A ton of home run power walked out the Marlins’ doors this week when Giancarlo Stanton was traded.
But what if they got back some much needed power on the mound?
Or even someone who could one day spearhead their pitching rotation?
Right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman might have the goods.
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Guzman, one of the prospects acquired in the deal with the New York Yankees, has a fastball that reportedly has been clocked by radar guns at 105 mph.
That’s about as fast as the pitch current Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw (105.1) in 2010 (while with the Reds) when he broke the record for the fastest pitch in major-league history in 2010.
Guzman didn’t just hit triple-digit velocity once.
The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic consistently hit 100-102 mph on the radar guns in Single A ball with the Yankees last season.
Chapman, who was a starter in his native Cuba, has made this commonplace out of the bullpen during his eight-year career in the majors.
But while Chapman transitioned to the bullpen, the Marlins think Guzman can sustain this as a full-time starter as he has been so far in the minors, which made him immensely appealing to add to their shallow farm system and perhaps to their pitching-deficient roster in the foreseeable future.
“We project him to be a future front-of-the-rotation starter,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told reporters Tuesday at the MLB Winter Meetings.
Guzman isn’t all about speed either.
Acquired by the Yankees in a trade with the Astros before the 2017 season, Guzman went 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA with 88 strikeouts, 18 walks and allowed only four home runs in 66 2/3 innings for New York’s Single A affiliate in Staten Island. In addition to his velocity, Guzman mixed in his breaking ball and a changeup effectively.
Guzman will be 22 years old by the time spring training starts and could help the Marlins on the big-league level sooner than many of the younger prospects acquired in recent trades.
“It’s three pitches,” Hill said. “It’s the hardest average fastball by a starting pitcher in the history of baseball. He’s higher than Aroldis when he was a starter.”
Jose Devers, the other prospect acquired in the Stanton trade, could give the Marlins some value at the shortstop further down the road.
Hill believes the 18-year-old Devers has a similar skill set to his cousin, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, 21, who hit .284 with 10 homers and 30 RBI in 58 games during his rookie season.
Jose, a lefty, didn’t put up great hitting numbers in rookie ball for the Yankees (.245, 1 HR, 16 RBI), but showed defensive potential.
“We love the skill set,” Hill said. “Talk about middle-of-the-diamond players with confidence and defensive value. That’s what was so attractive about bringing him on board.
“If you see his video, you’d see what our scouts see in him when they do their evaluation and their reports. We say he’s strength away from being a beast. This is a guy that’s going to be a physical offensive player playing a premium position.”
BACK TO SCHOOL
Former Marlins’ second baseman Dee Gordon is already working on his move to center field in Seattle.
Gordon, who was traded to the Mariners last week, posted a video on Instagram Monday that shows him running down fly balls in center on a practice field. The post was captioned: “1st day of school.”
Mariners manager Scott Servais said Tuesday that while Gordon was surprised about the move, he was informed before the trade was finalized and was willing to take on the challenge.
“A guy that talented, that athletic and that fast, you’re looking at different things that he’s done throughout his career, going back on pop-ups at second base, he’s got unbelievable range, and that’s what we’re using to hopefully take advantage of that in the outfield and running the balls down, and offensively just do what he does,” Servais said.