The Pittsburgh Pirates have added a new face to the scouting department in Puerto Rico, hiring Edwards Guzman Jr. He has some great baseball bloodlines.
Guzman Jr. will be assisting Area Supervisor John Koronka in Puerto Rico, which is part of the amateur draft side. Koronka was just recently added to cover Florida and Puerto Rico. Guzman Jr. is taking over a position that has existed in the system.
Guzman Jr. has been coaching recently in Puerto Rico, after playing two seasons in the minors for the Cincinnati Reds. He was a 2018 32nd round draft pick. He adds someone to the system who recently went through the whole draft process and knows what it takes to get a shot in the draft. He also grew up in a baseball household.
Guzman Jr’s father played three seasons in the majors, making it as a 50th round draft pick. He played for the 1999 and 2001 San Francisco Giants, as well as the 2003 Montreal Expos. He played pro ball from 1996 until the 2010-11 winter season in Puerto Rico. He’s currently an Area Scout for the Chicago Cubs.
The Pirates haven’t been active in Puerto Rico during the draft. Their last pick from the country was Nelson Jorge in the seventh round of the 2014 draft, and he never made it to full-season ball. Their only draft pick out of the country (since the draft started there in 1989) to make the majors is Alex Hernandez, who was taken in the 1995 draft. He played 27 games total for the 2000-01 Pirates.
There aren’t big hits coming out of Puerto Rico every year in the draft. Records show that 11 players with 10+ WAR have been drafted out of the country in 34 years (obviously noting that recent picks wouldn’t be there yet). A total of 18 players fall in the 1.0 to 8.1 WAR range, while another 51 have made the majors and put up less than 1.0 WAR.
You’re battling 29 other teams for those three players each year who will make the majors, and chances are two of those players will be replacement level. That shouldn’t stop you from the chance at players like Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, Carlos Correa, Javier Vazquez and whoever the next player who is already in the minors/majors to join that group. So it’s good to see the Pirates get two new sets of eyes (including Koronka here) on the baseball hotbed.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Way off topic, but the market for Reynolds might once again heat up, dodgers are giving up on trying to stay under the cap and the Marlins trading for a pitcher, doesn’t make sense unless is part of a trade!
that trade makes me wonder if there is anything we can give Houston for Forest Whitley
Since PR players were made draft eligible the level of talent coming from there is almost nonexistent.
Orlando Merced? Was he drafted from there and by the Pirates?
Orlando Merced and the Pirate Parrot came to my middle school and spoke in the early 90’s. Wish I can say it changed my life but don’t remember the topic. Maybe don’t use tobacco or follow your dreams. I proceeded to dip Copenhagen and still can’t catch up with my dreams.
Wow, I feel so slighted here seeing as I write about his signing every year on the history side. He was signed in 1985, four years before the draft started there.
Puerto Rico, Canada, US Territories are covered by the amateur domestic scouts. Merced would have been a signing by an international scout. The two sides don’t cross now.
My biggest gripe with the business of baseball, adding PR to the draft. There’s no H.S. baseball in PR for kids to further develop and get scouted. The academies are helping a bit. Really cut off a source of talent there.
You’re not the only one who has that problem. I’ve seen some blame it for the drop-off in talent. Those draft results are pretty bad. You have to go back to 2012 to find a draft pick with more than 3.1 WAR. But even before you have things like the 2005-06 drafts producing one big league player, Roberto Perez, out of 29 total draft picks from the country. Or even worse, the 2002-03 drafts have 49 players from PR draft and one makes the majors for a grand total of -0.9 WAR.
You look at the totals from all players born in PR, and there are 126 players with at least 1.0 WAR. Clearly things have changed since the draft.
eyes, and relationship…