I was probably still sporting a bad teenage moustache when former Toronto Blue Jays hurler Juan Guzman hung up the cleats and retired his jheri curl. My knowledge of baseball stats during his prime years was similar to my attention span at that point, seriously lacking.
Blue Jays nation has always had an affliction with Mr. Guzman and as I recall he was often referred to as a key member of the rotation when Roger Clemens and Pat Hentgen were anchoring it.
With that I wanted to have a look back and see if Juan Guzman was actually any good?
Let’s take a look at his career numbers:
Those are respectable numbers for Guzman over a ten year career, averaging approximately 2.7 WAR per season. Guzman did a solid job of keeping the ball in the yard and gave up 1360 hits in 1483.1 innings (he held a career .283 BABIP).
The biggest weakness for Guzman was his control issues with a BB/9 over 4.0, walking 10.5% of the batters he faced.
His best season came in ’92, only his second year in the big leagues when he produced a career high 5.7 WAR in 28 regular season starts.
For the year he was 16-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 180.2 innings giving up 135 hits, 72 walks and 165 strikeouts. His K/9 was 8.2, BB/9 was a respectable 3.6 and his HR/9 was 0.30 – giving him a very impressive 2.60 FIP.
As I peruse the Blue Jays current roster for a statistical comparable I look no further than Kyle Drabek who would do worse than match Guzman’s career numbers. This season Drabek’s K/9 is currently 7.8 while his BB/9 sits at 4.50, both very similar to Guzman’s career line.
There approach and pitch selection may differ and Guzman’s slider might have allowed him to miss more bats (and rack up strikeouts) than Kyle but the statistical similarities are definitely there early on.
Of course it is too early to tell what type of pitcher Mr. Drabek can become as he is only scratching the surface on what is hopefully the beginning of a solid career.
Juan Guzman was a solid mid-rotation contributor who always seemingly teased the fan base into thinking he could produce at a higher level, like 1992.