Guzman Hopes For Fresh Start With Orioles
BALTIMORE—Joel Guzman used to be a top prospect in the Dodgers organization. Now he's just another player in the Orioles farm system after signing a minor league deal in February that didn't include a spring training invite.
Talk about working your way back up.
Guzman received a $2.25 million signing bonus out of the Dominican Republic back in 2001, which was a record for an international player. He was voted the Dodgers' minor league player of the year in '04, and Baseball America named him the organization's No. 1 prospect the following year.
So much has changed for Guzman, but the Orioles are willing to help him get re-established. What have they got to lose?
"He's got a lot of power and athleticism and can play multiple positions," farm director David Stockstill said. "We look for him to try and make our Triple-A club. He can help at first, third and the outfield, but we also have a lot of competition for those spots. If it turns out that it is best that he plays at Double-A, that's an option, also."
Guzman batted .281/.352/.447 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs in 385 at-bats at Double-A Harrisburg, and .121/.171/.121 with two RBIs in 33 at-bats at Triple-A Syracuse.
Stockstill is hoping that Guzman, 25, will provide an experienced bat in the middle of Triple-A Norfolk's or Bowie's order.
"He's done it in the past," Stockstill said. "He's driven in runs before and he doesn't strike out that much. He hit .272 in the Dominican Winter League versus some tough pitching. He battles with the bat."
• Righthander Brian Parker has been suspended for the first 50 games of the 2010 season after a second positive test for a drug of abuse that violates the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Parker led high Class A Frederick with 35 appearances last year while going 4-3, 4.31 with 64 strikeouts in 65 innings.
• The Orioles signed lefthander Will Startup to a minor league contract. Startup, who's expected to join Bowie, missed most of the past two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He's posted a 2.70 ERA in four minor league seasons.