Guzman making case for September callup

No. 17 prospect coming off two brilliant starts at Double-A

August 11th, 2019

MIAMI -- In a vastly improved Marlins farm system, Jorge Guzman tends to get overlooked. Currently, the 23-year-old is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 17 prospect, after being in the top 10 after being dealt to Miami from the Yankees in the 2017 Giancarlo Stanton trade.

But Guzman is on a roll at Double-A Jacksonville, coming off two lights-out starts. Both were wins, and in 13 scoreless innings, he’s allowed just one hit with 20 strikeouts and six walks.

Already on the 40-man roster, Guzman’s strong finish has put him in consideration for a September callup. Miami is not yet solidifying any promotions for when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Traditionally, September is when clubs bring in pitching reinforcements. And Miami is hopeful that in the final month they will have (herniated disc) and (right shoulder strain) ready to pitch.

Urena has been on the injured list since June 9, and Lopez has been out since June 16.

Manager Don Mattingly said the Marlins may go with a six-man rotation in September.

Urena threw a bullpen session on Friday, and he is getting closer to facing batters in live batting practice. The plan is to get him in position for a rehab assignment before the Minor League seasons end later in the month. There’s also a chance that Urena, the Opening Day starter, could be used in the bullpen.

Lopez is already on rehab assignment with Jacksonville, where he last threw in a game on Aug. 7, giving up five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. Lopez is currently in Miami, where he has thrown a bullpen session and is expected to throw at least one more before throwing another rehab assignment game.

Guzman, meanwhile, is expected to remain in Jacksonville as part of a strong rotation that includes top prospect Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera (ranked seventh).

The organization, though, is still weighing if Guzman projects as a starter or reliever, where he could be a future closer candidate, if he shows he can reduce his 4.73 percent walk rate.

One of the hardest throwers in the system, Guzman’s fastball has consistently been in the 97-100 mph range, and his secondary pitches are improving. He mixes in a slider and changeup.

In his start on Friday, he fanned 13 in six no-hit innings, walking four.

For the season, Guzman is 6-10 with a 3.70 ERA in 22 starts, and in his past 10 starts, he’s 4-4 with a 3.42 ERA.

A potential holdback for Guzman is he’s at 121 1/3 innings, the most of his professional career. A year ago, in his first season in Miami’s system, he compiled 96 innings in 21 starts at Class A Advanced Jupiter.