With all the hubbub about Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the universally top-ranked prospect in baseball, it’s a moment to note the other member of the Guerrero family who played in Jackson.
Gabriel Guerrero — as a Jackson General in 2015 he was known as Gabby — looks more like Vladimir Guerrero Sr. than the super prospect son of Vladimir who has made a memorable debut with the Toronto Blue Jays. Gabriel is currently an outfielder for the Miami Marlins’ AAA Pacific Coast League team, the New Orleans Baby Cakes.
Gabriel’s mannerisms are remarkably like those of Guerrero Sr., the Hall of Famer who played for Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He looks the same just standing in the batter’s box, no batting gloves, big (as in long) hands, and, like his famous uncle, possesses a strong arm as an outfielder.
But you won’t see Gabriel Guerrero’s name atop the rankings of big-league prospects. At one time, there was some excitement about him. He even made it to the major leagues last September when the Cincinnati Reds called him up from AAA Louisville late in the season. He hit his first big-league home run during that run but was left as a minor league free agent after the season.
He’s not hitting much now. He has a weak .197 batting average in 19 games for New Orleans.
Nevertheless, Gabriel is one level away from the major league club, and he’s still only 25 years old in his ninth year of professional baseball. Like the other Guerreros, he’s from the Dominican Republic.
In 2015, he had 177 at-bats for Jackson in the Southern League and hit only .215 with two home runs. The Generals were part of the Seattle Mariners’ organization at the time. He was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks mid-season in 2015 and went to the Reds’ organization in 2017. He was the Southern League’s Home Run Derby Champion as a member of the Reds’ AA farm club at the time in Pensacola. He graduated to AAA Louisville, getting 404 at-bats and batting .292 with 17 home runs last season. That led to his brief call-up with the Reds in September when he hit .167 in 14 games.
Not being able to make the major league club in the Marlins’ organization says a lot. They are not very good. The window of opportunity does not appear to be what it once might have been for Gabriel Guerrero.
The Baby Cakes are hosting the Memphis Redbirds this week for a three-game series. New Orleans will play at Nashville in a four-game series beginning May 30. The team plays five more games in Nashville June 20-24 and visits Memphis June 29-July 3 and July 23-25.