Right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman was acquired by the Yankees from the Houston Astros, along with Albert Abreu in exchange for catcher Brian McCann during the 2016-2017 offseason. The flamethrower was originally signed by Houston as an International free agent in 2014 out of Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic
In 2015, he made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Astros before spending some time in the Gulf Coast League. He started off the season with the DSl Astros 2 team and would only start four games, throwing 13 1/3 innings for them and earning a 7.43 ERA, walking eight and striking out eight before moving over to the DSL Astros.
In nine games, seven starts, he struck out 19 batters in 33 innings with a 4.91 ERA. Though he wasn’t particularly dominant, he was promoted to the Gulf Coast League. In the GCL, Guzman pitched in just four games with one of them being starts. He struck out two and walked seven in nine innings.
Combined among all three teams, he was 3-4 with a 5.04 ERA. Opponents hit .273 against him, and he walked 30 in 55 1/3 innings.
Guzman split his time between the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League in 2016. He started off the season returning to the GCL where he was 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in seven games, four starts. He had much more success last summer, as he struck out 25 and walked 10 in 17 1/3 innings. His success earned him a promotion to the Appalachian League, where, with the Greenville Astros, he was 2-3 with a 4.75 ERA over six games, four starts.
He continued to strike batters out with 29 K’s over 22 2/3 innings. Overall, batters hit just .196 against him during the season.
Guzman possesses a powerful fastball that has hit 103 already. Long-term, though, there are questions about whether or not he will stay as a starter or move to the bullpen. He tends to overthrow when he reaches back for more velocity. He complements his big-time fastball with a slider and a changeup that is still developing.
Guzman has already spent time in the Appalachian League in 2016, so it is conceivable that he will return to that level in 2017. It will be his first chance to suit up in the Pinstripes, and could be a fun player to watch on the Pulaski Yankees.