During the recent SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis, there were some very special players on both the United States and World teams. In batting practice, Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant showed light-tower power. Futures MVP Gallo even hit a majestic homer during the game. But even with those two and many other's providing countless moments to remember that afternoon, one player really caught my attention. That player was Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Gabriel "Gabby" Guerrero. He looks to be playing with electricity powering his body. He's exciting, extremely talented, highly energetic and from my observation, a physical clone of his All-Star uncle Vladimir Guerrero.
Guerrero is No. 6 on the Mariners' Top 20 Prospect list.
Guerrero is only 20 years old. The tall, lanky 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic should eventually provide a welcome source of power to the Mariners outfield.
Guerrero was signed as an international free agent in February 2011. He has already made his presence felt in the Mariners organization by hitting a combined .293 and slugging 32 home runs in less than four seasons. He scuffled a bit initially, hitting only .236 in 57 games playing for the Mariners on their 2011 Dominican Summer League club. However, the following season, he hit a combined .349 back in the Dominican Summer League for 50 games, and at the Arizona Rookie League for 18 games.
Last year, playing the entire season at Class A Clinton, Guerrero hit .271 with four homers and 50 RBIs. He also stole 12 bases. He did, however, strike out 113 times in 499 plate appearances. So far this season, he is hitting over .300 at Class A Advanced High Desert in the California League.
Like his Uncle Vlad, he doesn't use batting gloves. Also like his uncle, Gabby is a free swinger. He hasn't seen too many pitches he doesn't like. From what I have seen, he doesn't display much plate discipline or selectivity. He doesn't go to the plate to walk. He sees every at-bat as a time to drive the ball to the deepest part of the field. That's fine, provided he makes good contact. And in general, he does make contact. But even in batting practice, Guerrero doesn't let too many pitches get past him.
Guerrero has a wiry body that will only get bigger and stronger with age. He is a raw talent now, but his physicality and his evident tools project him to be a player who will be able to hit with power to all fields. He will continue to use his long arms to cover the plate well and take pitches where they are thrown, projecting him to hit for a good batting average as well as for power. He has excellent eye-hand coordination as a component of his natural athletic ability.
Defensively, Guerrero demonstrated some difficulty reading, seeing and tracking the ball off the bat while playing in the outfield. He has average speed to allow him to close well on fly balls, but his routes still need work and refinement. He boasts an incredibly strong and accurate arm. He has the type of arm strength and a loud enough bat that will play well in right field. That's probably where I think he will fit best.
Raw now, Guerrero is the type of player who will elicit positive fan reaction based upon his overt and "all or nothing" style of play. Fans will be reminded of his uncle every time they see Guerrero play. It's inevitable. His tools, the manner in which he plays the game and his entire physical being bring an instant flashback to the days when Vladimir Guerrero swung at balls over his head or in the dirt. Nephew Gabby will remind fans of Vlad's screaming line drives off the "sweet spot" of the bat that reach the gaps in a flash. And fans will be reminded of Vladimir instantly when they see the strength, carry and accuracy of a throw to third or home from right field that Gabby uses to nail a runner trying to take an extra base. It should be very exiting for the Mariners and their fans.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.