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March 29, 2005

by Fabian

One Week to Go (SG)

Rudy Guillen, 21, RF

Rudy Guillen, similar to Tim Battle, is a toolsy OF without a huge performance track record that I really like. Unlike Battle, Guillen does have a couple solid seasons under his belt; it’s just that his last one was nothing to write home about.

Coming off of a .260/.311/.414 season for the ’03 BC Yanks that landed him 3rd on BA’s list that year and 2nd on my list, Guillen only managed a .264/.313/.339 line in the FSL. I tried looking for some encouraging statistical trends based on his ’04 work to put in this report, but I couldn’t really find any. He began the season hitting “well”, and by well I mean he was hitting tons of singles, but not doing much else. Predictably, the singles started disappearing and so did his productivity. It was at this point he fell victim to a high ankle sprain. Once he returned from the sprain some months later, Guillen continued hitting for mediocre average with not much walking or power and he also made the permanent switch to RF as Melky Cabrera had taken over his CF position.

As it stands, Guillen is a COF coming off a year with little walking and minimal power, yet I am still high on him. The reason for this can be explained by my belief in two things. First is that Guillen’s coaches believe that his ankle injury really affected his approach at the plate and though he was hitting poorly before the injury, any chance of recovery was pretty much ruined by what the injury did to his mental approach at the plate. In addition, though I was never much of a believer in the Vlad Guerrero tools comparison of ’02, I still am a fan of Guillen’s tools. He has a very good arm and should be an overall solid defender in RF. Offensively, I am a believer in Guillen’s power, despite the mediocre showing in ’05 I still have memories of the tear he went on after a slow April of ’03 to push his numbers toward respectability. Lastly, I made this comparison and I still want to stick by it…probably.

The Yankees seem to have a similar faith in Guillen, as he will be starting the year as the AA RF despite not really “earning” that promotion. He will be in a better offensive environment so there should be superficial improvement to his numbers, in addition, I think he will genuinely play better now that he is over the ankle sprain and hopefully this means the power that he showed when hitting 11 homers in the ’01 DSL is back. At 21 and in AA it is a bit early to call this a make or break year, but considering all the soon-to-be expiring Yankee ML OF contracts, a big year could be crucial to Guillen’s future.

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