A little over a week ago I took a trip up to Dayton to see Ismael Guillon pitch for the first time aside from a few video clips here and there. Guillon has to be in the argument for comeback player of the year in the minors, if such an award did exist. The lefty posted a 6.57 ERA in Billings as a 19 year old while struggling to throw strikes and keep the ball in the yard (15% walk rate and 11 home runs in 63 innings). Guillon however did make some changes and was able to finish the season with a strong final 5 starts in 2011. Returning to Billings this year the lefty continued that momentum and never let up as he was named to the postseason All Star team in the Pioneer League as he posted a 2.29 ERA in 51 innings with 24 walks and 63 strikeouts while giving up just 1 home run before earning a promotion to Dayton where he made four starts before the season ended. In those four starts it was similar to what he did in Billings with a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings with 7 walks and 27 strikeouts.

The game that I saw him pitch he went 6 innings and allowed 2 runs with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts on August 29th.


Fastball: It ranged throughout the game, but mostly worked 88-91. Dipped down to 86 a time or three and got as high as 93 a handful of times (all in the 6th inning).

Curveball: A big looping breaking ball that worked 67-71 MPH.

Change up: A good pitch thrown in the low 80’s.


Being that it was the first time I was seeing him in person, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He has cleaned up his mechanics from the last time I had a chance to see video of him. While I can’t describe exactly what they used to look like, they were a bit funky. Reports I had on Guillon reported a potentially plus change up, so I expect him to use that as his go to pitch, but he actually seemed to go to his curveball a little more to put hitters away. With that said, unlike most young pitchers who have a third pitch they will use every now and again, Guillon seemed to use his fastball, breaking ball and change up in good proportions to each other and seemed to mix them up well. He seems to slow his arm down a little bit when he throws his breaking ball, though I am not sure it is enough to really give away the pitch. His fastball and change up were both good looking pitches, especially when he was able to add velocity in the final inning of his outing where he seemingly just overpowered the hitters sitting comfortably in the 92-93 range after working a few ticks lower for the rest of the game. After losing some of his prospect luster from 2010 (where I ranked him as the Reds #13 prospect at the time) to 2011, his strong 2012 season seems to have brought him back to the conversation for one of the better pitching prospects in the system.

12 Responses

  1. The Duke

    I have Guillon ahead of Lotzkar, albeit i’m not sure if I would if Lotzkar stayed consistently healthy.

    • Doug Gray

      I can see that argument. I think that I have him right behind him right now because I think Lotzkar could probably get guys out in the Majors out of the bullpen right now (well, assuming health of course). I don’t think Guillon could and their upsides are probably similar.

  2. MK

    I had the opportunity to see the organization’s top two lefties Guillon and Cingrani in person the past summer, and to be fair it wasn’t one of Cingrani’s best nights, but I really think I prefer Guillon long term. Cingrani is a much more polished pitcher, but Guillon’s third pitch is better right now. Unless Tony’s #3 gets better I think he will relegated to the bullpen.

  3. sultan of swaff

    Great great arm speed on the changeup, it’s definitely plus. I also like how quickly he delivers the ball. As for the curve, I’d prefer to see a little less 12-6 action and more slider-type movement to keep LH hitters honest. There are very few ML pitchers with big looping curves anymore because hitters are too adept at recognizing them—case in point Homer Bailey. He dropped his big curve from his repertoire.

  4. fromcubawithluv

    Doug, did you see Mayo’s prospect ranking update? The top 20 for Reds were interesting. The front 6 was good and notable what order he had them in, but after that, it was like he pulled names out of a hat or something. Rahier anyone? Craziness

    Good to know he thinks we have 4 top 100 guys right now in what still feels like a somewhat depleted system.

  5. Norwood Nate

    So is Guillon worth protecting next year from Rule-5, or is he someone unlikely to be picked up? He’s only pitched a handful of games at low A, but you’d hate to lose him.

    • Doug Gray

      I think you have to. He is the kind of arm you see teams grab up every year.