Name: Deolis Guerra
Position: Starting Pitcher
D.O.B.: April 17, 1989
Back in 2006, Deolis Guerra was the prized International signing for New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. After skyrocketing up the Mets prospect rankings, Guerra has hit the skids a bit, but is still only going to be 20 years old in 2009, and already has three years of experience playing High-A ball. If he can find the velocity on his fastball once again, he could fast track right to the big leagues.
After signing for 700,000 dollars, Guerra was assigned to the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, where he immediately became the league’s youngest player. In 17 games for the Suns, Guerra won six games, posting a 2.20 earned run average. Batter hit only .208 against him, and he appeared very dominant using really only a fastball and a changeup.
The Mets promoted Guerra to High-A for the Championship run in late 2006, and he pitched poorly in his two starts, posting a 6.14 earned run average.
Guerra was back in St. Lucie to open the 2007 season, and scouts were amazed that he could hit 95 miles per hour on the radar gun, and how developed his changeup was. He made 20 starts for the Mets, mostly as only a 19-year old, and the Mets made him their top pitching prospect. His earned run average was a shade over 4.00, but he had two distinct seasons. After being named the youngest player on the World Team in the Futures Game midway through the 2007 season, Guerra came back to the Mets and never was quite the same pitcher.
After coming over to the Twins in the Johan Santana trade, Guerra was not the same prospect he was as an 18-year old with the Mets. He struggled with his command, lost velocity on his fastball, and did not show much stamina. The Twins were also concerned about his ability to throw his curveball, which he appears to have a grip over now.
During the 2008 season, Guerra was back in the Florida State League, but this time as a member of the Fort Myers Miracle. He struggled mightily all season long, posting an earned run average near the 5.50 mark in 25 starts. He did show some flashes of brilliance, but those outings were few and far between. He is likely ticketed back to Fort Myers for the 2009 season, and the Twins are hoping he can regain the magic of 2006.
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball. Guerra’s fastball was once clocked at 95 miles per hour in the Florida State League, but he has since lacked such velocity. His fastball usually sits in the mid-to-high 80s, which was where it sat for most of the season in 2008. He hit 90 or 91 on some occasions, but nothing like the velocity he had in 2007.
Other Pitches: Most scouts thought that Guerra could not spin a breaking ball, though that is something the Twins have been working on with him. His changeup could develop into a plus pitch for the young right-hander, and his curveball is developing well. He is still so young, and is now in an organization that is known around baseball as being the best in developing young pitchers.
Projection: Some people are afraid that Guerra has a low energy body, meaning he cannot pitch too many innings. However, he did throw 130 innings last season, which is right about where a pitcher of his age should be. He projects as a starter, and I feel he will get back to where he was when he was the top pitching prospect for the Mets. The Twins will work all his kinks out, and he looked very good in instructs and thus far in Spring Training.
ETA. 2011. When he was with the Mets, Guerra was ticketed for Queens by 2010. However, he has hit some bumps in the road, and I think he will be in Minnesota by 2011. He’ll get to start in Fort Myers in 2009, and if he pitches well, he should get his first taste of Double-A ball by the end of the season. Only 20-years old, Guerra is still very young for even High-A ball, so the Twins will take their time if they have too.