Rangers players jogging in Surprise - USA TODAY Sports
Taking a look at the #10 prospect in the LSB Community Prospect Rankings, Ronald Guzman
Ronald Guzman is an 18 year old lefthanded hitting first baseman/outfielder, who the Rangers gave a $3.5 million bonus to in July, 2011, as part of their huge J-2 class this past year (which may have helped prompt MLB to impose new spending rules on the league).
Guzman is listed at 6'5" and 205 lbs., and as a guy still in his teens, figures to have room to develop physically, although Jason Cole tweeted this weekend from Surprise that Guzman has added muscle since last year.
While the Rangers have tended to focus on athletes in their amateur signings, Guzman is a hitter, pure and simple. Baseball America, in their pre-signing write-up on Guzman, projected that he would get the second-highest bonus of all the J-2 players, despite Guzman having a below-average arm and below-average speed, which would limit him to either left field or first base. BA also noted that there were concerns about his bat speed, which would reduce his power potential, although his swing and "advanced hitting approach" earned high marks. Jason Parks, in September, 2011, said, “I will continue to claim that Guzman is the most impressive 16 year-old prospect I’ve ever seen.”
Guzman spent the 2012 season playing for the Rangers’ complex team in the Arizona Rookie League, putting up a .321/.374/.434 line in 235 plate appearances. Guzman ended up at #12 in the Baseball America rankings for the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.
For 2013, I suspect Guzman will go to low-A Hickory, and join an incredible collection of talent there that will likely include Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, Nick Williams, and Nomar Mazara.
As far as the future goes, before folks get too excited about Guzman filling the Rangers' need for a quality hitting first baseman, remember that if Guzman were an American player, he'd be a high school senior right now. He wouldn't even be draft-eligible until the 2013 draft. In terms of ceiling, Jason Parks compares him to Eric Hosmer, and Hosmer was an advanced high school bat who was drafted in 2008 and made his major league debut in 2011. If Guzman were to follow that timeline, he'd be in the majors in 2016...and remember, that's a best-case scenario.
If you wanted to dream, what is Guzman's ceiling? His best case projection is as a slow, defensively limited player likely confined to first base, but who can hit for some power and draw walks while hitting .300...basically, Guzman's ceiling is Adrian Gonzalez. If you want to dream, you can imagine Jon Daniels signed the guy who could fix the biggest mistake Daniels has made as g.m. -- trading away Gonzalez as a throw-in in a deal for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.