3/26/14

Rising Met Prospect Luis Guillorme- More Than Just the Glove

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For fans who may not be familiar with shortstop Luis Guillorme, the Mets selected him in the 10th round of the 2013 draft out of high school and Luis eventually agreed to a contract with the Mets last summer. He bats left, throws right, and many consider him the best defensive infielder in the Mets system already. He will not turn 20 years old until this fall and played all of last year in the Gulf Coast League. 

Guillorme has natural actions at short and scouts drool over his hands, arm strength and accuracy, foot speed, and ability to make the plays other shortstops do not even attempt. One aspect of his game scouts find lacking is his ability to hit at a level to make him an elite prospect. Luis hushed the critics last year when, in his first professional season, he got on base 33.7% of his at bats and brought his famed glove with him to the Gulf Coast League.

Luis Guillorme passed up SCF to play Mets baseball
Luis Guillorme took the time out of his hectic spring to answer a few questions.

Stephen Guilbert: Luis, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. How were the days leading up to the draft and your draft day?

Luis Guillorme: My draft week was just like every other week in my life. Hitting bp, taking ground balls, the usual. Now my draft day, that was completely different. It was really exciting but it was also stressful because I didn't know how early or how late I was going to get picked. After I finally heard my name called, it was one of the happiest days of my life. 

SG: The report on you on draft day was "elite glove, light bat". Then you go out and get on base a third of your at bats with the glove as advertised. What has gone in to your preparation on both sides of the ball?

LG: Going into the season, I knew people didn't expect much from me on the offensive side of the ball so I knew I had to work a little harder on that and just keep doing my thing on defense which is what I do best. I didn't get the results I wanted but it was more than what most people expected. I was happy but not satisfied because I know I can do better than I did.

SG: Do you tune out what all of the “experts” might say about your game?

LG: Since the moment I started playing baseball, I’ve had people saying I couldn't do this or couldn't do that or that I was too small or too slow and many other things. When I heard all those comments it only made me want to work harder and prove them wrong and most of the time I did. If you tell me I cant do something, I’m gonna find a way to do it. 

SG: What have you focused on the most since last year?

LG: I worked on everything this offseason but what I worked on the most was the three things I felt were the most important for me at the moment: my strength, my speed and my hitting. Now, during spring training, it’s pretty much the same but less working out. I still take extra reps before practice in the cage and they make us run so that takes care of the speed part.

SG: What was the highlight of 2013 for you?

LG: The highlight of 2013 was the day I got drafted. I was with some of my closest friends and family and got the opportunity to play professional baseball. What's better than that? 

SG: What are you looking forward to most in 2014?

The famous Fu Manchu
LG: What I'm looking forward the most is for the season to start. There's nothing that can compare to the feeling you get when you step on the field on the first day of the season.

SG: Is the Fu Manchu here to stay?

LG: I wish I could say yes but since we cant have any facial hair and only a regular mustache I have to say no. But I am working on a pretty nice mustache right now and I am thinking about handlebarring it and will keep you updated.

SG: Awesome. I’m hoping we get to see you in Brooklyn this year. Have you spent any time in New York City?

LG: I have only been to N.Y.C. once for a weekend with my family but if I end up there this season I will use some of my free time (if I have any) to get to know the city.

SG: Luis, thank you for taking the time. We look forward to seeing what you can do this year.

LG: Thanks for the interview.

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Despite the solid on-base percentage and reports that he could play elite defense in the majors now, Luis Guillorme does not seem content with his game. That is a good thing. The players who can identify their strengths and improve on their weaknesses are the ones who make complete players. Complete players make the major leagues and succeed there.

While Luis may not hit for power or steal 50 bases, elite up-the-middle defenders who can hit have peak value now and every team seems to be grooming them in the minors.

Two things keep jumping out: Award-winning-caliber defense and getting on base 34% of the time. Think the Mets could use a player like that right now? Wilfredo Tovar, another defensive wizard has played for the Mets and got a good look in spring this year. Omar Quintanilla has made a career around hitting just enough and playing just enough defense to see major league time for years. There's Rey Ordonez, who Guillorme has drawn comparisons to. Andrelton Simmons. Even Juan Lagares has demonstrated the value of elite up-the-middle defense.

Guillorme has a better glove than Tovar and Quintanilla. It’s better than Ruben Tejada, another glove/OBP player. When you have at least one tool as good as Luis’ glove is, the decision-makers notice.

However, to say Luis’ game stops there would be myopic. He gets on base. He stole six bases in 41 games. And, he has been putting the reps in to improve the bat, his power, and his speed. On a personal level, I just like cheering for this guy. He agreed to give an entry-level writer an interview during a busy time in his year. He sports awesome facial hair and is active and entertaining on social media. If that's not enough, wait until you see him stick it at short. 

Even if the young Guillorme matches what he did last year a level or two higher than last—a performance he suggests disappointed him—how could fans not start to get excited about him?


4 comments:

Craig Brown said...

Nice interview Stephen,

Guillorme was one of a bunch of really interesting guys the Mets drafted last year...Lots of really athletic types who just need to learn how to get on base 3.5 times out of ten....

Michi L. said...

Great post!!
I really like him. Maybe he suprise us all and become a Simmons caliber player. Hope he starts in brooklyn

Mack Ade said...

It's going to be interesting how the Mets play out their young shortstops.

First, and most important, none will be rushed. These guys can not help the 2014 or the 2015 Mets.

The assumption is Q will go north' leaving Wilfredo Tovar to backup Flores.

Matt Reynolds will be the starting SS in Binghamton, who, right now, do not have a utility infielder in camp.

The Mets could send Phillip Evans to Binghamton and then you have to pick between Amed Rosario and Gavin Cecchini to play either in St. Lucie or Savannah (Dimas Ponce will UT in Savannah).

Now you have three guys all fighting it out for the Cyclones job... Jeff McNeil, Victor Cruzado, and Guillorme.

Mack Ade said...

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