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.