Alex Guerrero has already caused some spark and controversy among the Dodgers ranks as he has said, with no option years left and that it would be up to him if he goes down to AAA where he hit .329 in 65 games, with 80 hits and 15 home runs. He has already said no, he would stay in the majors regardless of what the club wants from him.
Perhaps he doesn’t have to though; already this year is Spring Training Guerrero has been on fire, second best on the club for averages and equal most hits with Scott Schebler, who will be in the minors this year barring some amazing circumstances.
There was one at bat today I would like to highlight in Guerrero’s progress. As there is no doubt he is age ready, being 29 years old, he has been around a baseball field for some time. Last year however in my mind there was doubt surrounding his pitch selection of what he is hitting or looking for was strong but today that changed. In 13 at bats last year he struck out 6 times and only managed one hit in the majors, a terrible record for anyone, this was all down to pitch selection.
Although he only got one at bat today, he used it the best he could, trying to impress Don Mattingly in the dugout.
The score was 6-4, bottom of the 8th inning, with one out following Darnell Sweeney’s Grand Slam, a monster oppo taco shot over the left field wall, sparking the Dodgers’ 8th inning 8 run frame. Ryan Cook was already at 19 pitches before the at bat, facing 5 batters in the inning so far and conceding 4 runs.
The right-hander’s first pitch to Alex was a fastball, low and outside, which he managed to foul off into the right field bleachers for a 0-1 count. Nothing more can be said here, the pitcher was too quick for Guerrero’s hands, causing him to miss the fastball, popping it up foul.
His next pitch was an off-speed, a 12-6 curve, starting high but in the zone, drops low at Alex’s knees which he leaves and takes a strike, Alex knows he missed the pitch and then bends over his knees in almost pain. Thus showing that he knows where he wants it and that what he was looking for was there but he simply missed it. Count goes to 0-2
Guerrero gets another curveball, starting high to low and inside gets fouls down the left field line, just pulling it too early and staying at 0-2. Guerrero knows a different pitch is coming soon, one that he wants, and simply kills this one with great success.
The fourth pitch Alex faces is a fastball, the catcher set up high and outside but Cook misses his spot, puts it middle away which Guerrero slaps to right field, between first and second for a base hit, his 8th hit in 17 at bats for Spring Training, bring the average up to .471; second on the team.
This is the main pitch in the at bat, he knew it was coming and hit it, the first three set up the fastball and even though it was 0-2 it was a hitters count with the way he smacked that ball. All he saw was the pitch away, he waited on it, hit it to right and without doubt impressed Don, and maybe he will be in the majors after all.
The next at bat results in Cook hitting O’Koyea Dickson and then the A’s pitcher gets taken out of the game. Even if this was a real game, the 4 pitch at bat where the hitter is in charge will hurt any pitcher and Guerrero should get great credit for his hit today, more than just a stat.