- Full name Freddy Antonio Guzman
- Born 01/20/1981 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 165 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- Debut 08/17/2004
Organization Prospect Rankings
Detroit manager Jim Leyland has often said that he would like to have more speed on his team, and Guzman is among the fastest players in the game. The Tigers are eager to see what Guzman can do after acquiring him from the Rangers in exchange for first baseman Chris Shelton during the Winter Meetings. Guzman is an older prospect, but he still has plus-plus speed and very good baserunning instincts. He stole 90 bases during the 2003 season, when he played for three San Diego affiliates, and led the Pacific Coast League in 2007 with 56. Guzman has become a free swinger over time and must make more consistent contact in order to stick in the big leagues. He has a quick bat and some doubles power to the pull field but isn't strong or physical. His bunting ability is only average. He has good range in the outfield but his arm is erratic. He fits best in center field and profiles as a useful bench player. Guzman could force his way into the competition for a reserve role in Detroit if he has an impressive spring.
Two years after he was on the verge of winning the Padres' starting center-field job, Guzman was traded to the Rangers with righthander Cesar Rojas last May for John Hudgins and Vince Sinisi. After missing all of 2005 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Guzman won the Pacific Coast League stolen-base title with 42 after doing the same in 2004 with 48. He led the minors with 90 swipes in 2003 and has succeeded on 82 percent of his attempts as a pro. Guzman always has had well-above-average speed and good basestealing instincts, and he has improved his plate discipline and his bunting. His bat remains a question, however. He's not physical and never will hit for power, but if he continues to put the ball in play he could be a serviceable offensive player. Guzman is an outstanding defensive center fielder who gets excellent jumps and has the range to track down balls in both gaps. His arm remains below average, as it was before he blew out his elbow. Guzman profiles best as a fourth outfielder.
Guzman was poised to compete for San Diego's center-field job last spring before blowing out his throwing elbow. Tommy John surgery kept him out until he played in the Dominican League over the winter. The elbow injury had no effect on Guzman's best tool--game-changing speed. He impacts the game on the bases and in the field, and he led the minors with 90 steals in 2003. His center-field range borders on exceptional, as he gets good jumps and effortlessly reaches balls in both gaps. He's a contact hitter with decent plate discipline. Guzman's arm already was below-average, and could get worse after surgery. He doesn't always make good reads on balls, relying on his quickness to make up for mistakes. He pressed during his big league stint in 2004 and expanded his strike zone, undermining his ability to make use of his speed. The Padres traded for Mike Cameron, ending any longshot chance Guzman had of starting for them in 2006. He'll open the year in Triple-A and will push for a reserve job in the second half.
Guzman's prospect status took a hit after the 2002 season when his age was revised upward by 21⁄2 years. Still, he led the minors with 90 steals in 2003 and had another solid season last year, surfacing as San Diego's starting center fielder for two weeks in August. The Padres called him up for his defense, but his bat wasn't ready. Guzman has game-changing speed, with 253 stolen bases in 369 minor league games and an 83 percent success rate. Unlike many minor league burners, he has a solid understanding of the strike zone. Defensively, he accentuates his speed with good jumps, allowing him to effortlessly run down balls from gap to gap. Guzman has little power and tries to do too much at the plate instead of concentrating on reaching base. He can get out of control at times and expand his strike zone, a weakness that was exploited in the majors. He has a below-average arm. The Padres believe Guzman needs another half-season in Triple-A, so they acquired Dave Roberts as a stopgap in center field. Guzman could push Roberts to a bench role by July.
