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.