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Rays Season Preview: Brandon Guyer

Is Brandon Guyer more than a fourth outfielder?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Season: 97 Games, 294 Plate Appearances, .266/.334/.367, 107 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR

2015 ZIPS Projections: 93 G, 336 PAs, .255/.317/.364, 100 wRC+, .9 fWAR

Guyer has come a long way from the player best known for lending his keys to the wrong guy. As recently as last April, there was concern that the perpetual prospect who came over in the Matt Garza trade might not even be a prospect anymore.

But after a slow start with the big club last year, Guyer put together a nice 4th outfielder season, swinging the bat to the slash line in the overview, while playing a solid corner outfield and showing at least the ability to cover center, where he made every easy play and none of the difficult ones (in an admittedly teeny-tiny sample).


'Tis better to have dived and missed than never to have dived at all...unless that miss is by three feet. Definitely don't dive then.

Against Left Handed Pitching

At the plate, Guyer solid slash line success was mostly on the back of some fine lefty-mashing. He put together a .297/366/.396 slash line against lefties, and though we can probably expect a little downward regression in that regard -- thanks to last season's nifty .368 BABIP -- Guyer should continue to be effective against southpaws. In fact, his sorta-kinda out-and-around swing seems tailor-made for it.


Pretty...

Against RHP

Where that swing gets him in trouble is against righties. The slash line isn't terrible, at .243/.311/.345. But check out this spray chart.


Source: FanGraphs

Notice that all the extra base hits are between straight away left and the left field line? And then this:


Source: FanGraphs

Look at all those medium flies the other way. That's a guy who is probably going to have trouble against pitches up in the zone, especially from right handers, and in particular against righties with good heaters.

I'd put in a heat map to show you what I mean, but frankly, they baffle me. So just take my word for it that his .563 OPS against power pitchers is probably not an anomaly.

Outlook

Will Guyer learn to drive the ball the other way on those pitches he can't quite get all the away around on? At 29, the answer is "probably not." Still, a guy with good speed and a little pop, who hits lefties well and isn't embarrassingly bad against righties, and who can play all three outfield spots? Yeah, that has value.

Especially if new skipper Kevin Cash appreciates his mad bunting skillz.


Errrrrr...

Full disclosure: Brandon Guyer was born in the same town where I went to college, and at the same time as I was in school there. However, any and all the rumors you may have heard about me being Guyer's dad are totally not true. Probably.