Alex Guerrero should not start the season in the minors, and it was not just his grand slam during Wednesday’s game which brought me to this opinion. Although many other writers and reporters believe that Guerrero will be banished to the minors when the Dodgers board that plane for Australia, I think that he will and should represent the Dodgers in Sydney as the starting second baseman. Just like Hyun-jin Ryu and Yasiel Puig‘s ambassador like influence, Guerrero also represents the global push which the Dodgers and the MLB are focused on during this historic Opening Series down under.
It’s bigger than just a ceremonial display between the two continents, but also it showcases the beauty of baseball for not only the Australians to see but also the world. Cuba, Korea, and even Australia (Trent Oeltjen will reunite with some of his former teammates when the Dodgers play an exhibition game against Team Australia) are some of the many corners of the globe which may hold the next big MLB superstar.
If you think the Dodgers are just the same team but under a new umbrella of ownership control, you tend to forget that if it wasn’t for the regime change we would never have been able to watch Yasiel Puig cannon a throw to home plate to throw out Mike Trout after he wasn’t able to make the play on a routine single. We would never have seen Hyun-jin Ryu pitch superbly at Dodger Stadium and draw tons of Korean fans to every ball park he pitched in. Alex Guerrero, the Dodgers big international free agent signing this offseason), also should be a part of the Australian festivities as the Dodgers display the possibilities abroad when it comes to international scouting and global player development.
Alex Guerrero has been playing baseball at a high level for many years. This is not a young prospect we are talking about looking to climb the rungs of the minor league ladder. Although his transition to professional baseball in the United States has been slowed a bit due to injury this offseason (hamstring), he is looking more comfortable by the day this Spring.
Wednesday Guerrero’s grand slam opened the floodgates for Dodgers offense. Offense that has been arguably stagnant so far this Spring. Guerrero looked comfortable on Wednesday, the most at ease and freely playing I have seen him this Spring. His swing was fluid, and he absolutely crushed the Jeff Francis pitch which eventually propelled the Dodgers to a 10-3 win over the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.
“Home runs always help psychologically,” Guerrero said. “I just want to make good contact, that helps my mindset. I feel happy, my first home run in the U.S. at this level.”
While I still wouldn’t be opposed to Dee Gordon getting some time in at second base, I feel that Guerrero is definitely the future. I see
Guerrero as the present as well. Ned Colletti told media back in January at the Winter Development Program that Guerrero was leading the pack as far as potentially being the starting second baseman. This was before Guerrero had even secured his Visa to enter the country. The Dodgers international scouting department believes in Guerrero, and after watching him play this Spring I really like what I see so far.
Defensively I really don’t see a big issue either, but some say Guerrero needs more seasoning at second and should start the new season in the minors. Whether it is Chattanooga or Albuquerque, I feel as though throwing Guerrero to the minors would frankly be a waste of time. It’s not like the Dodgers have some greater solution to second base than the upside of Guerrero anyhow. Dee Gordon looks pretty sharp at second, but we have still not seen Dee hit consistently. Guerrero has that pop of power, and he is hitting .294 with 5 hits in 17 at-bats and 7 games so far this Spring. Gordon has 3 hits with a .200 average over 8 games and 15 at-bats.
I think we can agree that Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, or one of the other players vying for a spot on the team will only squeak in on the bench. Figgins might just sneak in, but Turner is close behind right now in my opinion. There’s just no way I could see the Dodgers putting Chone Figgins on the team but not Alexander Guerrero.
Guerrero, who has his own bat flip style, finally showed a bit of his personality on Wednesday. While he may not be as flashy as Yasiel Puig, I think we haven’t seen everything that Guerrero has to offer. Guerrero should absolutely start the season as a Dodger. Number 7 needs to be in that Opening Day lineup.