guerrero_2014-02-26-stance

Alex Guerrero Is Heating Up At The Right Time

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post titled “Alex Guerrero Is Right Where He Should Be,” intended to refute those who insisted that Guerrero should have been added to the team rather than Darwin Barney in the wake of Hanley Ramirez‘ injury, simply because he had a great Triple-A stat line. When Juan Uribe hurt himself shortly after, the calls only intensified.

My case against it, of course, was partially that Guerrero isn’t a shortstop — he’s been playing almost exclusively second and left in Triple-A, with only minor cameos at short and third — but mostly because he wasn’t hitting. Yes, the full-season line looked great, but so much of that had come early in the season, before Miguel Olivo assaulted him. At the time of that post, Guerrero had hit just .233/.273/.301 in 77 plate appearances since returning to Albuquerque, and he’d go 1 for his next 11 after that, giving him a .214/.250/.274 in his second go-round by the end of the day on August 18.

Even that was only in 88 plate appearances, which isn’t a huge sample, and what I’m about to show you now is an even smaller one, but this isn’t really about finding Guerrero’s true talent level. We all think he can hit. It’s about understanding that a man who was already having a difficult year — his acclimation may not have been as loud as Yasiel Puig‘s, but he’s still someone who has been dropped in the middle of a completely unknown country — understandably needed some time to get back up to speed after having a portion of his body forcibly ripped off. We can’t say what the emotional effects of that were, and we don’t even know for sure how it still physically impacts him, even in things as simple as wearing a batting helmet or using sunglasses.

The point, anyway, was that more than anything, he needed time. Time to get his legs back under him after so long of a layoff, and the opportunity to face live pitching every single day to get his timing back — an opportunity he would not have received coming off the bench in Los Angeles. The Dodgers, rightfully, kept him down, and on a recent eight-game road trip through Colorado Springs and Oklahoma City, Guerrero went 15 for 34 with 10 extra base hits, including two homers.

Again: Eight games, and he collected zero walks in that time. I don’t want to overreact to any of this. But it’s also not a guy who obviously can’t hit like Miguel Rojas having a good week. It’s a guy who was signed because of his offensive talent, and who showed that talent earlier in the season, hopefully getting back to normal. Everyone wants to see Joc Pederson, of course, but when the pair comes up to the Dodgers early next week, it might be Guerrero who has a bigger impact, even if only in a bench role. His timing couldn’t be better.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


496 comments
- Casey -
- Casey -

41 in a row retired for Petit. 

OCDodger
OCDodger

I hope Petit gets shelled, that would be hilarious

Bay_of_Puigs
Bay_of_Puigs

I'm dumb. I'm going to a wedding in San Diego on Sunday and I didn't even check to see if the Dodgers were playing there this weekend. I could totally have gone to the Saturday game but I made plans to drive down on Sunday. On the plus side, I will be going to the Dodger game on Labor Day, as it is on the way back home.

internet baseball fan potato friend
internet baseball fan potato friend

Is it absurd that given the choice I'd almost prefer Alcides Escobar to Andrelton Simmons at SS? Or am I just being ridiculous at this point.

TheOcelot
TheOcelot

@- Casey -
 good luck to him, I hope the other part of the streak continues though, the bit where every game he's pitched in in the streak, the giants have lost

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Baseball is kind of great

666foldamort
666foldamort

@Bay_of_Puigs I might go on Tuesday given that the Monday game might feature Roberto Hernandez (ugh) and there's no Magic Johnson Bobblehead giveaway and there's no Joc or ALI G on the 1st.

Raul Franklin
Raul Franklin

@KMT59 @Raul Franklin *Play of the game. My daughter does that sort of shit all the time.

She's so damned cute. I feel like that looney tunes guy trying to make the frog dance.

internet baseball fan potato friend
internet baseball fan potato friend

@Dustin Nosler @potato (2014 MSTY: Newcomer of the Year) Yeah, I mean I see where you are coming from. I think a lot of it for me stems from the fact that I believe defensive metrics to be too heavily weighted into the WAR formulas (see: Alex Gordon) especially since defensive metrics are still a work in progress. Also, the fact that with a pitching staff like ours where you have the top 3 guys post K/9 north of 8 and not walking many, I find that putting runs on the board for them seems more important than elite defense behind them. There isn't really any rhyme or reason to that, just my own personal (and probably uninformed) decision.