Ronald Guzman is one of the big money signings out of Latin America in 2011, part of a crop that included Nomar Mazara and Yohander Mendez. Guzman was seen as one of the safer signees (to the extent a teenager with little experience in actual games can be considered "safe"), getting significant praise for his hit tool and his advanced approach.
Guzman was part of the group of high-ceiling Hickory players who we followed in 2013, which included Mazara, Lewis Brinson, Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro, and while he went back to Hickory to start 2014, he was considered to be one of the best players on that year's squad, and appeared primed to be promoted to high-A at some point in 2014.
Instead, he had a tremendously disappointing year, getting deactivated earlier in the season for being late and putting up an overall .218/.283/.330 line. Guzman is a true first baseman who doesn't have the tools to be anywhere else -- if he doesn't hit, he doesn't have any value, and he didn't hit last year.
2015 started off a little better, with Guzman putting up a .309/.346/.433 line in 24 games at Hickory before moving up to high-A High Desert in the California League, but he had a mid-season slump that included a .235/.245/.337 line in the month of June, leading him to drop off the radar for a lot of folks.
Interestingly, though, Guzman has shown significant improvement as the season has gone on. He bounced back from his awful June with a .296/.330/.418 line in July, and is crushing it in August, hitting .351/.402/.567. Since July 9 (arbitrary endpoint warning), Guzman has hit .340/.383/.531 in 175 plate appearances over 43 games, with a .419 BABIP, 14 doubles, 4 triples and 3 home runs, and 36 Ks against 12 walks.
Yes, it is the Cal League, and yes, it is just a 6-7 week stretch of time, but still, this is encouraging...the BABIP and the extra base hits suggest that Guzman is squaring up the ball and making hard contact, and while there aren't a ton of homers, he's just 20, at as he grows older and gets stronger, the thinking is that some of the doubles and triples (his current pace since July 9 would be for 62 of them over a 600 plate appearance stretch) will turn into homers.
The minor league season is almost over, and hopefully, Guzman will be able to finish the season strong. The Arizona Fall League rosters are supposed to be announced on August 31, and it will be interesting to see if Guzman might be part of the the Rangers' AFL contingent, getting a chance to play against a higher level of competition.