Guzman, previously known as Pedro de los Santos and thought to be 21⁄2 years younger, was the most significant player uncovered in an organizational crackdown on falsified identities in the 2002-03 offseason. But his prospect status soared after he moved from high Class A Lake Elsinore to Triple-A and led the minors with 90 steals while getting caught just 17 times. Not the fastest of the organization's crop of speedsters, Guzman is the best player among them. He has a nice stroke from both sides of the plate and the patience required of a leadoff man. No one on the big league club can chase balls down in center field like him. Guzman chases pitches in the dirt and at times tries to drive the ball, which isn't his game. His arm is well below-average. He's not lazy but must learn the importance of playing hard every day. The Padres didn't have a viable center fielder until they signed Jay Payton to a two-year contract in January. His acquisition allows Guzman to spend the 2004 season in Triple-A and break into the majors as a reserve in 2005.
Because the Immigration and Naturalization Service promised an even more stringent crackdown on falsified visa information this offseason, the Padres decided to conduct their own investigation. They uncovered an additional 18 players from the Dominican Republic playing under false names. The most prominent was Guzman, who was believed to be 31 months younger and was known as Pedro de los Santos when managers rated him the fastest baserunner in the Midwest League last year. He's one of several blazers with top-of-the-line speed in the system, joining the likes of Kennard Jones, Bernie Castro and Marcus Nettles. Though he has a nice stroke from both sides of the plate, he still needs to add strength and learn to hit breaking balls. Guzman made a nice transition from second base to center field last year, though his arm is below average. He's instinctive on the bases and was caught just 12 times in 81 steal attempts in 2002. The Padres felt Guzman had impact potential before they learned his true age, and now he's going to have to sink or swim in high Class A in 2003. He's raw for his revised age.
Minor League Top Prospects
Guzman is so tailor-made for the spacious gaps at Petco Park that San Diego handed him its center-field job in mid-August. The Padres weren't sure he was ready to hit in the majors, but they were in the midst of a pennant race and wanted his defense in the lineup. "Everything from left center to right center," Portland manager Craig Colbert said, "if it goes up in the air he'll get a glove on it." Guzman wasn't ready to hit but has the tools to be a leadoff hitter along the lines of Juan Pierre. He understands the importance of walks but needs to cut down his swing and worry about handling offspeed pitches rather than trying to crush fastballs. He also can use the bunt to get on base. He possesses tremendous speed and knows how to use it, leading the minors with 90 steals in 2003 and the PCL with 48 in just 66 games this year. Guzman covers plenty of ground in center field, though he can be a little reckless and has a weak arm.
Guzman led the minors with 90 steals while jetting from high Class A to Triple-A in 2003, but the Padres sent him back to Mobile to open this season. He didn't stay long, returning to the PCL at the end of May and making his big league debut in August. Guzman can be a potential impact player and an ideal leadoff hitter if he can get on base consistently. His speed and center-field range both rate at least a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. One scout compared him to Lance Johnson defensively because his superior speed makes up for a below-average arm. He shows good patience at the plate and has become an above-average bunter, which should allow Guzman to stay out of slumps. He also is an excellent basestealer, succeeding on 83 percent of his career steal attempts in the minors. He sometimes tries to do too much at the plate, however, and has to be reminded that his primary goal is just to get on base.
The Cal League featured three dynamic center fielders in Gathright, Guzman and Lancaster's Marland Williams. Each has impact potential based on speed alone, with Gathright the most advanced hitter. Guzman has more patience than Gathright, but both need to get stronger at the plate. Guzman's prospect status took a hit in the offseason, when he was revealed to be 31 months older than previously believed. But he helped his cause by advancing all the way to Triple-A and leading all minor leaguers with 90 steals, getting caught just 17 times. A former second baseman, he has made a swift transition to the outfield, showing plus range with a below-average arm.
Best Tools List
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Detroit Tigers in 2008
- Rated Best Baserunner in the Pacific Coast League in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Texas Rangers in 2007
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Texas Rangers in 2007
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Pacific Coast League in 2006
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the San Diego Padres in 2006
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the San Diego Padres in 2006
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the San Diego Padres in 2005
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the San Diego Padres in 2005
- Rated Fastest Baserunner in the Pacific Coast League in 2004
- Rated Best Baserunner in the Pacific Coast League in 2004