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I hate using the term sleeper, it means so many different things to different people. I recognize that there’s a wide spectrum of knowledge amongst my readership. So to some of you the Yankees Jorge Guzman is a sleeper, but to other’s he’s not. That said, with the ease I added Guzman in my 16-20 team leagues this Fall, I’m willing to go out on a limb from first hand experience, and slap and big ole ZZZZZZZ… label on Guzman. Over the last few months if you follow the minors leagues, The Yankees, or more specifically the Yankees minor leaguers in the Arizona Fall League, then you’ve probably heard all about Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu, but more specifically Sheffield. A lot. Justus got the BX Bump (which is also a great interracial porn film BTW). If you’re a Yankees fan staying hip to all the up and coming prospects, then you’re probably aware of Chance Adams, Domingo Acevedo, and Dillon Tate. I’m sure you read about Guzman too, but I’m willing to guess the next statement might shatter all of you pre-conceived notions about the Yankees current minor league pitching oligarchy. Jorge Guzman is the best pitching prospect the Yankees have. That’s it, post over. I led you to the cliff only to push you off and leave. I have Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa shopping to do… I’M JUST PLAYING BABY! Of course I wouldn’t have left you without some gems to help you. Here’s why Jorge Guzman might be a player to target in off-season dynasty leagues in 2018.

 

Let’s just start this off with a boner-inducing sentence, so you’ll have to employ the tuck and fold for the rest of this post. Don’t worry this isn’t one of my 2,500 word opuses, this is short. JORGE GUZMAN THROWS 102 MPH, AND CONTROLS IT. Okay, let’s take a second to breath. It’s not just that he throws 100+ either, it’s how he throws it. Watch…

That’s easy velo, I’ll go out on a limb and say I exerted more effort creating that above GIF than he did striking that goon out. If you slow down some of the videos available on Guzman, and you see he has two things. First, clean repeatable mechanics, second, great timing in said mechanics. There’s some debate over this, but there are many that believe the recent influx of arm injuries is really rooted in poor timing, and not just fastball velocity, or an over-reliance on secondaries. One of the first things I look at is what position the pitcher’s arm is in when his plant foot first lands. This is usually indicative of timing. This is not my personal theory, it’s the theory of Chris O’Leary, if you’re not familiar with Chris check out his writing. Here’s the best still I could find of Guzman with his arm in the correct position. Though I can’t see his front foot, it’s pretty obvious based on weight distribution that his leg just landed.

After coming over with the more highly touted Albert Abreu in the Brian McCann trade the Yankees got to work on streamlining Guzman’s mechanics. Looking to keep his delivery on center, the coaching staff focused on getting Guzman to drive more with his legs. The thing is, it worked! It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to identify the improvement in Guzman’s pitching. Just look at the numbers.

During his brief time in Houston, Guzman had trouble throwing strikes, carrying a 4.4 Bb/9 through 20 professional starts totaling 95.1 innings, as he bounced between the rotation and the pen. The even more peculiar thing is Guzman didn’t miss many bats during his time in the Astros organization either, only striking out 83 batters over that 95 innings. Fast forward a year later and in the Short Season New York Penn League, Guzman averaged 11.8 K/9 and 2.4 Bb/9, leading the league in strikeouts, and maintaining his velocity deep into games. At times his control will escape him for stretches, it never manifested itself as a problem though. So this begs the question; How did the Yankees manage to cut his walk rate in half while boosting his K/9 by more than 50%?

Simple, they fixed his mechanics, and in turn it improved his secondaries. About those secondaries…

Now that we’ve dug in a little on Guzman’s fastball, let’s go into the rest of the righthander’s arsenal. Guzman pairs an above average changeup that sits in the high 80’s with a plus breaking ball some identify as a curveball, while others identify it as a slider. Upon my own in-person (YouTube) looks I’m going to call it a slider. As you can see below it has sweeping action, running in on lefties, and off the plate to righthanders.

Paired with his fastball-changeup combo Guzman is able to set hitters down with a variety of pitches when he gets ahead in counts. A fastball like Guzman’s will get you to the big leagues, the ability to pair it with a breaking ball, and an off-speed pitch will make you a star. Ask Luis Severino.

Going into 2018 Guzman should see his first full season assignment to low A Charleston, with a promotion to high A Tampa likely by early June. Unless of course the Yankees decide to challenge him with an aggressive assignment to high A. That puts Guzman’s ETA somewhere around June or July of 2019. Of course there could be some bumps in the road along the way, and an early 2020 debut isn’t completely out of the question, but I’m all about the power of positive thinking. You know what else I’m all about? Guzman’s potential upside as a frontline starting pitcher in fantasy. He brings to the table a plus plus fastball with big velocity, a plus breaking ball, and an average, but improving changeup, clean mechanics, and an organization with a recent success story. Go get Guzman!

