Blue Jays’ Taylor Guerrieri seeking fresh start in Toronto

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Taylor Guerrieri
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Taylor Guerrieri /

The Toronto Blue Jays claimed 24-year-old hurler Taylor Guerrieri off waivers yesterday from the Tampa Bay Rays, the once-promising first-round draft pick will attempt to overcome injuries and a previous drug suspension as Guerrieri seeks a fresh start north of the border.

Taylor Guerrieri was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 24th selection of the 2011 amateur draft, many thought the high-schooler was talented enough to go top 10 in the draft however his maturity and makeup came into question as it does with many 18-year olds. The Rays inked Guerrieri for nearly double the estimated slot value locking him up to a $1.6 million signing bonus.

The young hurler has been dominant at every minor league level he has ascended to, however, injuries have stalled his climb to the majors. In 2013 Guerrieri underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, the injury saw him miss nearly the entire 2014 campaign albeit for 9.1 innings scattered between 5 appearances.

Guerrieri also got collared for a drug abuse suspension for marihuana that cost him 50 games, thankfully the pitcher was able to serve the suspension while rehabbing from his injury in 2014. The injury bug caught up to the 24-year old once again last season as Guerrieri missed nearly the entire season once again with elbow issues however the injury did not require any further surgeries. He once again only pitched 9.1 innings in 2017 because of the elbow ailment.

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When healthy Guerrieri’s repertoire features a mid-90’s fastball with a fall off the table curveball and with a change-up. In 2016 the hurler was the Rays 6th best organizational prospect and 3rd best pitching prospect behind only Blake Snell and Brent Honeywell. Guerrieri has also been featured on the Baseball America Top 100 List climbing to 62nd best-ranked prospect in 2013.

In 81 professional games in the minors including 77 as a starter, Guerrieri is 25-13 with a 2.51 earned run average and a 1.062 WHIP while fanning 279 batters in 361.2 innings of work. The right-hander began last season the with Triple-A Durham making two starts and accumulating a 2.89 earned run average before hitting the disabled list.

Guerrieri is an extreme groundball pitcher who projects well for the homer-happy Rogers Centre as the Jays could give him a look at the 5th spot in the rotation if healthy which apparently he is at this point in time.

While adding Guerrieri to their roster yesterday the Jays coupled the move with outrighting Leonel Campos, Luis Santos, Taylor Cole and Rafael Lopez off the 40-man roster.

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The addition of the former Rays hurler is a high upside move that could pay dividends if Guerrieri can capitalize on the fresh start and remain on the field. The sky is the limit for the talented hurler.