- Full name Angel Moises Guzman
- Born 12/14/1981 in Caracas, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 04/26/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
Guzman was on a roll in Double-A and bucking for a big league callup in mid-2003 when he was diagnosed with a slight tear in his labrum. Though he required only arthroscopic surgery, he has pitched just 66 innings since. The Cubs were enthused by reports he was throwing 93- 96 mph in the Arizona Fall League. Before he got hurt, Guzman had arguably the best fastball, curveball and changeup in the system. The velocity and hard sink have returned with his fastball. He always has excelled at throwing strikes, and that hasn't changed. Guzman needs to trust his stuff and his health. He missed most of 2005 with forearm stiffness. He hasn't used his curveball much since his return, and his changeup isn't the plus pitch it once was. He must command both pitches better in the strike zone. It's impossible to count on Guzman or to even know what to expect from him, but he still has one of the highest ceilings in the system. If all goes well in spring training, he could start 2006 in Double-A and make his big league debut later in the year.
Guzman was pushing for his first big league promotion in June 2003 before his shoulder acted up. Following his arthroscopic surgery to repair a slight labrum tear, the Cubs handled him cautiously in 2004, shutting him down in July because he was tired after working nonstop on his rehab. Before he got hurt, Guzman had an explosive 91-96 mph sinker, a sharp curveball and a deceptive changeup. All were plus-plus pitches at times. His velocity came back last summer, as did his above-average control. He throws strikes and keeps the ball down in the zone. Guzman's secondary pitches and location haven't gotten back to where they were, though that was expected. They should return in 2005. He still has to prove his health and durability, as he has worked more than 90 innings just once in five pro seasons. Assuming Guzman recaptures his previous stuff, he would give Chicago a fourth homegrown frontline starter alongside Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs will continue to bring him back slowly, probably starting him in Double-A this year.
The Cubs thought Guzman was ready to make a Mark Prior-like ascent in 2003, beginning the season in Double-A West Tenn and getting to the majors by midseason. If Chicago didn't have so much pitching, he could have pressed for a big league job. Guzman led the Cubs with a 1.13 ERA in the Cactus League, and his teammates voted him the most impressive rookie in big league camp. He caught fire in late May, going 3-1, 1.01 over his next five starts. After shutting out eventual Southern League champion Carolina for seven innings on June 20, Guzman was picked to pitch in the Futures Game and would have been the logical callup when Prior hurt his shoulder in mid-July. But Guzman never threw another pitch in 2003, as his shoulder was bothering him. Doctors diagnosed a slight tear in his labrum, and he had it corrected with arthroscopic surgery. The Cubs added him to the 40-man roster for the first time in October. His brother Daniel pitches in the Indians system. Guzman has enjoyed nothing but success since the Cubs gave him a second chance. The Royals originally signed him for $5,500 but voided his contact after he failed his physical. After landing with Chicago for $30,000, he has gone 24-9, 2.33. Guzman's fastball and changeup are the best in the Cubs system, and his curveball ranks near the top. When they're on, they're each 70 pitches on the 20-80 scouting scale. Notable for both its velocity (91-96 mph) and explosive sink, his fastball may be the best of his offerings. His development accelerated in 2002 when he regained the curve he flashed when he signed. Managers rated Guzman's command the best in the Southern League, and he not only throws strikes but also keeps the ball down in the zone. He has permitted just one homer per 23.7 innings as a pro. He shows a lot of athleticism and poise on the mound. Guzman's mechanics and easy delivery augured well for his health--before his shoulder injury. Now the Cubs are holding their breath and hoping he comes back with the stuff he had before he was sidelined. His rehabilitation was going well at the Cubs' spring-training base in Mesa, Ariz., but they won't know for sure until he takes the mound in a game situation. He also had a stress fracture in his elbow during his first pro season in 2000. Guzman's physical condition is the only concern at this point. He was ready for the major leagues when he got hurt. The Cubs are going to take things slowly with Guzman's valuable right arm. He'll be back in big league camp this spring, but he may not make his 2004 debut until May. He likely will return to Double-A to begin his comeback. Guzman has the stuff of a No. 1 starter, though he may never rise above No. 3 if Prior and Kerry Wood stay in Chicago.
