Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/16/14
The Tampa Bay Rays have a deep and talented pitching staff, which extends into their farm system. Of the bunch, Taylor Guerrieri has a chance to be as good as any. A 20-year-old [as of tomorrow] right-hander, Guerrieri is the team’s top pitching prospect. Drafted 24th overall in 2011, he began his professional career this summer with short-season Hudson Valley and dominated the New York-Penn League. He featured a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball while he logged a 1.04 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP in 12 starts. In 52 innings, he struck out 45 batters and walked only five. Guerrieri talked about his pitching approach after the Futures at Fenway doubleheader in mid-August. —— David Laurila: How do get guys out? Taylor Guerrieri: I just get ahead with the fastball, or really with any pitch. Making sure you stay ahead is the key. To me, it’s get ahead early and get ahead often. I try to stay true with my pitch sequence. A lot of it, for me, is based on where the guy is set up on the plate. If he’s further in, I’m going to come in. If he’s a little bit away from the plate, I’m going to go away. A lot depends on the batter, but I also have a game plan. DL: Who dictates your game plan? TG: It’s basically the manager, pitching coach and myself. It’s about staying ahead with the fastball until they prove they can hit the fastball. I usually don’t show them too much until they show they can hit it. The plan isn’t so much about particular hitters as it is my approach. DL: You throw your two-seam fastball more than your four-seam. Why? TG: I grew up throwing a two-seamer. I’m just now learning how to throw a four-seam off the mound and get comfortable with it. That will be a big pitch for me, so I’m looking to progress with it. I don’t think there’s a lot of difference [in velocity]. It’s more of a placement pitch; more of a set-up pitch. I like to throw a lot of two-seamers and my four helps me set that up. My two-seam has a little running action and some sinking, as well. It has more run toward the glove side and more sink toward the arm side. DL: How important is velocity to your game? TG: It is important. I’m not going to lie. But I think a lot of it is about pitch sequence and location. I’ve learned a lot this summer. Like when to throw certain pitches, how to throw certain pitches and how to go up with the fastball — not just east and west, but north and south. Changing the eye levels of hitters is huge. DL: What else is in your repertoire? TG: I throw a curveball and a changeup. I’d say my curveball is above average and my changeup is a work in progress. It’s getting there, but it’s a pitch I really just started developing in spring training. It’s a split-change. I vary with it, but the majority of time it’s a split-change. DL: What goes into determining the right grip? TG: It’s really whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever you can throw strikes with. It’s not just about the movement. It’s more about pitch speed and trying to throw the hitter off. My changeup has been a focus for me this summer, as has my overall command. My curveball has always been a pretty good pitch, so that hasn’t been a concern. DL: Your curveball looked pretty good yesterday. TG: I was pretty happy with it. The last inning, I came out and threw a couple of first-pitch strikes with it. It’s always important to throw your off-speed for strikes as well as you can. I executed that, so I was pretty happy with my curveball. It’s a good pitch for me. DL: What was it like to pitch at Fenway Park? TG: It was amazing, something I’ll never forget it. There was definitely a little bit of adrenaline. I think that first pitch showed everybody I had a little bit of an adrenaline run. I like to compete, but I usually feel pretty settled in on the mound. It’s mostly about finding my groove. Once you find that, you’re usually all set. Hudson Valley Renegades manager Jared Sandberg on Guerrieri: “Taylor is the real deal. He has a plus-fastball with command. He has both a two-seam and a four-seam, and he likes his two-seam over his four. His curveball has tremendous depth to it, and he can throw it for strikes. He can spot it up. He also has a changeup. His velocity is 92 to 97, so he‘s definitely a power pitcher. Maturity-wise, I think he’s well above his years. He’s on his way.”
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

Niners OT Anthony Davis takes shot at offensive coordinator

Report: Josh Smith expected to sign with Rockets

Cullen Jenkins unhappy over his roughing the passer fine

Bochy: Peavy trade was best in-season move of 2014

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

WATCH: Bahamas Bowl ends on insane Hail Mary play

Mike Yeo slams Wild for not having 'winner's attitude'

Michigan St. QB, Ohio State TE have awkward Twitter exchange

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each NFL Week 17 game

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Ibaka, Aldridge ejected for scuffle

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Nick Young on Kobe-less win: He needs to pass

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.