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Mets infielder Luis Guillorme: How much of him will we see in 2019?

jkamilhor
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 21: RY 21: RY 21: Luis Guillorme
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 21: RY 21: RY 21: Luis Guillorme
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The 2018 season did not go well for bat-catcher extraordinaire Luis Guillorme. How much action will he get with the New York Mets in 2019?

For those who follow me on Twitter and have read my Rising Apple posts, you know I am a big fan of Luis Guillorme, the New York Mets middle infielder-in-waiting. I like him because he is an excellent defender at the two up-the-middle infield positions, something the Mets have lacked for years.

He also rarely strikes out and walks more than the average player. Even during a forgettable debut season, when he was used mostly as a 3B/PH, which made no sense, his BB rate was 9.5% and his K rate was 4.1%. Guillorme’s BB/K was 2.33.

According to FanGraphs the 2018 average BB/K was 0.38.

FanGraphs 2018 Prospects Report for Guillorme
Team Rank: 9

  • ETA: 2018  Hit 45 / 55
  • Game Power 20 / 20
  • Raw Power 45 / 45
  • Speed 45 / 45
  • Field 70 / 70
  • Throws 60 / 60
  • Future Value 45

Here are the 2019 projections from FanGraphs.
ZiPS is the only system that projects more than 43 plate appearances with a whopping 472.

ZiPS 2019 projections

  • 24 age during season
  • 121 G
  • 472 PA
  • 2 HR
  • 45 R
  • 31 RBI
  • 3 SB
  • 8.7% BB%
  • 14.4% K%
  • .064 ISO
  • .285 BABIP
  • .243 AVE
  • .312 OBP
  • .307 SLG
  • .619 OPS
  • .278 wOBA
  • 77 wRC+
  • -0.5 BsR
  • -13.6 OFF
  • 7.2 DEF
  • 0.9 WAR

Prospect Lists

If I may link to one of Rising Apple’s competitors here is a post rating Guillorme as the Mets 7th prospect for 2019. It also includes some background which explains part of why I like this player so much.

36. Luis Guillorme, 3B/2B (Mid ’18: NR-Has Reached MLB) from prospects1500.com website

Age: 24
2018 Highest Level: MLB
MiLB: 69 G, .304/.380/.417, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 41 R, 75 H, 15 2B, 2/3 SB, 30 BB: 39 K
MLB: 35 G, .209/.284/.239, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, 14 H, 7 BB: 3 K

Guillorme’s best gifts on the baseball field are as a defensive wizard in the infield.

Guillorme may very well break camp with the big league club and spell Robinson Canó defensively, though Jeff McNeil‘s breakout 2018 may limit his opportunity. It is hard to envision an everyday job for Guillorme with the Mets any time soon given his power-light profile and their overall organizational depth, but there’s a big league contributor here in their playoff aspirations.

What do scouts say?

Baseball America’s scouting report sounds about right to me.

Baseball Prospectus’s take is not that different.

Show me the money

Guillorme is on the 40-man roster and receives approximately the minimum salary of $560,000.

And now, introducing our main competitor for playing time as the backup SS/2B/3B but especially SS Adeiny Hechavarria (the player whose bat Guillorme caught).

ZiPS 2019 projections

  • 30 age during season
  • 117 G
  • 417 PA
  • 6 HR
  • 43 R
  • 37 RBI
  • 3 SB
  • 5.0% BB%
  • 16.3% K%
  • .098 ISO
  • .285 BABIP
  • .249 AVE
  • .287 OBP
  • .347 SLG
  • .634 OPS
  • .273 wOBA
  • 74 wRC+
  • 0.0 BsR
  • -13.3 OFF
  • 10 DEF
  • 1.0

Looking at all of Hechavarria’s 2019 projections on FanGraphs it is remarkable how consistent they are. His projected AVE ranges from .242 to .249 and his OPS ranges from .634 to .637! For comparison Guillorme’s projected OPS ranges from .603 to .652 which is less consistent and very similar as a whole.

Since 2017 Hechavarria has played for five teams including the Mets. The Mets signed him to a minor league deal with a $3 million salary if he makes the team.

Another take on Hechavarria from FanGraphs from the time he was traded by the Marlins to the Rays for Braxton Lee (now a Mets minor leaguer) and Ethan Clark focusing on his improved defense and wildly erratic offense.

One more thing. When Hechavarria defected from Cuba I really wanted the Mets to sign him because I value good defensive shortstops highly.

Conclusion

I see Guillorme and Hechavarria as similar players at different stages of their careers. The primary difference is that Guillorme makes better contact and has a better eye and is still gaining experience.

They are both utility infielders who are capable of stepping in for a month or two at short or second and will not hurt the team because of considerably better than average defense at prime up-the-middle positions.

I see Guillorme as the type of player that will improve with more major league playing time and I believe he has the potential to be an everyday second baseman. He works hard and is focused on becoming better while being young enough to make those improvements.

Hechavarria seems to be on the downside even though he is not old.

Nick Scheurer, one of my esteemed colleagues at Rising Apple Blog addressed Hechavarria’s potential role on the Mets a couple of weeks ago. I think the Mets are thinking along the same lines as Nick at the moment.

My expectation for 2019 is that the Mets will keep Hechavarria and use him as a utility infielder until May when they will release him. They will call up Guillorme and he will finish the season as the utility infielder.

I predict 75-100 plate appearances with numbers on the higher end of his projections due to getting stronger this spring and showing more extra base potential.

If I were Brodie my choice is obvious: release Hechavarria if he is not willing to play in Syracuse on a reduced contract and bring Guillorme north to Flushing.

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What do you project for Guillorme’s playing time in 2019?

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