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Luis Guillorme named South Atlantic League MVP

The human highlight reel has been getting things done with his bat as well as his glove.

Luis Guillorme
Luis Guillorme
Chris McShane

Luis Guillorme, infielder for the Savannah Sand Gnats, has won South Atlantic League MVP honors. The 20-year-old has enjoyed a break out season at the plate, batting .314/.386/.346 in 433 at bats over 117 games. In addition to his contributions with the bat, Guillorme has already earned rave reviews for his defensive play at shortstop, and has stolen 17 bases for good measure.

The 2013 10th round draft pick came into the 2015 season having hit .283/.340/.324 in fifty-seven games with the Kingsport Mets and three for the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2014. He went unranked in the Amazin' Avenue Top 25 Mets Prospect list for the 2015 season, but was named as a sleeper prospect by Jeffery Paternostro. Citing "the best instincts and actions [he] has ever seen at any minor league level" and "some of the quickest, smoothest actions [he] has ever seen", he labeled Luis Guillorme the best shortstop glove in the system.

Assigned to Savannah to begin the season, Guillorme started things off on the right foot, going 1-1 with an impressive four walks in his very first game. The shortstop continued hitting, batting .318/.430/.333 in nineteen games in April. As the calendar turned, he barely missed a beat, hitting 304/.333/.304 in twenty-five games in May. June and July saw Guillorme's batting average dip, but thanks to a strong eye at the plate, the 20-year-old maintained an above-average on-base percentage, slashing .276/.382/.322 and .276/.349/.299 in those two months, respectively.

The Savannah Sand Gnats went a record 26-2 in August and a resurgent Luis Guillorme was very much a reason why. In twenty-three games, the shortstop batted .407/.457/.494. In the month, he logged nine multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and one four-hit game. The 20-year-old carried a thirteen-game hitting streak between August 2 and August 15.

Through August 31, Guillorme leads the South Atlantic League with his .314 batting average and 136 hits. In addition, he is fourth in on-base percentage (.386) and tied for sixth in runs scored (64).

The 2015 report

I saw Guillorme earlier this Summer and the defensive work continues to wow. It's gotten to the point where it is shocking when he doesn't make even a difficult play. The instincts, hands, and actions are elite and cover for his lack of straight-line speed or a true plus arm. He is the best defensive shortstop in the system. I had my questions about the bat after seeing him in 2014, but it has held up well with the jump to full-season ball. However, it is still a very difficult profile to try and project.

Guillorme seems like he would be more at home in the dead ball era. Using what Keith would call a 'cut and slash' approach, he sets up to slap balls into the 5.5 hole or short left field. He will try to bunt for hits when he can, and pulls a ball about as often as he makes a defensive miscue. He controls the strike zone well, but the contact rate is not elite, and Guillorme has struggled agsint better offspeed stuff.

Also, I think it will be difficult for him to replicate his success on contact at higher levels as there is just no power threat here. The defenses will get better, the positioning will get better (the South Atlantic League already had started to play the LF way in during my look), and more of those short liners to left and ground balls wide of third will get turned into outs. It's hard to find a comparable offensive player at the major league level due to Guillorme's lack of footspeed, and a unique skill set carry additional risks.

That said, I will simply not bet against Guillorme. He is a true 80 makeup baseball rat, and I'm not one to generally put huge stock in those sort of scouty platitudes. It's an easy plus shortstop glove, so that will keep him employed forever, and the bat has improved each season of his pro career. Because of the lack of physicality or traditional up-the-middle athletic tools, he will have to be a a prove-it-at-every-level guy. But that's three levels down, three levels to go.

- J. Paternostro