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December 30, 2015 at 7:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Javier Guerra

This week, we recap the players ranked 7, 6, and 5 in the SoxProspects.com season-end Top 40. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.

#6 Javier Guerra, SS
2015 Team: Greenville Drive
Final Stats: 477 PA, .279/.329/.449, 15 HR, 30 BB, 112 K
2015 Peak Ranking: 6 (October)
Season in Review: 2014
Fiorino: The Write-Up, March 20
Dunne: System Restart, Middle Infielders
Hatfield: Notes from the Field, May 6
Guerra named South Atlantic League All-Star
SoxProspects.com Player of the Week (July 6-12)
Cundall: Scouting Scratch, September 3
2015 SoxProspects.com All-Stars
Red Sox name Guerra Defensive Player of the Year
SoxProspects.com 2015 season-end award winners

Season in Review: Guerra entered the year with some scouting buzz due to his elite defensive potential, but he was still flying under the radar to some degree, beginning the season at 16th in the SoxProspects.com rankings. However, he quickly put himself on the map after a hot start to the season, hitting .321/.365/.526 over his first 86 plate appearances, despite striking out in over 30 percent of those. He cooled off over his next 31 games, batting .229/.294/.431, with his strikeout rate remaining around 30 percent while his batting average on balls in play decreased significantly, a sign that he was getting a bit lucky with balls falling in early in the season.

As the weather heated up in the middle of June, so did Guerra’s bat, a hot streak that lasted until the beginning of August. He hit .351/.390/.527 over this 33-game stretch, launching six home runs and driving in 24 runs. This run propelled him to sixth in the SoxProspects.com rankings, but he had a rough stretch to end the year, hitting .216/.270/.328 over the final 31 games. His great glove and arm at shortstop, combined with some potential in his bat, allowed him to hold steady in the sixth spot in our rankings at season's end. In November, Guerra was traded to San Diego with Logan Allen, Carlos Asuaje, and Manuel Margot for Craig Kimbrel. - Jim Crowell

Scouting Report and 2016 Outlook: Ian Cundall and Chaz Fiorino wrote up detailed scouting reports of the prospects traded to San Diego for Craig Kimbrel in our Trade Analysis feature (excerpt below).

    Guerra’s carrying tools are not reflected in the stats, as he does his best work in the field. Guerra has a defensive skill-set you don’t often see at his age (or at all), even at shortstop, as he has a plus-plus arm and the potential to have a plus-to-better glove as well. Guerra’s ability at shortstop starts with his instincts, which give him excellent range to both sides despite below-average speed. He is reliant on his first step and initial read to get to the ball, but his first step is exceptionally quick and he eats up ground very quickly when moving laterally or charging the ball. He is very comfortable fielding the ball on the move and has very soft hands with a quick glove-to-throwing-hand transfer. His actions are very fluid, and he plays the position with confidence and swagger. His arm is a true weapon, grading out at plus-plus with the ability to make any throw with relative ease, even going away from first base into the hole.
Photo Credit: Kelly O'Connor