The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo talk to Tim McMaster about the Marlins' return for slugger Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Denbo's knowledge of the Yankees' farm system, the news regarding Shohei Ohtani's elbow and more. To listen to the show
The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo talk to Tim McMaster about the Marlins' return for slugger Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Denbo's knowledge of the Yankees' farm system, the news regarding Shohei Ohtani's elbow and more. To listen to the show in its entirety, go to the MLB Pipeline Podcast page.
Callis: [Jorge] Guzman does have a significant amount of upside. He hasn't pitched in full-season ball, which is why he's not on the Top 100 Prospects list. He has a Top 100-type arm. He's one of the hardest-throwing starters in the Minor Leagues. Up 97 to 103 consistently. It's Michael Kopech-type velocity. We need to get the Minor League Statcast™ data and we can actually find out who has the best fastball among Minor League starters.
The interesting thing to me is he was traded last year, too. He was in the Brian McCann trade along with Albert Abreu, who's another very good prospect in the Yankees system. When he came over, everybody knew he had a live arm, but he was very wild and didn't throw strikes. Well he went to the New York-Penn League this year, and he threw a lot of strikes. So I think there's still some question with the delivery, is he a starter or reliever long term. But he was more polished than advertised this year. There is a lot of risk when you're talking about a pitcher who hasn't gotten to full-season ball yet, but from an upside standpoint, the arm, as you mentioned, is as electric as just about any starter's in the Minor Leagues.
McMaster: If he does end up as a reliever, it's closer stuff, right?
Mayo: As long as he's got a second pitch that is at least average, hopefully better than average, you still have to throw enough strikes in the bullpen. I know we often get caught, especially when we write all those blurbs up, "Well if the command doesn't come, you can put him in the bullpen." We've seen plenty of guys who throw 100 who don't make it up because they can't find the strike zone consistently enough. I think based on what we saw in the New York-Penn League, he'll at least be able to do that. If I'm the Marlins, I give him every opportunity to continue to start, just like the Red Sox and now White Sox have done with Michael Kopech.
Callis: I will say from the Marlins' perspective, they brought in Gary Denbo, who was the Yankees' farm director. He basically oversees scouting and player development. So Gary Denbo knows the Yankees' farm system, you could argue probably as well or better than anyone in the Yankees' organization right now because he ran the farm department for so long. So they didn't get as much as I thought they should've gotten for Giancarlo Stanton because they undercut their leverage by telling everybody that they had to trade him, and I don't think they handled it great.
But that said, they had a guy with Gary Denbo who knew which guys to ask for. I know it didn't go down like this, but it's almost like the result was Brian Cashman said, "OK, we'll take him. But you can have anybody on our Top 30 list, but you can't have a guy in the Top 100. And you can have another prospect, but somebody off our Top 30 list." And I know that's not how it went down, but that's how it worked out theoretically. But given those parameters, Gary Denbo would know which guys to pick. And so they didn't get one of their very best prospects, but of the guys who weren't the biggest-name prospects, they got one of the best guys. And of the guys who weren't on the Top 30 and maybe you were -- I don't know if you call them sleepers or guys that are further away -- Gary Denbo knew all those guys. I think whatever list of players were made available to the Marlins, you have the guy there you'd want telling you which guys to pick.