Monday, June 6, 2011

Rays 1st Round Pick - 24th Overall: Taylor Guerrieri

One of the higher-ranked HS pitchers, Rays get a good value as he slipped.

BaseballAmerica: (Rated #10 overall)
Guerrieri will be one of the toughest calls for clubs in the first round. He has one of the draft's best arms, and among preps he ranks behind only Oklahomans Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley in pure stuff. Guerrieri has a pitcher's body at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with long arms, coat-hanger shoulders and present strength. Getting his "man strength," to use the scouting term, has allowed him to maintain his delivery better, and his stuff has improved as a result. At his best, Guerrieri's fastball touches 98 mph and sits in the 93-96 range. He throws his curveball with power as well at 80-83 mph. He flashes a changeup and a cutter in side sessions but rarely uses them in games. Like most high school pitchers, his velocity can vary from start to start, but he still sits 91-93 on his off days. His athleticism and strength allow him to repeat his delivery well, though his command is a question. A South Carolina signee, Guerrieri could go in the first 10 picks if teams are sold on his makeup, but many are not. He's on his second high school thanks to off-field incidents at North Augusta (S.C.) High, and scouts continue to research his decision-making.
SCOUTING PROFILE: Guerrieri has been lauded as perhaps the fastest riser in the 2011 draft class, going from a moderately-ranked follow to a potential top-half of the first-round draft choice. While that might be the national perception of Guerrieri, the fact of the matter is that the athletic South Carolina native showed pretty much the same stuff on occasion during the 2010 summer season as he does now, just never at a traditional showcase event or as consistently. Guerrieri, who transferred from North Augusta High to Spring Valley High for his senior year, pitched for the South Carolina-based Diamond Devils at both the 17-and-under and 18-and-under World Wood Bat Association national championships in Marietta, Ga., in July, both times on the heavily-scouted primary fields at the East Cobb complex. In those two games, he topped out at 95 and 94 mph, both times hitting those velocities in the sixth inning. He also flashed a plus curveball. It was unfortunate that the Aflac All-American teams had already been selected by that point as Guerrieri was clearly that level of talent. The biggest key for Guerrieri this spring has been his consistency. During the summer, his fastball might register 88-90 mph one inning and 93-95 the next, but he has been steadily 93-96 mph through entire games this spring, and reportedly has touched 98 mph many times. His ability to maintain that kind of velocity deep into pitch counts is highly unusual for an 18-year-old and is the product of a-low effort delivery that he’s done a much better job lately of repeating. Guerrieri has a good feel for getting both running and cutting action on his fastball, and scouts believe that his cutter could develop into a nice slider in the future. What separates Guerrieri from other hard throwers is the quality of his curveball. It’s a low-80s power pitch that has hard, late biting action from the same release point as his fastball. The improvement in consistency on the pitch from last summer to now is noteworthy. He would flash that plus curve last summer, but was just as likely to hang a flat spinner as he was break off a hammer. Although he doesn’t throw it often, Guerrieri’s mid-80s changeup is also a potential solid third or fourth pitch. There is little downside that scouts can find in his overall package now as he throws three present pitches with the promise of a fourth, has an easy, low-maintenance delivery, a projectable build and a perfectly clean health record. While Oklahoma prep righthander Dylan Bundy is considered by many to be the top high-school pitching prospect in the nation, Guerrieri has his supporters for that distinction as well. Projected Draft Position: First round / Top half. --DAVID RAWNSLEY (Rated #13 overall):
Guerrieri entered the year as an interesting, if not outstanding, high school pitching prospect, but had decision-makers flocking to South Carolina as word spread about him lighting up the radar gun.

The projectable right-hander has been up to 97 mph this spring, throwing his fastball anywhere in the 92-97 mph range. He's also got a plus curveball, a hard downer breaking pitch, thrown 83-84 mph. He hasn't had much use for a changeup in high school, but he has a feel for it, and it should be an average pitch in the future. He'll also mix in an 87-90 mph cutter, showing he's not just about arm strength.

With average command and a great pitcher's body to go along with good arm action and delivery, Guerrieri has moved up to the upper echelons of a pretty good prep pitching class and could be one of the early ones to go off the board.

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