Red Sox Prospect Preview: Chad De La Guerra

There are 12 baseball players from Grand Canyon University to have made their MLB debuts. The most famous and successful of them all is longtime Los Angeles Angels outfielder Tim Salmon. The next Lope to add his name to the list may just be Chad De La Guerra.

Chad De La GuerraThe infielder is the Boston Red Sox’s No. 25th ranked prospect by hitting a career-high slash line of .283/.361/.437. He was eligible for four straight MLB Drafts from 2011-14; first as a high school senior in California, as a Junior College freshman, then as a sophomore in College of the Canyons (also in Calif.) and finally as a junior in the Phoenix-based GCU, but went unselected each year.

At GCU, De La Guerra won the Western Athletic Conference batting title with a .373 average in 2014. He went on a 24-game hitting streak during his senior season in 2015. He finally got the respect he was looking for and was rewarded by the Red Sox with a $5,000 signing bonus and a 17th round selection.

De La Guerra struggled during his first two seasons in pro ball, hitting only .265 for the Lowell Spinners in 2015 and .250 for the Greenville Drive in 2016. Fracturing his lower leg that season didn’t help much either. After a career year between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland, there’s hope for more this season.

Is De La Guerra The Next Brock Holt?

De la Guerra spent most of last season at shortstop as a way to expand towards a utility role. He also saw action at third base in the Arizona Fall League. He has demonstrated to be a capable and steady defender with sure hands but an average arm.

De la Guerra is clearly working towards a niche as the next Eduardo Nunez, a utility infielder who can land a starting role if he can hit for high average. If he ever learned to play in the outfield, he could also become the next Brock Holt. Holt was an All-Star in 2015 and could hit for average no matter where he played on the diamond. So that would be a good place to strive for.

De la Guerra will be starting the season in Triple-A Pawtucket, along with Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin.

Upper Minors to Use Pitch Clock In 2015

pitch clock

The game of baseball is losing popularity with younger generations for one simple    reason—the games are so long. A lot of young people these days lack patience, so Major League Baseball is working on something to speed up the process of games.
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After successfully cutting down the length of games by using a pitch clock in the Arizona Fall League this past fall, MLB commissioner Bud Selig decided to give it a try in the upper Minors this upcoming season (AA and AAA). It will likely be the last thing he does as he is leaving office on January 25th when Rob Manfred will be coming in from relief to replace him.

pitch clockIn the Arizona Fall League, there was a 12 second time limit between pitches no one on base, but the limit was increased to 20 seconds with runners on. If the pitcher did not throw the ball in the allotted time, it was called a ball.
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Arizona Diamondbacks top prospect who started his team’s first game in the Fall League went about everything normally, but said, “Then I look at the clock and it’s already at 14 seconds,” Bradley said of the time remaining before the next pitch. “I’m like, oh jeez!”

Combined with time limits between innings and a rule that did not allow batters to step out of the box, the Arizona Fall League was able to shave 10 minutes off each game it was used.

From a Minor League reporter’s perspective, this is great news. It will certainly be a nice change in pace given how long some games can drag on for what seems like an eternity– especially if there is a rain delay.
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Right now, Major League Baseball has a 12 second pitch rule (Rule 8.04) but it is never enforced because there is not a visible pitch clock. If this experiment goes over well in the Minors, perhaps it makes it’s way to the big leagues in 2016.