Name: Garrett Guzman
DOB: February 7, 1983
Garrett Guzman re-established himself as a top outfield prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization in 2006, after missing the entire 2005 season due to a serious car accident. Guzman played well for both the Fort Myers Miracle, and the New Britain Rock Cats in 2006, and could make his way to Rochester this year.
The Twins selected Guzman in the 10th round of the 2001 draft, after an All-American High School career at LaMirada (CA) High School. It did not take Guzman long to adjust to professional pitching, as he made his Twins debut as a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins as an 18-year old.
For the GCL Twins, Guzman batted .355, driving in 22 runs in 39 games. He showed good plate discipline, and showcased his ability to hit the ball to all fields. Guzman also scored 22 times, while stroking 21 extra-base hits.
In 2002, the young outfielder made the jump to the Elizabethton Twins, and began to show some serious pop in his bat. He averaged nearly an extra-base hit every other game, and knocked six out of the yard. In 63 games, Guzman drove in 48 runs, and scored 41 times himself. He would be promoted to his first full-season team the following season.
Guzman made the jump to full-season ball as a member of the Quad Cities Swing, and once again showed an excellent batting eye. The Midwest League guide named him as having the best batting eye on the Swing, as he batted a respectable .282 for Quad Cities. In 2004, Guzman appeared in 82 games for the Fort Myers Miracle, and saw a dip in his average.
The 2005 season would be a loss for Guzman, who broke his next in an automobile accident. The injury could have been career-ending, but Guzman made an amazing recovery, and was ready for the start of the 2006 season. He would impress during the 2006, making his way back onto the prospect landscape.
Guzman began the season with the Fort Myers Miracle, showing a clutch bat in the middle of the lineup. He would be given a promotion to Double-A New Britain midway through the season, and showed great pop in the middle of the Rock Cats' lineup. In 129 total games, Guzman smacked 15 home runs, drove in 77, and was named Comeback Player of the Year.
Guzman should begin the 2007 season with the Rock Cats, but he could see his first taste of International League ball by the end of the season.
Batting and Power:Guzman is a great hitter, and he has the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields. Kevin Slowey told TwinCitiesDugout that Guzman is one of the better hitters he has faced in the Twins organization, and that is saying a lot coming from his mouth. Guzman has always had a great batting eye, and it will be interesting to see how he does in his second season back from such a bad injury. If he continues to develop as a hitter, he could become a starting outfielder on some Major League team some day.
Base running and Speed. Guzman has decent speed, but he is not a burner. He'll take the extra base when he can, and he has the base running skills to turn a double into a triple. If Guzman shoots one into the gap, it is a definite double, and he is not likely to make a mistake on the base paths. He is a heady base runner, who while he won't steal 20 or more stolen bases a season, he does sneak one in every now and again.
Defense. Guzman is a good defender, but it will definitely be his bat that takes him to the next level. While he is mostly an outfielder now, Guzman can also pick it at first base, where he shows good range with the glove. He has good enough speed to get to some balls in the gap, but he will never be mistaken for a centerfielder. He has an average arm, which is mostly suited to play left field. He is definitely not a liability in the field, and makes all the plays.
ETA. 2008. Guzman lost a year in his development, but rebounded strongly in 2006 to put himself back on the map. He showed the ability to hit both Florida State and Eastern League pitching in 2006, and might make the jump to Rochester in 2007. If he can show good production at the plate once again in 2007, then he could fight for a spot in the Minnesota outfield in 2008. Guzman is a good prospect, and could turn into a productive Major League hitter.