The Cubs thought Guzman was headed for a breakout 2002 season, and they were correct. In his first taste of full-season ball, he breezed through two Class A leagues and led Chicago minor leaguers in wins (11) and ERA (2.19). That earned him a nonroster invitation to big league camp. After his promotion to high Class A Daytona, Guzman regained the curveball he had when he signed three years earlier. At times, all three of his pitches graded as 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also throws a 91-96 mph fastball with explosive sinking life and the best changeup in the system. He's athletic, throws strikes and has a feel for pitching. His delivery is effortless. Guzman needs only to make subtle adjustments, such as improving his location within the strike zone and pitching inside more often. Maintaining the curveball he had in the second half of 2002 would be huge. Guzman is set to begin the year at Double-A West Tenn. Some Cubs officials believe he could move from there to Wrigley Field as quickly as Mark Prior did last season.
The Cubs think they're sitting on two pitching prospects who will have breakthrough seasons in 2002: Guzman and Felix Sanchez, who ranks right behind him on this list. Guzman already made some noise in his U.S. debut last year, leading the Northwest League in wins and earning all-star recognition. He usually throws in the low 90s but can get his fastball up to 94-95 mph, something that should happen with more regularity as he gets stronger. Besides velocity, his fastball also has a lot of sink and life, and he throws it so effortlessly that it gets on hitters in a hurry. Guzman's curveball and changeup could give him three plus pitches by the time he reaches the majors. He has fine control and poise, having no trouble battling older hitters in the NWL and in Venezuela this winter. The Cubs believe all he'll need is continued health and more experience. He'll probably start 2002 in low Class A with a chance to earn a promotion before season's end.
Minor League Top Prospects
Guzman shut out Carolina for seven innings on three hits June 20, but didn't pitch again because of a shoulder injury. After arthroscopic surgery to repair a minor tear in his labrum, he should be healthy for spring training. "It's going to be a matter of feel for him when he comes back," West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson said. "His command sets him apart. He really had the feel for his breaking ball and changeup this year." When healthy, Guzman showed why he could become the latest power young arm to join the already stocked Cubs rotation. He showed above-average command of his fastball, curveball and changeup. All three were plus pitches at times, though his injury had sapped some velocity from his fastball by the time he was shelved. He had been throwing in the 95-96 mph range early in the season.
Managers considered Guzman a few notches below Rosario and Buchholz but still projected him as a potential frontline starter. After leading the short-season Northwest League with nine victories last year, he pitched well in both the low Class A Midwest League and the FSL this year. His combined 2.19 ERA topped all Cubs farmhands. Though he throws 91-96 mph, FSL hitters batted .268 against him. He'll need to improve his command in the strike zone and work inside more effectively, adjustments Guzman should be able to make. And he did keep the ball in the park, allowing just two homers in 369 at-bats. Guzman made improvement with his curveball following his promotion. However, some observers believe his arm slot might be more conducive to throwing a slider.
Despite trading Willis, the Cubs still had plenty of intriguing arms for Lansing. Guzman rated a cut above lefthander Felix Sanchez and righties Jae-Kuk Ryu and Sergio Mitre. Guzman lasted just nine starts before Chicago deemed him ready for high Class A, a jump he handled with ease. Guzman's maturity and mechanics are outstanding for a 20-year-old. He throws a 93-94 mph fastball with little effort, and his changeup was his second-best pitch in the MWL. His curveball improved after he moved up to the FSL. "He has outstanding makeup," said Regan, who managed Guzman in Venezuela last winter. "He has a pretty good fastball, but the thing I like is he'll get to 3-2 and drop a curveball over and get you out. He changes speeds well and competes."
Only a loss in his last start of the year against last-place Spokane spoiled Guzman's debut season in the U.S. The slight Venezuelan led the league in victories and finished second to Foppert in ERA. Guzman was especially effective away from Boise's Memorial Stadium, posting a 1.03 ERA in 35 road innings without allowing a home run. He showed a smooth, fluid delivery that helped the ball jump out of his hand and get on top of hitters quickly. Though his fastball occasionally touched 94-95 mph, he pitched at 90-91 and showed excellent command. Guzman's changeup and curveball also are solid pitches for his age. "That whole staff had great pitchability," Stanley said. "Guzman isn't blistering, but he's got great command and can throw his offspeed stuff for strikes. He'd throw a 3-1 or 3-2 changeup, and hitters at this level aren't ready for that."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the Chicago Cubs in 2005
- Rated Best Changeup in the Chicago Cubs in 2004
- Rated Best Fastball in the Chicago Cubs in 2004