Comparing anyone to a Hall of Famer is probably unfair. To do it to a prospect is downright silly.
So, let’s go ahead and do it anyway.
In 1990, Trevor Hoffman was a light hitting 22 year old Shortstop. He hit .212 and was at a crossroad in his career. One of his coaches made a suggestion that he try his hand pitching. The rest is history. Hoffman immediately saw success the next year. He had 20 saves and a 1.89 ERA while playing in the Reds farm system.
Eventually, he landed with the Marlins before heading to the Padres in a controversial deal involving Gary Sheffield. Though he was booed repeatedly at the beginning, he’d eventually win Padre fans over and was a integral part of the 1998 World Series team. Now he’s wearing a Big Ol’ SD in the hall of fame.
Javy Guerra has been in the minors since 2013. He was just 17. He was traded to the Padres as part of the deal that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston. He’s always had a cannon for an arm, but the bat just never came around. After hitting .223 with 166 K’s in AAA last year, the team finally decided it was time to make a switch.
Suddenly, he’s pitching well in AA ball. He’s got a plus fastball while demonstrating good control. In 20.1 IP he’s walked just 9 batters and struck out 28. He’s also given up just 15 hits. It’s really impressive for someone that didn’t throw a professional inning before this year.
It’s worth noting that his fastball is sitting between 96-99 MPH right now. The drawback to that is the fundamentals aspect. Is he a thrower at risk for injury? Or, is he a natural pitcher that has been misplaced for 6 years?
It’ll be interesting to see how the Padres handle his development. He may not be “the next Trevor Hoffman”, but there’s reason to believe he can mature into a reliable late inning arm as early as next year.
What do you think Padre fans? Could Javy Guerra be the next big time reliever? Is it reasonable to have high expectations for him at this point?