 

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

   
  1. Slappy Jack says:
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    Awesome write up my dude!
    He was hardly on my radar,
    now we just need to don’t bring him up again until April, it can be our little secret
    Thx Ralph!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      It’s our secret slappy…. thanks for reading!

  2. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Done!

    I now own Jorge Guzman, and it only cost me Jose Miguel Fernandez! BWAHAHAHA!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @El Famous Burrito: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

      EVIL LAUGHING IN UNISON IS THE BEST!!!

  3. Zwibi says:
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    Nice work yet again Ralph.

    Two questions for you:
    Do you know where I can find a deep dynasty league to join? Have been looking for a deeper format for some time and havent come across any.

    Second, when are you going to do your Oakland write-up? Would love to hear your thoughts on Jorge Mateo. He has really turned it on since the trade although seems like he could be a bit gassed in the DWL after a long season.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Zwibi: I’ll get you hooked up, just follow me on Twitter, I usually tweet out a couple of leagues over the winter. I can get you in some. I have a 30 team that has some openings. One team has Trout and Moncada. Email me at [email protected] and I can get you in.

      I’ve covered Mateo a lot, I’m a big fan. He’s been covered 5-6 times since July and ranked right around 50 in my end of season Top 100. Here’s the link to all of his posts.

      https://razzball.com/tag/jorge-mateo/

      • Zwibi says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: awesome thanks. Email sent

  4. MattTruss

    MattTruss says:
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    That GIF is 102? That’s insane. After selling off most of the pieces of my AL only farm system to win the title this year, I’ll be looking to grab some deep sleepers like this to build it back up. Thanks Ralph!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @MattTruss: Not positive on MPH but he sits 99-102, clocked as high as 105.

      Check out the AL systems posts, my goal is go deeper this year.

      • MattTruss

        MattTruss says:
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        I usually put them all in a spreadsheet for my farm draft each year with your notes.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @MattTruss: Nice!

  5. Outlet says:
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    What do you think about this deal….. OBP keeper league. 60 players are kept
    Currently I can only keep 1 of either Devers or C-Mart…

    Give: Devers, C-Mart, pick 5, pick 12 (after 60 players are already kept)

    Get: Lindor, pick 44

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Outlet: You can’t just do Devers and C-Mart and one pick for Lindor?

      I think you do it though because you upgrade the spot.

      • Johnny Prospects says:
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        Is this a league where you can trade players you’re not keeping after the trade deadline from last year? Because that means it’s a BS league.

        You shouldn’t get value from a player you cannot keep. That’s essentially keeping the player.

        This is likely why you’re willing to give up draft picks so willy nilly.

  6. The Liquidator says:
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    Ralph-
    Love your work and your podcasts.
    I’ve a question for you, though. No disrespect intended, none at all. Given that Guzman doesn’t make BP’s top 20 Yankees prospects, how much of this post is just wishful thinking? Do you think he has the body of a starter or will end up in relief? I just don’t feel as confident with this call as with others. Thanks for the heads up, though. I will probably end up with him on my team anyway…

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The Liquidator: No way he’s not top 10 on BA. (word of advice don’t pay for BP, pay for BA. It’s head and shoulders better). To be honest with you, not to be a cocky dick, but I’m better than most of the BP writers at this point. They also won’t rank players they haven’t seen.

      The body is fine, solid mechanics, great stuff. I can’t speak for BP, but I will say their brand has been heavily tarnished of late. I just wrote 1,000 words on why, but I understand I’m not always right, and you don’t have to listen to me.

      BTW this is no way upset or angry, I just have been vocal about my feelings on BP. I had Guzman in my top 100, so he’s a player I’m stumping on.

  7. Johnny Prospects says:
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    After jumping ship in old my keeper league, I’ve been asked by guys still in it where I get my rookie projections from. The real answer to that is “I like baseball. That means my interest doesn’t stop at the majors. I like to know about the next big thing before they come up.” This lead to me drafting guys 2 years away that turn into very good fantasy players (Cutch, Stanton, Carlos Santana, Gary Sanchez, Profar *I blame injuries on this one, but he was SO good in the minors*, Sale, Correa..). I rarely missed (Lars Anderson *UGGGHHHH*, Dustin Ackley *double ughhh because I passed on Trout for him since I was loaded in the OF already*)

    So, instead of teaching them how to gage stats, I send them here now.

    Anderson Espinosa was the guy I was telling everyone to grab last year. This year, it’s this guy and a few others closer to the show. I love your breakdowns, I usually am looking at numbers so the GIFs are super helpful. Watching this guy throw easy smoke makes me even more excited, since one of the fears of drafting minor leaguers is fear of injury. That’s a repeatable delivery that doesn’t look like it stresses the frame. I think he’ll likely go a little Bartolo once he hits thirty based on his body type (tough to project, but usually you can tell who fills out), but I can see his upside being quite high for the “keepable” years. Great writeup

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Johnny Prospects: Thanks a lot for reading. Sounds like you’ve had some serious hits over the years. Here’s to Guzman being more of column A than column B

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