Guzman was one of the prospects Miami received from the Yankees for OF Giancarlo Stanton before the 2018 season. He’s arguably the hardest throwing starter in the minor leagues, though serious control issues (15-percent walk rate this season) were behind fairly pedestrian numbers by the 22-year-old in the Florida State League in 2018. Guzman impressed over a three-inning outing at Marlins Park during Instructional League, but there’s still plenty of reason to be skeptical about his future in the rotation.
His power fastball sits 98-to-100 mph, routinely touching triple-digits and drawing a crowd behind the plate to look at the radar gun. Guzman can blow his heater past almost anyone at this level, though big league hitters will be able to make him pay for elevated heaters in fastball counts. The pitch has explosive riding life that powers through the zone, showing plus movement and run when he can angle it down to the lower-third. He doesn’t command his fastball much, but the times it’s low in the zone hitters don’t have a chance. Guzman won’t ever need to be pinpoint over the plate considering his velocity, but simply getting ahead in counts and throwing basic strikes can be a struggle. A power slurve in the 85-to-88 mph range has tilt somewhere between curve and slider, but it flashes hammer action at best and could develop into an out pitch. Guzman is working on his changeup during instructs, throwing it frequently to get game reps with the pitch. He isn’t comfortable landing the change for a strike but it’s showing progress, flashing separation and dive in the high-80s at best.
The Marlins will give Guzman every chance to develop as a starter, and the team’s distance from contention affords him more time to add polish in the minors. Though the control/command will likely always be below-average, the absolute best-case ceiling is a power mid-rotation starter who gets away with fringy pitchability for the rotation because of an 80-grade fastball. In my mind, that outcome would be more likely if Guzman were 19-20 and not 22-23 given his longstanding control issues. Realistically, he’s a high-leverage ‘pen arm with the potential to close games.