- Full name Deolis Alexander Guerra
- Born 04/17/1989 in San Felix, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 245 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Escuelas Las Californias
- Debut 06/27/2015
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Bill Smith Era ended with Carlos Gomez having given the Twins the greatest return among the prospects acquired from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade in 2008. In Gomez's case, that meant one year of starting for Minnesota before getting dealt to the Brewers for one year of J.J. Hardy. The book isn't completely closed on the Santana deal, however, thanks to Guerra's second-half turnaround in 2011. Originally signed for $700,000 by the Mets, he has a 5.55 ERA as a Twin. His 2011 ERA sat at 9.00 on June 1, when he made his 10th and final start for New Britain. After moving to the bullpen, he posted a 2.77 ERA, .191 opponent average and 65-13 K-BB ratio in 52 innings. Guerra often pitched backward as a starter but attacks hitters as a reliever. He uses his fastball to set up his plus changeup instead of the other way around. Guerra's fastball bumped up from 90-92 to 92-94 mph once he moved to the bullpen. His sinking, fading changeup remains a weapon. His curveball, once a glaring weakness, now grades as fringy and gets some swings and misses. Guerra has starter's stuff but needed the move to the bullpen to give him the aggressiveness he lacked. He'll challenge for a spot in Minnesota's revamped bullpen in 2012.
The most notable product of the Johan Santana trade for the Twins has been more trades. Minnesota got Kevin Mulvey, whom they traded to the Diamondbacks for Jon Rauch; and Carlos Gomez, whom they traded to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy in November. Philip Humber departed as a minor league free agent, leaving Guerra the last player from the deal still with the Twins. He signed with the Mets for $700,000 in 2005, but some scouts and managers who saw him last year can't get past the fact that a big, physical righty is essentially a finesse pitcher. Guerra has one plus pitch, a changeup with sink and good arm speed. His fastball is fringy, sitting at 89-90 mph and touching 92 with modest life, and his curveball is no better. His heater reached 94-95 mph in the Mets system but he didn't command it, and now he has lost life and velocity, with the Twins unsure if they'll come back. They say he uses his fastball and curve enough, but admit he gets predictable and leans on the changeup as an out pitch. He retires lefthanders (.234 opponent average in 2009) much more easily than righthanders (.305), evidence of just how much stronger his changeup is than his fastball and curve. He has improved his control but needs better fastball command to become more than just a piece of trade trivia. Added to the 40-man roster in November, Guerra will return to Double-A in 2010 after pitching in the Venezuelan League over the winter.
Guerra was the biggest pitching prospect (physically and in terms of reputation) to come from the Mets in the Johan Santana deal. Signed out of Venezuela in 2005 for $700,000, Guerra was on the fast-track with New York. In 2007, he hit 95 mph with his fastball and showed a plus changeup as an 18-year-old in high Class A. He even pitched in the Futures Game in San Francisco. But he was far from the same pitcher after the trade, enduring a difficult season with his new organization. Whether Twins coaches altered Guerra or he altered himself is a matter of debate in the organization, but something changed with Guerra, who lost any consistency in his delivery. He threw different pitches from different release points and showed a stiff, stabbing arm action that Minnesota scouts didn't see in 2007. He topped out at 90 mph and sat in the mid- to upper 80s for most of 2008. His changeup still showed signs of being a plus pitch, and club officials do believe he can spin a breaking ball, which was a concern earlier in his career. Most distressing, one Twins official described him as having a "low-energy" body, and he'll have to get in better shape. Two things salvaged the year for Guerra. He threw a career-high 130 innings, and he made adjustments in instructional league that brought back most of his velocity. Minnesota will see which Guerra shows up in spring training, though he's expected to a make a fourth trip to high Class A in any case.
