Monday, February 25, 2013

Ben Guez – The Next Quintin Berry?

Last off-season the Tigers signed Quintin Berry to a minor league deal.  Little was known about Berry at the time except that he was a career minor leaguer and that he can run really, really fast.  It was a depth move; the idea was the Berry would be replacing the likes of Timo Perez in AAA and be insurance in case there was an injury to the major league outfield.  Berry was never really considered a prospect for the Phillies, Padres or Reds and was hardly ever on the prospect radar or considered to contribute much at the ML level.

As it would happen, the Tigers did suffer injuries in their outfield, so much so that Matt Young was called up for a few games (remember him?).  But when Austin Jackson got injured, the Tigers needed a natural centerfielder.  Enter Quintin Berry.  Berry brought excitment to the team, hitting .337/.409/.434/.842 in his first 94 PA.  Then he hit only .226/.299/.322/.621 in his remaining 236 PA and showing why he was a career minor leaguer and fighting for a roster spot in Spring Training this year.  The big excitement was his 21/21 in stolen bases and the thunderous clap. 

Like Quintin Berry, Ben Guez is a career minor leaguer and has never been on the prospect radar.  Like Berry, he’s never been discussed in contributing at the ML level, not even as a bench player or as insurance as an emergency call-up.  At 26 years old, he’s one year younger than Berry was when he made his major league debut last year.   Unlike Berry, Guez has moved up the minor league ranks faster and has significant playing time at AAA, hitting .284/.379/.455/.834 in 82 games with Toledo.  According to Minor League Central, Guez doesn’t show much of a platoon split, hitting .307/.388/.475/.863 against lefies and .287/.416/.464/.880 against righties between AA and AAA last year.  Defensively, Guez has the ability to play all 3 outfield positions, but LF is probably his best position.

If the Tigers experience injuries to the outfield this year, Ben Guez might just get the call-up this time, especially if they need a right-handed bat.  Andy Dirks, Brennan Boesch and Quintin Berry are all left-handed hitters, so Guez provides something different, especially if Jeff Kobernus doesn't make the team.  The overall lack of depth in the Tigers minor leagues is also a major contribution.  If the Tigers had a deeper system, Quintin Berry probably never plays in the majors last year.  The Tigers top two position player prospects are both outfielders, Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia, but both aren’t considered quite ready for the majors yet.  Therefore, Guez could find himself next in line for the majors.  

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