October 23, 2014 at 7:30 AM
Past entries in our Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.
#24: Javier Guerra, SS
2014 Team: GCL Red Sox
Final Stats: 207 PA, .269/.286/.408, 14 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 42 K, 1 SB
Season in Review: After putting up an unspectacular offensive stat line and playing far from the eyes of journalists and scouts in his 2013 debut in the DSL, Guerra turned heads at the Fall Instructional League last year, sneaking into Baseball America's Red Sox top 30 prospects list. The Red Sox brought Guerra stateside in 2014, where he held his own in the GCL at the age of 18. His final line may not stand out, but Guerra did impress scouts and coaches alike--GCL Red Sox manager Tom Kotchman called Guerra the best shortstop he'd worked with in his 35 years in the game. As of August 6, his line was a much more robust .299/.314/.440 in his first 137 plate appearances, and he hit safely in 18 of his first 20 games for the GCL Sox, but a 9 for 54 slump over his next 13 games (.167/.196/.259) dragged his numbers down. The Panamanian was able to finish the season on a tear, particularly coming alive in the GCL playoffs. He went 3 for 6 with the go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh in the one-game GCL semifinal to lead the Sox to a 7-4 win, then was 5 for 13 with two doubles, two walks, and another bomb in the Red Sox' three-game GCL championship series victory. - Alex Skillin
Scouting Report and 2015 Outlook: Coming out of the preseason, Guerra was one of the players remaining behind in extended spring training who generated the most buzz, and he carried that buzz throughout the season. Though still only 19 years old, Guerra has great feel for the game. Guerra is listed at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, but he looks more developed than that and did not look out of place on the field during the Fall Instructional League, even with players four or more years his senior. In the field, he has a quick release and plus arm, combined with soft hands and fluid actions. Guerra also plays the game with a certain swagger that you like to see, like he knows that he belongs. He has the potential to be a plus-plus defender at shortstop as he develops with a solid enough frame to withstand the rigors of the position.
At the plate, Guerra uses a slight open stance with his hands high. He has solid bat speed, and has already has shown a feel for hitting and some pop, just missing a home run at Jet Blue Park to deep center during one Instructs game. He still needs to develop an approach, however as he is susceptible to breaking pitches and very aggressive at the plate. He is still has some physical development to go, and I could see him eventually developing fringe-average power. Guerra's one tool that does not grade out well at present or in the future is his speed, as he is already a fringe-average runner and it will not be a major part of his game. When talking to scouts about the GCL team, Guerra was one of the names that was brought up the most. If everything comes together, he has the potential to be an impact defender at short who can hold his own at the plate, making him one of the higher ceiling prospects in the low minors. Although Guerra may stay return to extended spring training preceding an assignment to Lowell, the organization is more likely to challenge him with an assignment to Greenville based on his advanced defensive package. - Ian Cundall
#23: Henry Ramos, OF
2014 Team: Portland Sea Dogs
Final Stats: 194 PA, .326/.368/.431, 9 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 38 K, 2 SB
Season in Review: After a bounce-back season with Salem in 2013, Henry Ramos began the year in Double-A Portland and looked set for a career-best season in the early going. Following a slow start, Ramos hit safely in 22 of 25 games from mid-April to mid-May, sporting a nice .394/.429/.576 line over that stretch. On May 28, Ramos fouled a ball off his leg and left the game. An MRI a couple weeks later showed that Ramos had suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia, an injury that wound up ending his season. He was healthy enough to participate in the Fall Instructional League, so Ramos may be able to play in his native Puerto Rico this winter. - Alex Skillin
Scouting Report and 2015 Outlook: Ramos does not have the highest ceiling, but based on how far he has already come, his development has been very successful. The biggest change for Ramos has come physically, where he has matured into a well filled out body with a thick, but muscular lower half. He is still a solid athlete, but with average speed and a solid-average arm. Of note, he did not show that type of speed during Instructs as he was recovering from the stress fracture in his left leg. Ramos is likely best suited for right field, where he has a solid arm and has shown good range, but he also can play a passable center field right now if necessary. At the plate, Ramos is switch hitter with a similar open setup and leg kick from both sides. He has plus raw power that plays average in games. He also has the potential to have a fringe-average to average hit tool, and has drastically improved his approach since he entered the system. Ramos still has some trouble recognizing spin and can get on the aggressive side, getting caught on his front side. Ramos is Rule 5 eligible this offseason, and has the chance to be selected if not protected because he could stick as a backup outfielder. Based on how much time Ramos missed this year, the fact that he will still be just 23, and barring offseason trades, a logjam in the Pawtucket outfield, he is likely to return to Portland to start next season. - Ian Cundall
Additional editorial support provided by Jonathan Singer.
Photo Credit: Both by Kelly O'Connor.