Tigers Prospect Profile: Ben Guez

After injuries forced the Tigers to promote Ben Guez straight to Toledo from Lakeland, he's battled and be been more than able to hold his own.

Ben Guez
Position: Outfielder
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
Born: 1/24/1987
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
Guez was popped by the Tigers in the 19th round of the 2008 draft out of the College of William & Mary, the same school that produced his current Triple-A teammate, Will Rhymes.

Guez was a standout in the Cape Cod League in 2007, batting .282 in 43 games, and serving as the starting center fielder in the CCL All-Star game. That performance on the Cape led to a sensational junior season on campus, as Guez posted an outstanding .390 average with 75 runs scored, 18 doubles, 13 home runs, and 15 stolen bases. He earned All-CAA honors and was named by the American Baseball Coaches Association to the East All-Region Team.

Debuting with short-season Oneonta, Guez struggled to translate his college success to the pro game; posting just a .223/.325/.367 line in the New York-Penn League. His defense transitioned well, however, as he posted eight assists; good enough for first in the league.

Promoted to West Michigan for his first full season, the year got off to a rocky beginning, barely scratching the proverbial Mendoza line in either of the season's first two months. Things really turned around from there, as Guez was one of the system's top performers over the rest of the season, finishing with a .275/.320/.483 line that included 34 doubles and 12 home runs. His .483 slugging percentage was good for fourth in the Midwest League; a notoriously tough league for young hitters.

Guez was logically promoted to Lakeland to start the 2010 season, and was scuffling at the start with just a .148 average through 27 at-bats. He was quickly promoted to Triple-A Toledo as they had a dire need for extra outfielders, and he has proceeded to rip the ball at an impressive rate despite the aggressive advancement.

Scouting Report
Guez has a wealth of baseball skills to draw from, including excellent baseball intelligence and game awareness. He is a heady player with excellent makeup. Coaches and fans love the effort he regularly displays and he often gets labeled with the infamous ‘gritty' tag.

His speed rates anywhere from solid-average to above-average when speaking with scouts, but he uses it well, and as a result it often plays up in game situations. He is capable of handling all three outfield spots with at least average defense, if not better, and his arm is strong and accurate. His speed can also translate to the bases, where he is capable of stealing 10-15 bases annually, and taking an extra base when appropriate.

At the plate, his swing is compact and quick. He gets the barrel of the bat to the hitting zone consistently and quickly. The simplicity in his swing allows him to make consistent contact. He can use the whole field to his advantage, but he is primarily a pull hitter. His home run power is largely to the pull side, though he can drive the ball to both gaps with authority. He projects more as a doubles hitter at the next level, but he has the strength and bat speed to hit 10-15 home runs annually.

There aren't many weaknesses in Guez's game. He could stand to work counts a little more, and ultimately draw a few more walks, and while he acknowledges this as a potential area of improvement, he also recognizes there is a fine line between controlled aggression and a passive approach.

With no standout tool, and no glaring weakness, it is not hard to envision Guez carving out a big league career; though that career may be more as a fourth outfielder than everyday guy.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

A+

Lakeland

27

.148/font>

2

0

2

8

3

.258

.222

AAA

Toledo

58

.241/font>

3

1

3

15

4

.323

.345


Health Record
Guez has been very durable during his brief professional career. He had a short stay on the disabled list with a hamstring problem last season in West Michigan, but there have been no lingering effects from the injury.

The Future
Guez's early performance in Toledo has been a pleasant surprise, and has opened some eyes as to the possibilities surrounding his future. He doesn't project as an everyday player at the big league level, but there are enough solid tools and all-out effort to envision him as a fourth outfielder and a favorite of the coaching staff.

It is still unclear how long he will remain in Toledo, but if he keeps hitting, the Tigers may be forced to see how long he can sustain this run. His prospect stock is certainly rising, and he might be positioning himself as a player that could help in a bit role as early as next season.

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