Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Top Prospect List: #15 Ismael Guillon, lhp

Ismael Guillon
Height 6-3, Weight 185, B/T: L/L, DOB: 2/13/1992
2010 Redlegs Baseball Prospect Ranking: N/A

Well, prospects like Ismael Guillon are the toughest prospects to evaluate, as they don't really have an amateur track record and are so young that they haven't logged appreciable innings at the professional level. Even so, the scouting reports are so strong on him that I simply can't leave him off the list.

Guillon, a native Venezuelan, was one of the top international free agents in 2008. Scouts were split as to whether he profiled best on the mound or as a first baseman/outfielder. Perhaps because he throws from the left side, the Reds viewed him as a better option on the mound.

The Reds moved fast and signed the then 16-year old to a contract worth $600,000. However, the Reds subsequently voided the contract after they discovered an injury during a physical. The organization re-signed him for a lesser amount due to added injury risk and the need for Guillon to rehab the ailment.

2010 Season

Guillon has barely put a toe into the professional baseball waters, but, in 2010, at age 18, he made a solid professional debut in the Rookie Arizona League. He tossed 57.0 innings in which he put up a 3.32 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.5 K/9, and .193 batting average against. Like most power pitchers, he was more of a fly ball pitcher, as evidenced by a 0.75 GB/FB ratio.

Obviously, a stellar performance, but it's against a very inexperienced level of competition and Guillon is considered to be pretty polished for his age. It'll be interesting to see what he can do as he climbs the ladder and faces better competition.

Pitching Mechanics and Arsenal

According to Tony Fossas, who served as a pitching instructor in Arizona, Guillon possesses an 88-92 fastball, a potentially plus change-up, and a work-in-progress curveball.

One of the red flags on Guillon has been his mechanics, including an unusual pitching wrist wrap. There are a few photos of Guillon on that are definitely worth look.

In those photos, you can see a somewhat unusual wrist position, but on the plus side he's got a great stride. The longer the stride, the more power generated by the lower body. And, of course, when the power is generated by the lower body, the arm has to do less work to generate velocity. As a result, pitchers who throw with their entire body should have a reduced risk of injury. Time will tell if his arm action and unorthodox wrist wrap are cause for concern, but he has good size which enables him to throw on a downward plane, allows for additional physical projection, and may help increase his durability.

For now, Guillon is a bit of unknown, but early reports are promising so he lands at #15 on the list.

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