On Monday night, the Rays used their first pick (number 24 overall) on Taylor Guerrieri, a pitcher from Spring Valley High School in South Carolina. And just about every story we have read on the kid mentions “makeup” and “maturity” issues.

On the day of the draft, Joey Johnston of the Tampa Tribune wrote:

Some published reports said scouts had concerns about the decision-making and makeup of Guerrieri, who spent three seasons at North Augusta (S.C.) High School before transferring to Spring Valley last October. Guerrieri’s family selected Spring Valley because they were familiar with assistant coach Collin Liggett.

On Tuesday, Joe Smith of the St. Pete Times wrote:

But with Guerrieri, 18, the talk has not all been about his talent. It’s been reported that makeup and maturity issues forced Guerrieri to drop in the draft, though Harrison has said those were based on a lot of misinformation and has been “blown out of proportion”…Harrison appeared to indicate that with Guerrieri’s alleged makeup concerns, there’s more smoke than substance.

But as of yet, nobody is saying what exactly is being “blown out of proportion.”

Here is what we know…

Guerrieri transferred high schools in October of his senior year.

Transferring high schools is not unusual for big-time athlete. But rarely does it happen in the middle of the school year. Reports state that Guerrieri picked his new school based on his familiarity with the baseball coach for whom he had played for previously. But that does not tell us why he decided to leave his previous school in the first place.

And in this case, there doesn’t appear to be any professional advantage to switching schools. As one of the top high school pitchers in the country, he was already committed to the University of South Carolina, and he was going to be drafted based on stuff. Not based on how many games he won his senior year.

The transfer was very sudden.

According to his former high school coach, “he was here, then he was gone…it was like it was overnight.” And when the coach spoke about the move, he made a point to say that he “holds no ill will toward the family.” So, who does he hold ill will towards?

A lot of people know, but nobody is talking.

According to Baseball America, questions about the transfer and Guerrieri’s makeup “persist among scouts who declined to discuss it on the record.”

This tells us that the rumors, true or not, are much more than your typical teenage hijinks.

And his former hometown paper recently referred to “unsubstantiated off-the-field incidents.”

This tells us that we are not talking about him in general. Rather the reports are referring to at least one specific event that had nothing to do with baseball.

So…Why did Guerrieri transfer? Did something happen at school? With his coach? With other students? Did something happen that caused him to be ineligible his senior year at his former school? Was he burned by acid or something?

And if the rumors were so unsubstantiated, then why did so many teams pass on Guerrieri?

If he really is the best high school pitching prospect that one scout has ever seen, then teams aren’t going to just hear a rumor and then pass. They will do their homework. So in this case, we have to assume that a lot of teams did their homework and still passed.

So what are we dealing with here? We don’t know. And nobody is talking. But a lot of people are whispering.

In the meantime, we’ll let you guys use your imagination. And whether they like it or not, that is what the fans will do as long as people keep talking about it, but nobody elaborates.

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23 Comments

  1. Derek says:

    I guess this draft is a lose-lose for the Rays then, yeah? They draft a few kids before they needed to, and they get flack for it. They draft the best player on the board, and they get flack for it.... A lot of speculation about this kid, nothing of substance.

    They difference between this kid and any other 18 year old is the spot light. Everybody does questionable things as a teenager. Some get caught, most don't. Some get national headlines, most don't.

    Until there is a real counter story out there, I'm buying the parents story of them wanting to be closer to USC and the coach. Even if this ends up being more than that, unless he killed someone, I don't care. Harper is and asshat too, but I wish he was mashing for the Hot Rods right now.

    I think him moving had a lot to do with his slip in the draft. I mean, that's a sign of him being a strong commit to USC, and I'm sure some teams were worried about him signing. But, at 24, he was too good to let slip by. A team at 15 can pass, because the other guy they choose is still a top prospect.

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    • Greg says:

      I agree with this completely. I did a lot of stupid stuff when I was in high school, so I'll cut him a lot of slack here too. More importantly, as a former Gamecock and a Rays fan, I'm not sure what to I want him to do, but I think it's a win-win for me.

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  2. Jordi says:

    The Rays dealt with Elijah Dukes, everyone else should be cream cheese.

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  3. Don says:

    Forget transfering schools, forget discipline,teenage pranks...
    the main reason teams would pass if they found out...would be drugs..
    You think the Rays (scouts) would be also tuned into this type Info.....
    Pass and go to college for a few years?

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  4. Kevin says:

    The last guy I remember there being mysterious "makeup concerns" like this about was Slade Heathcott. It finally came out on the record this year:
    http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/may/13/tale-of-salvation/

    "Slade Heathcott aimed the shotgun at his father.

    "I was ready to do it," the Charleston RiverDogs' 20-year-old millionaire center fielder said. "Had my finger on the trigger."

    The near-deadly low point of Heathcott's junior year of high school started like too many tormented nights in Texarkana, Texas. More yelling and screaming, mom and dad grinding through a divorce. "

    ---

    Then he went nuts and kicked a catcher in a Sally game this year. So who knows.

