in the low 90s. His fastball from a few years ago and current changeup are the only major-league ready pitches he possesses.

Having a much-improved walk rate from last year, the book hasn’t been closed on Guerra. The young right-hander from Venezuela has loads of potential, but is still a long way from re-discovering his status as a top prospect.

Ideal scenario : Guerra breaks out in 2010 with the New Britain Rock Cats and regains a handful of miles per hour on his fastball. He makes some progress with his curveball, and misses more bats than he has in the past. If he can accomplish that, he could be a quality #2 starter in a major-league rotation.

Path to the majors : We shouldn’t worry about when we might see Guerra in a Twins’ uniform. More important right now is that the young right-hander re-discovers himself and becomes relevant again.

Originally published at TwinsTarget.com


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