Lost in the excitement of the Mets having an assortment of intriguing middle infield prospects coming into the 2019 season was Luis Guillorme. Lost in the flurry of middle infield depth signings at both the minor league and major league level was Luis Guillorme.
Luis Guillorme is business as usual.
Anthony Kay led off the sixth inning allowing a single back up the middle to Indianapolis third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. The next batter, 2016 first-round pick Will Craig, smoked a 2-1 pitch into left for a double, putting runners on second and third. Left fielder Pablo Reyes followed that with a line drive into left that scored Hayes, but thanks to a strong throw from Syracuse Mets left fielder Aaron Altherr, Will Craig was thrown out at home trying to score from second. The speedy Jason Martin came to the plate next and laid down a beautiful drag bunt. On any other night, it would have rolled past the pitcher for a hit. But not on this night.
Not only did Guillorme, who was playing second base, make a great read on the play, aggressively charging in, but he knew he would not have time to set and throw. Tossing the ball between his legs to Dilson Herrera, who made an impressive stretch in one of only a handful of games at first base as a professional, he got the out on a bang-bang play.
Of course, this is nothing new for the man dubbed “the human highlight reel.” Most are familiar with his catch during spring training in 2017, snagging an errant bat that flew out of Adeiny Hechavarria’s hands and into the Mets’ dugout, but the 24-year-old middle infielder has been doing it for years. Possessing defensive ability compared to Omar Vizquel after being drafted in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Guillorme has time and time again showed the comparisons to be more than draft day grandstanding. Since suiting up for the GCL Mets on his very first day as a professional baseball player, he has proven to be one of the top defensive middle infielders in the minor leagues, being named to MLB Pipeline’s 2018 All-Defense Team at second base. And me makes it look easy.
A baseball rat who has dedicated himself since a young age to constantly putting in the time and work to make himself better, Guillorme is a gifted defender not because of blazing speed or a cannon for an arm; his arm and range and generally regarded as being only average or slightly above-average. Rather, the Venezuelan infielder possesses instincts that almost border on supernatural. Off the bat, Guillorme is able to read the ball quickly, and from there, the sum parts of his defensive ability synergistically cascade, playing into each other and enhancing his defense as a whole. Able to read the ball off the bat well, he possesses a quick first step. With a quick first step, he is able to range well to either side. Able to get to the ball quickly, he does not have to rush and shows soft hands and a slick glove. Able to get to and corral the ball with ease, he does not have to rush his throws. Not needing to rush, his throws are generally accurate and strong.
What exactly the future holds for Guillorme remains uncertain. Since making his major league debut on May 11, 2018, he has been called up and sent down multiple times, racking up the frequent flier miles to Las Vegas, or more recently, Syracuse. A .202/.268/.225 hitter in 52 games in the major leagues over the last two years but a .311/.402/.427 hitter in 126 games in Triple-A, the Mets have elected to give Adainy Hechavarria the bulk of the available playing time at second base, third base, and shortstop. While Hechavarria’s .231/.262/.410 batting line this season, or his career .253/.289/.348 are not impressing anybody, there is a serious question as to whether or not Guillorme can replicate even that. A hitter more suited for the Dead Ball Era rather than today, Guillorme generally slashes balls away, down the left field line or past the infielders on the left side of the diamond. He does have a bit of raw power and can sock the occasional homer when the opportunity presents itself on a golden platter, but his general approach limits his in-game power, and as such, his utility at the major league level.
Regardless of what the bat is capable of, we know what the glove is capable of, and it is a gift that keeps on giving.