24th Overall: Rays Select RHP Taylor Guerrieri

The Tampa Bay Rays selected Taylor Guerrieri with the 24th pick in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 18 year-old, right-handed pitcher attended Spring Valley HS, South Carolina last season. Guerrieri stands 6’3″ tall and weighs 180 pounds. Guerrieri was slotted as the 15th overall pick by Wally Fish in the S2S Mock Draft.

Guerrieri is reportedly looking for top 15 money and is a questionable sign due to his strong commitment to the University of South Carolina. Other reports suggest that he might drop his commitment to USC and attend a junior college in hopes of being eligible for next year’s draft, where he could potentially be a top 5 pick.

THE MECHANICS:

As with most young pitchers, Guerrieri struggles with consistency in his delivery. Balance, footing and arm action are all areas he can improve. It isn’t a knock on him or his game, after-all he’s only eighteen years-old.  A good pitching coach and effort on Guerrieris part could easily perfect his inconsistencies.

THE REPERTOIRE:

Guerrieri features a mid 90s fastball that touches as high as 98 mph and is highly regarded as a plus pitch. His second above-average pitch is his low 80s 12/6 curveball. His curveball was widely thought of as one one the best in the draft amongst prep stars. His arsenal is rounded out by a change-up and cutter that are both in the developmental stage. The development of his secondary pitches will likely determine his role and success in the majors.

WHAT THEY SAY:

ESPN–Keith Law

Taylor Guerrieri is one of the top prep arms in this year’s draft, showing huge velocity with a knockout curveball and a good frame. I’ve had scouts tell me he has the best raw stuff of any high school pitcher in this draft.

Baseball America–Nathan Rode

“It’s the best high school arm I’ve ever seen,” an American League scout said. “I walked into the ballpark and saw the first pitch he threw in the bullpen and I could have left. There is no chance I see this guy unless he’s pitching against us in the big leagues.

“Everything was above-average to plus-plus the day I saw him. It’s easy, effortless. I walked out of there with my jaw dropped. This guy is unbelievable.”

Baseball Prospectus–Kevin Goldstein

Guerrieri’s 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame is the kind that scouts like to dream on, and he has consistently reached 97-98 mph with his fastball while sitting comfortably at 92-96. His power curveball is already a plus pitch… While his arm action is clean, his overall delivery is sloppy, too mechanical, and too complex.

Perfect Game USA–David Rawnsly

The biggest key for Guerrieri this spring has been his consistency. During the summer, his fastball might register 88-90 mph one inning and 93-95 the next, but he has been steadily 93-96 mph through entire games this spring, and reportedly has touched 98 mph many times…What separates Guerrieri from other hard throwers is the quality of his curveball. It’s a low-80s power pitch that has hard, late biting action from the same release point as his fastball.

FUTURE:

Even though Guerrieri and his god given talent have ACE potential, I am not a fan of the selection for Tampa. Having 6 of the first 60 picks in the draft allowed Tampa to be a little more aggressive this year and I applaud them for reaching a bit. However, it is likely that Guerrieri will either attend the University of South Carolina or chose a JUCO so he can enter the draft next year. Several players with better signability were more attractive options in my opinion. I see Guerrieri going the JUCO route and easily becoming a top 15 pick next year.

For more on the Tampa Bay Rays, check out RaysColoredGlasses

Like what you see here and want to stay informed on the happenings at S2S? Make sure to follow me on twitter @JAYRC_MCB!

Topics: 2011 MLB Draft, Tampa Bay Rays, Taylor Guerrieri

Want more from Grading on the Curve?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.

TEAMFeed More Grading on the Curve news from the Fansided Network

Hot on the Web From golf.com