When the Tampa Bay Rays drafted Taylor Guerreri as their first pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, many analysts were surprised that Guerreri had slid so low. The Rays’ first pick was #24 in the draft, and many people considered Guerreri one of the top right-handed pitchers in the draft. But due to the depth of quality pitching in this year’s draft and some unspecified “make-up concerns” surrounding an incident in high school.
As it turns out, the Rays may have gotten a steal. The Rays’ beat reporters contacted Guerreri on a conference call before the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, and it turns out those make-up concerns were overblown. Marc Topkin has the full transcription:
“I had one beer in the afternoon prior to a football game. I wasn’t drunk or misbehaving. The police resource officer came up to me and she asked me if I had any alcohol and I admitted it and said yes I had a beer whenever she asked. At that point my dad took me out of the stadium and we just decided that to switch schools might be best for me.”
So an 18-year-old had a beer? And it was only one beer, and he came clean about it to the police? I don’t see what the big fuss was about. If anything, this speaks to me about Guerreri’s maturity; it takes some guts to admit to a police officer that you had an underage beer.
If this incident did cause Guerreri to fall later in the draft than he would have otherwise, then the Rays should consider themselves lucky. They just got a stud pitching prospect, and it turns out there’s little to worry about concerning his maturity.