Last April, many 17-year-old Americans were heading off to high school proms. Guerra, who signed for $700,000 in 2005, was starting on Opening Day for high Class A St. Lucie. He also pitched in the Futures Game in San Francisco, recovering from a bout with shoulder tendinitis that sidelined him for most of May. Guerra has two present above-average pitches that could become well above-average. His fastball had below-average velocity for most of his first season, but now it ranges from 89- 94 mph and touches 96. He features excellent arm speed on his changeup, his best offering since he signed, and it should become a big league out pitch once he commands it. While Guerra's curveball remains a below-average pitch, he has shown an ability to spin the ball and it projects as an average offering. At 18, Guerra still is learning the finer arts of pitching, such as holding runners, fielding his position and pitch sequences. Guerra has thrown just 179 pro innings and has plenty of projection in his big-shouldered frame. The Mets have monitored Guerra's workload carefully, and his next goal will be to stay healthy and pass the 100-inning level.
After signing for $700,000 as the top prospect coming out of Venezuela in 2005, Guerra was challenged with an assignment to the South Atlantic League as the circuit's youngest player in 2006. He responded by shaking off a rocky start to go 6-5, 1.90 in the last three months and earn a late promotion to high Class A. Guerra stands out most with a feel for his changeup that's exceptional for a teenager. He maintains his normal arm action, setting up a fastball that sits at 88-90 mph and touches 92. His frame should allow for more velocity as he matures, making the gap between his changeup and fastball all the more difficult for hitters. Guerra's curveball is below average. He lacks confidence in his curve, and it has poor rotation and depth. The tilt and velocity on his breaking ball changes as he tries to figure it out, and it's possible it could morph into a slider. His delivery is repeatable but too slow and mechanical. With a little more velocity and an average curveball, Guerra would establish himself as an elite prospect. Time is certainly on his side, as he'll begin the season at age 17, making him a safe bet to be the youngest player in the Florida State League.
Joining Fernando Martinez as the second of the Mets' two major Latin American signings last summer, Guerra agreed to a $700,000 bonus. Regarded as the top amatuer prospect in Venezuela in 2005, he oozes projection and already sits at 90 mph and touches 92 with his fastball, which he throws on a nice downhill plane. He also has an advanced feel for his changeup and a developing power curveball. He operates with a clean delivery and a loose, effortless arm action. Guerra's biggest weakness is an inability to maintain his arm slot. He's at his best when he comes over the top, but he has a tendency to drop down to the side, minimizing the effect of his great extension. The Mets believe Guerra already possesses two plus pitches and see him as a possible front-of-the-rotation starter. Although advanced for his age, he will likely need to cut his teeth in Rookie ball before getting a shot at Brooklyn or Hagerstown.
Minor League Top Prospects
There's still a lot of projection left with Guerra, who didn't turn 18 until after the FSL season began, and his present stuff already is solid. He gained an extra 3-4 mph on his fastball this year, jumping at times to a consistent 92-93 mph with some late life. He doesn't always maintain that velocity, as he sometimes sits at 89-90. Guerra has developed much more confidence in his changeup, which has good deception as long as he maintains his arm speed. He struggles to locate his curveball and it gets loopy at times. His curve has the potential to be a plus pitch, but for now he lacks a true out pitch, which explains his less-than-stellar strikeout rate (6.6 per nine innings in the FSL). Guerra uses his 6-foot-5 frame well, pitching on a downhill plane that causes problems for hitters. He has a good frame and an easy delivery, though he did miss a month with shoulder tendinitis.
The SAL's youngest player, Guerra never allowed more than two earned runs in any of his 17 outings. The Mets did keep him on tight pitch counts, but his 2.20 ERA still would have ranked third in the league if he had enough innings to qualify. He excelled at age 17 mainly on the strength of his changeup, showing an advanced feel for the pitch. "He has plus arm action on it, which is rare for a guy that young," a NL scout said. "It was fairly straight, but had a little late fade and parachuted at the end." Guerra already is 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, and he exhibits precocious command of his 86-90 mph fastball. He should add velocity as he continues to mature, which will make his changeup more effective. His curveball needs a lot of work, as it has poor rotation and depth. His delivery is repeatable, but it's deliberate and he would be better served by increasing his pace.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Changeup in the Minnesota Twins in 2013
- Rated Best Changeup in the Minnesota Twins in 2012
- Rated Best Changeup in the Minnesota Twins in 2010
- Rated Best Changeup in the Minnesota Twins in 2009
- Rated Best Changeup in the New York Mets in 2008
- Rated Best Changeup in the New York Mets in 2007