Columbia, S.C.—With his first 13 pitches, righthander Taylor Guerrieri made the long trip worthwhile for the scouts in attendance.
In the first inning of his final regular season game for Spring Valley High, Guerrieri mowed down the first three batters he faced. He struck out the side with a fastball that sat between 93-96 mph and a wicked curveball in the 81-83 mph range. Those would be the only two weapons Guerrieri would need on the night, as Spring Valley rolled to a 7-1 victory over Lexington (S.C.) High.
"I felt good tonight," Guerrieri said. "I took a little bit off my fastball to help me locate it and prove to people I can throw the ball where I want it."
About 20 scouts assembled behind home plate—including many high ranking executives for teams with single-digit picks—to get a good look at Guerrieri. Over six innings, he threw 76 pitches, struck out seven and allowed one unearned run on two singles and two walks. It was a great outing for scouts to see because he scuffled a little over his last few games.
"Even though the velocity was down from where it's been, that's probably the best he's pitched in a while," Spring Valley head coach Charlie Wentzky said. "He was able to locate, his fastball had a lot of run and his breaking ball was better tonight."
Guerrieri settled into the 91-93 mph range in the middle innings, but dialed it back up in the fifth inning, touching 96 three times. His 75th pitch was 95 mph. His fastball had a lot of armside run when he threw it inside to righthanded batters and sink to his glove side. He spotted the pitch well to both sides and generated a lot of groundballs and weak contact.
Guerrieri has an ideal 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame with broad shoulders, long arms and strong thighs. He stays inline to the plate in his delivery and uses his legs to generate effortless velocity. His curveball isn't always consistent—he got under a few in this outing—but when it's on, it's a true hammer. In his pregame warmup in the bullpen, Guerrieri threw a changeup with fade and a sharp cutter, but he didn't need those pitches in the game. Despite their limited use, those pitches certainly have potential and that's why he's projected to go in the top half of the first round this June.
"He has all the weapons," a scout in attendance said. "When you look at what big leaguers do, he does that already. He's a lot of fun to watch and I like him a lot, but he's the kind of pick that's not up to an area scout."
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