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  5. Kevin says:

    My concern about this pick is that if the Rays expected him to be gone by pick #24 they may not have spent as much time investigating his makeup and signability as teams picking in the 7-20 range, and that those teams found a good reason not to take him.

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    • Derek says:

      They spent enough time looking into it, that they know he didn't point a weapon at his father. So, I'm okay with that.

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  6. Kevin says:

    There were also make-up concerns about Kyle Drabek (but that was "just" him being a hothead and that he got caught drinking, which isn't a big deal for a HS kid quite frankly. I don't get the feeling it's just that with Guerrieri) and Clay Buchholz (who got caught stealing computers and was kicked off the McNeese state and had to transfer. Could be something like that with Guerrieri, I guess).

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    • Derek says:

      How can you even get a feeling? Nothing of substance has been said, if this was serious don't you think there would have been a newspaper article writing about it when it happened???

      It's all a bunch of crap. First we heard he wasn't talking to anybody. Yet he talked to the local paper and our local scout the night of. Granted he pretty much said no comment to the paper, but we were still feed misinformation.

      Stories like this get sites like this hits. Stories like this get small town news papers attention. Stories like this get useless sports writers attention.

      He will be getting paid to play baseball, and by ALL accounts he works as hard as anybody at that, so who cares?

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      • Kevin says:

        My feeling is based on the fact that he transferred schools and no one is going on record about it, unlike Drabek

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        • Derek says:

          And the move was to get him closer to USC. RJ even said that the move caused the rumors to get out of control, to me that kind of implies that the two are unrelated. His ex coach said "kids get into things." If this was serious, he wouldn't have been so nonchalant about it. Kids get into fights, kids get into vandalism on school grounds, kids get into playing ding-dong-ditch, but kids don't get into attempted murder. He wouldn't have said what he said unless it's something that most kids do. The difference is, this kid was being watched like a hawk.

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  7. Cork Gaines says:

    I would say about 95% of me doesn't care at all what the incident was. There is a small part that does want to know if the Rays wasted a pick on a head-case.

    But what is more interesting to me is the silence by Guerrieri and the way scouts and team's and the media are tip-toeing around it.

    Hypothetical: let's say he was arrested for DUI as a minor and was kicked off his old high school's team. Certainly a little more than typical high school hijinks. But not so bad that teams should be afraid of him. Just enough that if there were two equal talents, you might take the other guy.

    Now let's say this story was well-known and freely admitted by Guerrieri. I probably would have mentioned it on daft day at the end of the draft post. And then I might not have ever mentioned it again unless he got in trouble.

    But the way this is being handled makes the story interesting to me and to a lot of other fans.

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    • Sarah says:

      Maybe he needs to talk to Anthony Weiner about how to deflect a potential scandal!

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    • Derek says:

      I agree with most of this, but I do think that a DUI is the worst thing that I think this could end up being, just based on RJ's and his ex coaches comments. Anything worse that that, and I don't think either man would be so dismissive of it. Even if it is worse, I wouldn't call it a wasted pick. If the drafting of him was more of a reaction to their surprise of him still being on the board, and they go back and decide his future could be effected by this, then they won't offer him the amount of money he will ask for, and he wont sign. But they had almost no choice on draft day. Talent like his just wont be on the board next year at 24.

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  8. Sam says:

    I wish the kid the best of luck!! Every time he got into trouble his parents always got him out of it and tried to keep it under the covers. (Not once or twice) I think he could be a great player if he would get his head on stright and his parents would stop trying to cover everything up. Hope everything works out.

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  9. Amanda says:

    I just asked my BF, who's a huge USC baseball fan. Apparently, his "advisor" is Scott Boras. God ony knows what advice he's being given.

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    • Derek says:

      Don't talk to the media. That was his advice.

      At this point, the Rays will offer him a bonus, and he will either accept or deny it. There's not too much that Boras can advise him on other than saying yes or no. If anything, I'm happy if it is Boras talking in his ear. Boras is the best for a reason, and he wouldn't steer his cash cows in the wrong direction.

      "steer" "cows" haha. yesssssssssss

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      • Amanda says:

        *snert* I'm a sucker for a good pun. lol

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        • Derek says:

          Snert: Snot Nosed Egotistical Rude Teen. A term used in multiplayer internet game rooms to describe an unwanted participant who the terms used are applicable to.

          Low blow, Amanda. Low blow. All this time, I have been enjoying our battles in COD multiplayer.

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          • Amanda says:

            BS!!! I played EverQuest for years, and *snert* meant you were laughing as if through your nose. Next time I'll use LOL. *sheish* (Or is that going to be an acronym that i'm unaware of?)

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          • Derek says:

            Oh, so you're that girl. The snerter. ;)

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    • Kevin says:

      I'm 99% sure that Boras is NOT his advisor.

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