In the aftermath of the community prospect rankings wrapping up, we continue our write-ups for each Ranger prospect who finished in the top 25. Once again, I issue my usual caveat that I have no first-hand information about these guys, but am simply offering capsule scouting reports for each player based on the info that is out there, and that is a particularly big caveat in this case, since we're talking about a player for whom there is no statistical data available...
After the jump, we continue by taking a look at the #7 player in the LSB Community Prospect Rankings, first baseman/outfielder Ronald Guzman.
Ronald Guzman is a 17 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 6'4" and 195 lbs., and as a guy still in his teens, figures to have room to develop physically. 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.
How did a guy with no U.S. track record -- and who signed for significantly less than Nomar Mazara, another Ranger J-2 signee in 2011 -- end up so high in the rankings? Glowing scouting reports coming out of Instructionals, including this comment from Jason Parks in September:
I will continue to claim that Guzman is the most impressive 16 year-old prospect I’ve ever seen
Where does Guzman land in 2012? It is hard to say...if the Rangers really wanted to push him, they could put him in the Northwest League with Spokane when their season kicks off in July of this year. Rougned Odor and Jorge Alfaro played there as teenagers in 2011, as did Jurickson Profar in 2010, and given the high marks Guzman gets for his makeup and advanced approach, the Rangers may feel like he can handle that sort of challenge. Otherwise, he would likely end up playing for the Rangers' affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League, although a strong showing there could warrant a promotion at some point in the season.
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 junior 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.
Baseball Factory Under Armour All-America: Ronald Guzman (via baseballfactoryTV)