There was a time when Taylor Guerrieri was expected to be the next pitching star for the Tampa Bay Rays. If he is to ever fulfill his potential, it will be with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Back when the Tampa Bay Rays drafted Taylor Guerrieri with the 24th overall selection in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, it was expected he would develop into a future ace. Guerrieri was considered a top 100 prospect from 2012 through 2014, ranking as high as 44th by MLB.com in 2013. As he dominated in the lower minors, he appeared to be well on his way to fulfilling that potential.
However, injuries began to derail his career. In the midst of a stellar 2013 campaign, Guerrieri needed to undergo Tommy John surgery. costing him most of the 2014 season. He came back and pitched well, reaching AA for the first time in 2015. After a solid full season with Montgomery in 2016, he advanced to AAA, with the idea that he could reach the majors later in the season if he pitched well.
Instead, those injuries cropped up. Guerrieri made two appearances, lasting 9.1 innings, before his elbow issues shut him down for the season. In that brief stint, he still showed plenty of promise, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out 12. Nonetheless, the Rays placed him on waivers, where he was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays.
More from Call to the Pen
Guerrieri certainly gives the Blue Jays an intriguing option for the rotation. When healthy, he has been excellent in his minor league career, posting a 25-13 record, along with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.062 WHiP. Aside from a drop in his strikeout rate in 2016, Guerrieri has posted a solid amount of strikeouts at each stop. Even with that season factored in, he has 279 strikeouts, and only 86 walks, in 361.2 innings.
Of course, his health is the biggest question. According to Rays beat writer Marc Topkin, Guerrieri is currently healthy, and should be ready to go during Spring Training. With the Blue Jays rotation having a few question marks heading into next season, it would not be a surprise if Guerrieri gets a long look.
Taylor Guerrieri still has plenty of potential. If he can remain healthy, the Toronto Blue Jays may have stolen him from the Tampa Bay Rays.