7. Luis Guillorme, SS
Height: 5’9”, Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 9/27/94 (24)
Acquired: 10th round, 2013 Draft (Coral Springs Charter High School, Florida)
69 G, 247 AB, .304/.380/.417, 75 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 30 BB, 39K, 2/3 SB, .350 BABIP (Triple-A)
Born in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, a singular event during Luis Guillorme’s youth would shape the rest of his life. Family members were carjacked, resulting in Luis Guillorme Sr. forbidding his two sons from spending extended periods of time outside without parental supervision. In order to satiate his sports-obsessed son, Mr. Guillorme knocked down a wall in his home, giving Luis Jr. a room where he could throw and field balls. The family moved to Florida in 2007, and Luis Jr. enrolled at Coral Springs Charter High School in Coral Springs. The defensive skills Luis Jr. sharpened in his “work room” back in Venezuela manifested themselves on the baseball fields in southern Florida and he quickly became known among the scouts in southern Florida as a human highlight reel. The Mets selected Guillorme in the 10th round of the 2013 Draft, and the shortstop forwent his Junior College commitment to State College of Florida and signed with the Mets instead for $200,000, a little over slot for the 10th round.
The infielder soldiered along in his first few years in the system, earning a reputation as a light-hitting shortstop, but Guillorme broke out in a big way in 2015, while playing with the Savannah Sand Gnats. The 20-year-old hit .318/.391/.354, stealing 18 bases for good measure, and was named and was named the South Atlantic League Most Valuable Player. Promoted to the St. Lucie Mets in 2016, he had a respectable but not-as-impressive season, hitting .263/.332/.315. Still, thanks to his glove, he was worth penciling into the line-up every night. After making a name for himself in spring training by catching a bat that had flown into the dugout, Guillorme was assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies for the 2017 season, playing in 128 games and hitting .283/.376/.331. Guillorme was opened eyes for a second consecutive spring training in 2018, this time by hitting .306/.447/.417 in 36 at-bats, but he opened the year with the Las Vegas 51s. He would not remain there all season, as he got the call to the major leagues in early May. He made his major league debut on May 11 as a pinch runner, and notched his first professional hit a few days later, replacing Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter and lining a single into center off of 2018 Cy Young contender Aaron Nola. He would get sporadic playing time primarily as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement all throughout May and June before being sent back down to Triple-A at the end of the month. He was recalled to Queens in the end of July and had another short stint in the majors until August 13, when he was sent back to Las Vegas. All in all, Guillorme combined to hit .304/.380/.417 in 247 at-bats with the 51s and .209/.284/.239 in 74 at-bats with the Mets.
At the plate, he utilizes an open stance. His load is short, giving him a quick path to the ball. He displays excellent bat control and is a hard out, taking pitches, fouling off pitches and wearing out opposing pitchers while getting himself in good counts. His general approach at the plate is to slash balls away, down the left field line or past the infielders on the left side of the diamond, a strategy more familiar in the Deadball Era than today. Guillorme does have a bit of raw power and is able to hit balls over the outfield walls during batting practice, but his current approach limits his in-game potential. In the field, there are very few defenders that are as impressive as Luis Guillorme. He has almost everything you look for in a shortstop, possessing a quick first step, soft hands, smooth actions, and instincts that almost border on supernatural. His arm and range are only average-to-above-average, but thanks to his other defensive attributes and baseball intangibles, everything plays up a grade higher. In addition, Guillorme is a baseball rat who is constantly putting in the time and working hard and is respected as an on-field leader.
Steve Sypa says:
I was 12-years-old in 1999. I witnessed Rey Ordoñez have the single-greatest defensive season played by a shortstop in baseball history. Guillorme is not Rey Ordoñez- and that isn’t an insult; no one can be Rey Ordoñez- but he’s one of the few in organized baseball that can be mentioned in the same breath as Rey-O without it being hyperbole. Light-hitting, defensive-oriented shortstops aren’t exactly en vogue anymore, but guys like Andrelton Simmons, Miguel Rojas, Dansby Swanson, Nick Ahmed, Freddy Galvis, and Alcides Escobar have all justified their spots in their respective line-ups because of their excellent defense, rather than their offensive prowess. Guillorme didn’t exactly impress in his major league debut, but BABIP is a finicky mistress. He has the bat-on-ball skills and batting eye to post a better batting line than he did in 2018, and coupled with his defense, has the ability to stick on a major league team in some capacity.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Baseball has the best highlights of any sport, and it’s not particularly close. If you agree with that statement, Guillorme is exactly your kind of player, as he’s already one of the best defensive infielders in baseball. I also think Guillorme has more potential with the bat than he displayed in 2018, as he’s consistently posted great walk rates and solid BABIP numbers in the minors. He maintained that walk rate in the majors, which I find extremely encouraging, but posted only a .219 BABIP en route to a 53 wRC+. If he can raise that BABIP into the .280-.300 range, he’s arguably a viable middle-infield starter for a second-division team, and a good backup at the very least.
Kenneth Lavin says:
By now Luis Guillorme’s strengths and weakness are relatively well known. He offers legitimately elite shortstop defense despite being a below-average runner, mostly because of his impeccable instincts on the dirt and silky-smooth actions around the bag. He routinely makes plays that a player with his athleticism has no business making, and has a penchant for making spectacular plays look routine. However, the early returns on his offensive game at the big league level have left something to be desired. He hit just .209/.284/.239- good for a 53 wRC+- in 74 PAs for the Mets in 2018, as his cut and slash approach at the plate and complete lack of game power did not work as well against big league pitching and defensive alignments as it did at various stops in the minors. There is still some hope for Guillorme’s offensive development, as he has always shown decent raw power in batting practice. Even if he is never able to tap into it on more than an occasional basis, Guillorme’s defensive prowess should be enough for him to have a relatively long career, either as a utility infielder or as minor league depth that is never more than an infield injury away from accruing big league service time.