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Pitching prospect Jorge Guzman shines in 2018 debut

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Giancarlo Stanton who?

Photo by @GoHammerheads/Twitter

A big Saturday surprise: one of the very best Marlins pitching prospects, right-hander Jorge Guzman, made his 2018 season debut with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads on Saturday afternoon. The team didn’t announce him as the game’s probable starter until shortly before first pitch.

Guzman recorded seven strikeouts while allowing two hits and three walks during his four scoreless innings. He also plunked an opposing batter in the second inning and threw 68 pitches overall (38 strikes). The Hammerheads lost the game, 2-1.

Back in December, Guzman came to the organization from the Yankees as the centerpiece of the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Starlin Castro and infield prospect Jose Devers were also included in the package, with the Marlins taking responsibility for $30 million of Stanton’s contract.

During his three professional seasons with the Astros and Yankees, the Dominican native owned a 3.67 earned run average with 171 strikeouts in 162 innings (43 games/33 starts). Competing in the High-A Florida State League represents a significant challenge considering that he spent all of last summer at the Short Season A level.

Guzman was working in extended spring training prior to this first game appearance for Jupiter. His career-high workload is only 66 23 innings (set last season), so it stands to reason that the Marlins will handle him cautiously in 2018.

The 22-year-old’s best tool is his explosive fastball. He reached 100 miles per hour multiple times on Saturday, according to the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium radar gun, and has maxed out at 103 in the past.

It’s not realistic to expect Guzman in the major leagues this season, but he could enter the picture by 2019 with good health and continued success.