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Guerrero a valuable, versatile player

MLB.com @BerniePleskoff

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero has had a bit of a roller-coaster ride since defecting from Cuba as a free agent in 2013. He primarily played shortstop for Las Tunas in the Cuban National Series, where he was a member of the 2010-11 All-Star Team. Guerrero was named to Cuba's roster of the 2013 World Baseball Classic club, but he did not make the final roster. He sat out the regular season following the tournament.

Guerrero made his professional debut with the Dodgers playing in the Dominican Winter League, but a hamstring injury limited him to 12 games. Guerrero hit .289 in 40 plate appearances, and of his 11 hits, three were doubles and one was a home run. Other than his season-ending injury, his offensive beginning was promising.

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero has had a bit of a roller-coaster ride since defecting from Cuba as a free agent in 2013. He primarily played shortstop for Las Tunas in the Cuban National Series, where he was a member of the 2010-11 All-Star Team. Guerrero was named to Cuba's roster of the 2013 World Baseball Classic club, but he did not make the final roster. He sat out the regular season following the tournament.

Guerrero made his professional debut with the Dodgers playing in the Dominican Winter League, but a hamstring injury limited him to 12 games. Guerrero hit .289 in 40 plate appearances, and of his 11 hits, three were doubles and one was a home run. Other than his season-ending injury, his offensive beginning was promising.

Guerrero was part of the Dodgers' 2014 Opening Day roster, traveling to Australia for their two-game series in March against the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, immediately following that brief series, he was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. The next phase of Guerrero's season with the Dodgers was bizarre, to say the least.

On May 20, 2014, in a game against the Salt Lake City Bees, catcher Miguel Olivo bit off part of Guerrero's ear during a dugout altercation. Guerrero required surgery and missed nearly two months of the season.

With 2014 being his first full season with the Dodgers, Guerrero played for the Dodgers' Rookie-level Arizona League club, Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Albuquerque. He played 77 games, making 308 plate appearances, with 243 of those coming at Albuquerque. Guerrero posted a .329 batting average, with 14 doubles, five triples and 15 home runs. He also stole four bases in four attempts. Of course, Guerrero's year was interrupted with the time he spent on the disabled list.

Video: Rookie Guerrero off to a hot start for the Dodgers

To date, Guerrero has been very versatile as a professional. The Dodgers have played him at second base, shortstop, third base and left field. I recently saw Guerrero play third base in games against the D-backs in Los Angeles' second series this season, and he seemed very comfortable at the hot corner. With a new middle-infield combination of Howie Kendrick at second base and Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, third base appears to be the best position for Guerrero this season. In essence, he is a valuable, versatile player.

Many scouts view Guerrero as an offense-first player. At 6-foot-0, 215 pounds, Guerrero is a solidly built player with good power. He's a bit aggressive at the plate, preferring to swing away as opposed to seeing lots of pitches and exercising patience and looking for a walk. Guerrero can punish a fastball while scuffling a bit more with sharp breaking balls.

The right-handed-hitting Guerrero is prone to using his pull side. Whenever I have watched him, he has made good contact, using the barrel of the bat and not getting cheated with his swing. I saw several of Guerrero's Spring Training at-bats and I was impressed with the loud, solid contact he made. His .306 spring average included three home runs. In 13 games in April, Guerrero posted a .423 average, with five homers and 13 RBIs.

Video: LAD@SD: Guerrero lays out for a great diving stop

While Guerrero's arm strength may not be his best tool, he has enough on the ball to gain carry on his throws from third base. I think he may be a bit more challenged to make plays in the hole from shortstop. Basically, while Guerrero runs well and can steal bases, he does lack some first-step quickness on defense. It just seems that he is more successful with less ground to cover -- and that translates best to third base.

Guerrero's future may well depend upon the health and performance of the Dodgers' starting players. He can fill in nicely when needed on defense or come off the bench as a pinch-hitter at any point in the game. At the age of 28, it seems Guerrero's role may not expand with the deep roster in the Dodgers' organization.

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter.

Los Angeles Dodgers