This RHP may be the hardest thrower in Red Sox's system

April 29th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The name of the game in professional baseball these days is gas. As in velocity. Every team is collecting it in abundance, and the Red Sox are no different.

So that begs the question: Who is the hardest thrower in Boston’s farm system?

It just might be Triple-A Worcester reliever . The 23-year-old righty sits at 96-98 mph and touches 100 from time to time.

“He is toward the top,” said Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham. “[Ryan] Zeferjahn and [David] Sandlin are others that have been close to or reached 100 this year. “

Because Guerrero will likely be the first to reach the Majors out of that trio, let’s take a closer look at the Dominican Republic-born righty who lived in Boston as a child and loved David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez.

If everything comes together for Guerrero, he could have a nice career as a high-leverage reliever.

But there is work to be done for the club’s No. 30 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline.

While Guerrero lights up the radar gun, some scouts say his fastball needs to develop more depth for it to truly be a dominant pitch. To reach his ceiling, Guerrero will need to get some more life on his heater while displaying better command.

How close is Guerrero to being promoted to the Red Sox?

“Hard to give an exact time frame, but anyone in Triple-A is Major League depth and a phone call away,” said Abraham. “He’s not on the 40-man currently so that does add a necessary transaction, but if leadership feels he is the right person for a particular opportunity, he could be added. He prepares himself daily for any opportunity. Dominating his individual goals in Triple-A is where his focus currently lies.”

Precisely what are those goals?

“Pumping the zone with strikes, especially before he gets to two strikes,” Abraham said. “Consistency outing to outing. Using his splitter against both sides to maximize its effectiveness and continue developing the shape of his slider.”

The Red Sox selected Guerrero in the 17th round of the 2021 MLB Draft after he pitched one season for Chipola College (in Marianna, Fla.)

While he still has room to grow, the club has taken note of his evolution.

“He’s a gamer. He’s one of our hardest workers,” said Abraham. “He’s no longer just a thrower but has a plan and focuses on the areas that are his highest-leverage areas to improve upon. He’s grown up both on and off the field and represents someone who leads by example by the way he comes to the park and prepares daily.”

Here is a look at some highlights from the other affiliates:

Double-A Portland: While the big three of Marcelo Mayer (Red Sox's No. 1 prospect), Roman Anthony (No. 2 prospect) and Kyle Teel (No. 3 prospect) get most of the hype at Portland, shouldn’t be overlooked. The right-handed hitter, who the Red Sox signed at 17 years old -- and well over slot with their third-round pick in the 2020 Draft -- has heated up of late. In a recent stretch of 44 plate appearances, the No. 19 prospect compiled eight runs, 14 hits, four doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs. Jordan has been open about some of the mental health struggles he has dealt with and is a player worth rooting for.

High-A Greenville: Building up organizational starting pitching depth is a work in progress, but is someone the Red Sox are excited about. The 21-year-old from Venezuela is the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system, and second among pitchers. After struggling in his first two outings, Perales was impressive in his start on Saturday, firing four innings in which he allowed three hits and one unearned run while walking one and striking out seven. With exceptional arm speed, his fastball lives in the mid-90s and sometimes gets to 99.

Single-A Salem: is one of the most exuberant and athletic prospects the Red Sox have. The second-rounder from last season’s Draft started the season on the injured list with a left hamstring injury but returned this week with an immediate hot streak, going 4-for-8 in his first three games, including an inside-the-park homer on Saturday. The No. 8 prospect has played shortstop early in the season but has the athleticism to also play center field.