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Shortstop Emilio Guerrero Breaks Out in 2013

Emergence Caught Eye of Hitting Coach Kenny Graham

Shortstop Emilio Guerrero Breaks Out in 2013

February 4, 2014

Emilio Guerrero found himself playing the infield of the Lansing Lugnuts and  the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2013 (BeGreen90).

Emilio Guerrero found himself playing the infield of the Lansing Lugnuts and the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2013 (BeGreen90).

Development is the name of the game in the minor leagues and no player developed his game more in Lansing than shortstop Emilio Guerrero. In April, Guerrero was merely a young player fighting for time at his position, but by September Guerrero was an every-day player making a name for himself in the Blue Jays minor league circuit.

Signed by the Blue Jays as an international free agent in 2011, the Dominican Republic native was excited for the opportunity to play professional baseball.

“I was very excited to sign with Toronto. I was 18-years old when I signed and I was incredibly happy because it is very hard to get recognized in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “I like the organization a lot. It is a very good organization. All the coaches are very nice and so are my teammates. I really like being with the Blue Jays.”

After playing just a mere 93 games total in his first two years of professional baseball,  Guerrero made the transition to a full season with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2013 where he saw limited action in the first half of the season splitting time with Shane Opitz and Jorge Flores.

Emerging in the second half, Guerrero was named Midwest League Defensive Player-of-the-Month for July. He also notched a 14-game hitting streak at the plate in August.

“In the second half of the season, I started playing with a lot more confidence. I would practice in the batting cage every day. I come to the stadium to have fun and play a game and it is now showing in my results,” he said. “My defense is coming along great, because I work hard to get better and I play for my teammates.”

Guerrero batted .277 with 15 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, and 52 RBIs in 343 at-bats in Lansing.

Guerrero’s most memorable game occurred on August 16th versus West Michigan when the shortstop went 6-for-6 with a grand slam. The 6-for-6 night tied a franchise and league record and was only the third in Lugnuts’ franchise history. In fact, it was the first since current Blue Jays’ outfielder Kevin Pillar achieved the feat in May of 2012.

Guerrero’s favorite part of his Midwest League experience was the crowds that showed him continuous support throughout the season.

“I have really enjoyed my time in Lansing,” he said. “The fan support is great. There’s nothing better than coming through and hearing the crowds chant my name.”

The young prospect’s emergence caught the eye of Lugnuts’ hitting coach Kenny Graham who had the opportunity to work with Guerrero every day in 2013.

Emilio Guerrero works a 7-pitch at-bat in Spring Training 2013 (MLB Prospects Portal)

“Emilio swung the bat really well. He has tremendous skills and tools,” Graham said. “Emilio shows up every day and works hard. He’s going to go through some funks, but he’s a good kid that works hard, he works right. It’s going to be exciting watching him in the years to come.”

Earning a late season promotion to the advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays, Guerrero got to appear in two games for the D-Jays picking up one hit, a double, in seven at-bats in the Florida State League.

With spring training right around the corner, the 21-year-old had one focus this past off-season which was to get bigger. Guerrero who was 6’4 and 189 pounds last season wanted to add some weight and build up his body frame to gain more power at the plate.

“I would like to get bigger. I’m a skinny guy and I’m focused on gaining weight. I want my back, arms, and legs to get bigger. I will be working out at a gym a lot this off-season and preparing for a strong 2014 season.”

 

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian has covered professional baseball for eight seasons for numerous media outlets.
Brian Crawford

@CrawDaddy222

Great Lakes Loons Beat Writer for @BB_Essential, and Toronto Blue Jays Prospect Writer for @JaysProspects. Proud @IBWAA member. https://t.co/R9b2QREHJt
Brian Crawford

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