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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 40: Jordan Guerrero

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The southpaw’s struggles in 2019 at Charlotte are further delaying his shot at the bigs

Figure 8 ... ERA: It’s been a truly horrendous start to 2019 for the once-ascendant pitching prospect.
Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Jordan Guerrero
6´3´´
195 pounds
Throws: Left
Age: 24
2018 SSS Top Prospect Rank: 21
SSS rank among all left-handed starting pitchers in the system: 4

Guerrero, a native of Oxnard, Calif., was drafted in the 15th round by the White Sox as a lanky, 165-pound southpaw from Moorpark High School. His first two years were spent with Bristol, where he combined for a 3.93 ERA and 1.46 WHIP by allowing 41 hits (.301 OBA) and nine walks (6.2 BB%), while striking out 21 (14.5 K%) Appalachian League hitters over just 34 innings of work.

The spotlight started shining on Guerrero after a stellar 2014 with Kannapolis, in which he pitched in 27 games (nine starts) encompassing 78 innings. He enjoyed a 3.46 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, allowing 81 hits (.266 OBA) and 27 walks (8.0 BB%) while striking out 80 (23.8 K%).

He began the 2015 season as the No. 28 White Sox prospect according to MLB Pipeline, ascending to No. 9 in midseason rankings during a successful campaign with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, where Guerrero combined for 3.08 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 149 innings while allowing just 124 hits (.230 OBA) and 31 walks (5.3 BB%) and striking out 148 (25.1 K%).

Although Guerrero began the 2016 season as the White Sox’s No. 6 prospect, the wheels started falling off in Birmingham that year. Normally the possessor of terrific control, Guerrero walked more hitters (73) in 136 innings than he did in his previous three years (252 1⁄3 innings) combined. His walk rate increased to 12.2%, his punchout rate decreased to 18.1%, and his OBA increased to .260. As a result, his ERA and WHIP rose drastically, to 4.83 and 1.51.

Due to a combination of his 2016 slump and the acquisition of several elite prospects, Guerrero dropped to No. 21 in the organization’s MLB Pipeline rankings. He returned to Birmingham in 2017 with numbers that basically split his 2015 and 2016 results. Guerrero pitched his way to a 4.18 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 146 1⁄3 innings while allowing 150 hits (.270 OBA) and 43 walks (7.0 BB%), striking out 136 (22.1 K%). Despite the improvements, Guerrero fell off many prospect lists (including MLB Pipeline) and was left unprotected in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, to the disgruntlement of Guerrero and many White Sox fans. However, he went unclaimed.

The White Sox surprised many by leaving Guerrero, Spencer Adams, and Jordan Stephens in Birmingham to begin 2018. While Stephens excelled to start the year and was promoted relatively quickly, Adams and Guerrero both struggled out of the gate. Prior to his promotion on June 29, Guerrero suffered through a rather unsightly season, with a 6.06 ERA and 1.58 ERA over 65 1⁄3 innings, allowing 84 hits (.315 OBA) and 19 walks (6.5 BB%) while striking out 58 (19.8 K%) Southern League hitters. A light switch seemed to turn on for Guerrero upon his promotion to Charlotte, as he pitched quite effectively despite working in a much more hitter-friendly ballpark. In 65 innings for the Knights, Guerrero’s ERA and WHIP fell to 3.46 and 1.42 by allowing just 64 hits (.251 OBA) and 28 walks (9.8 BB%) and inducing opponents to whiff 62 times (21.8 K%).

Guerrero has a fastball that can run up to 94 mph according to FanGraphs, but typically clocks in the lower 90s. His changeup is considered by most scouts to be his best pitch — some sites, like FanGraphs, grade it a 60. Guerrero gets in trouble sometimes by living exclusively with the change, which typically works best as a secondary pitch if there’s a big enough disparity between it and the fastball. A third pitch for Guerrero is a curveball, which is average at best, but has hittable slurvy action at its worst. Guerrero’s fourth pitch is a slider, which he’s deployed much more during the past couple of years. Over the course of his career, righties have only hit Guerrero slightly better than lefties; however, while his change works well against righties, Guerrero doesn’t have a consistent out pitch against lefties, as his slider and curve are still works in progress.

Guerrero has started 2019 in Charlotte and has done little to force his way to Chicago, despite early injuries creating spot-start opportunities; he’s 1-3 with an 8.88 ERA in the early going, 2.408 WHIP swelled by surrendering 49 hits in 25 13 innings.


Take a look!

I’m not a tattoo guy in the least, but the Durham announcer’s “Guerrero’s got more tattoos than a lady at the circus on his arms, up and down the left arm and the right arm ... when he gets to be my age he’s going to wish he didn’t have any of them” qualifies for the Tone Deaf 2018 Award for crappy MiLB broadcasting.


2019 South Side Sox Top 100 Prospects

40. Jordan Guerrero, LHSP
41. Tyler Frost, RF
42. Danny Mendick, SS
43. Yeyson Yrizarri, SS
44. Kade McClure, RHSP
45. Luis Mieses, CF
46. Ti’quan Forbes, 3B
47. Thyago Vieira, RHRP
48. Corey Zangari, 1B
49. Yermin Mercedes, C
50. Anderson Comas, RF
51. Gunnar Troutwine, C
52. Codi Heuer, RHSP
53. Andrew Perez, LHRP
54. Josue Guerrero, LF
55. Jacob Lindgren, LHRP
56. Ryan Cordell, CF
57. Joel Booker, LF
58. Bennett Sousa, LHRP
59. Blake Battenfield, RHSP
60. Caberea Weaver, CF
61. Matt Foster, RHRP
62. Tate Blackman, 2B
63. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
64. Romy González, CF
65. Carlos Perez, C
66. Trey Michalczewski, 3B
67. Taylor Varnell, LHSP
68. John Parke, LHSP
69. Mike Morrison, RHRP
70. Zach Remillard, 3B
71. Luis Martinez, RHSP
72. Zach Lewis, RHSP
73. José Nin, RHRP
74. Colton Turner, LHSP
75. Jhoandro Alfonso, C
76. Ramon Beltre, 2B
77. Charlie Tilson, CF
78. Hunter Kiel, RHRP
79. Jason Bilous, RHSP
80. Nick Johnson, RHRP
81. Danny Dopico, RHRP
82. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
83. Logan Sowers, RF
84. Maiker Feliz, 3B
85. Brayan Herrera, RHSP
86. Craig Dedelow, LF
87. Wilber Pérez, RHSP
88. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
89. Johan Dominguez, RHRP
90. Mitch Roman, 2B
91. Ty Greene, C
92. Tanner Banks, LHSP
93. Jake Elliott, RHRP
94. Kevin Escorcia, LHRP
95. Luis Rodriguez, RHSP
96. Ian Dawkins, LF
97. Victor Diaz, RHRP
98. Travis Moniot, LF
99. Will Kincanon, RHRP
100. Brian Clark, LHRP


More information on South Side Top Prospects.