This is the Ronald Guzman we’ve been waiting for.
The Frisco Roughriders’ first baseman will take his hacks at the plate during the Texas League All-Star Game Home Run Derby in Springfield, Missouri on Tuesday. Guzman earned a spot on the South Division roster as one of eight participants in the competition. He's also one of seven Roughriders named to the All-Star team.
Guzman, part of the Class of 2011 international signing group with the Rangers that included Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor, is having a solid year for Double-A Frisco. He’s hitting .287 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI in 70 games, becoming one of Roughriders’ most dangerous and consistent hitters during the first half of the season.
One ingredient for success was cutting down on the strikeouts. Guzman had three seasons of 100-plus strikeouts while showing very little power at the plate. Once he made an adjustment in his swing and started making better contact, the power started showing up. Guzman hit 12 home runs last season while moving up the Rangers minor league system. He’ll more than likely pass that this season.
Guzman has fought through some adversity during his time in the minors, including being involved in a fatal traffic accident in 2014 in the Dominican Republic. A motorcyclist hit Guzman’s SUV, which caused the driver to be thrown due to the impact and killed. Guzman ended up in a jail cell, but was cleared of any wrongdoing after tests revealed the driver was under the influence of alcohol. It was a life-changing moment for Guzman, who has managed to overcome that unfortunate incident and turn his career around.
Many have waited for Guzman to live up to his potential and start putting up numbers like this, but let’s not forget he’s only 21 years old. Let’s put that into perspective, Guzman would be a junior in college. He was a can’t-miss prospect five years ago, and has now turned into a professional both on and off the field. Someday, you might see a Class of 2011 reunion in Arlington with Guzman joining Odor and Mazara on the big league roster. He’ll go as far as his bat will take him in the Rangers system, and right now his bat looks pretty good.
The Texas League Home Run Derby will begin at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday at Hammons Field in Springfield, home of the Springfield Cardinals. The All-Star Game will be played afterwards at 7:10 p.m.