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.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Metta World Peace expresses interest to coach St John's

Knicks want Marc Gasol, do they know what they’re asking for?

New York Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot

Victorino: I plan on playing every day for Red Sox in 2015

The Rams are still planning on drafting a quarterback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Howard willing to make 'ultimate sacrifice' to help Rockets

Pacquiao bought P. Diddy’s house for $12.5M, fight tickets

The Seahawks are already winning the NFL Draft

Fiancée takes stand at Aaron Hernandez's murder trial

Thunder announce Kevin Durant to miss rest of season

Jeremy Maclin says he still believes in Chip Kelly

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

Angels remove Josh Hamilton banner from front of stadium

Elite Eight preview: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

Support for relocation growing among NFL powers

Mother says special needs son forced to remove varsity letter

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Minnesota Timberwolves: Should they tank?

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

Twins to offer $19 Bloody Mary with pizza slice garnish

Ranking the NBA's hottest coaching seats

The beginning of the end for Notre Dame

An identity in flux: Harden and the collective consciousness

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

Five under-the-radar AL MVP candidates

Michigan sent recruit's GF a letter

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.