Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' first-round pick remains silent amid questions about past

ST. PETERSBURG — When it comes to the Rays' first first-round pick, right-hander Taylor Guerrieri, few debate his power arm and potential.

In that sense, the fact that the Spring Valley High (S.C.) senior — who was ranked the 10th best overall player in the draft by Baseball America — fell to Tampa Bay at No. 24 overall drew plenty of excitement.

"The talent is really good," Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said. "I mean, really good."

But what has raised some questions is why, exactly, Guerrieri dropped in the draft, and there have been some rumored issues with maturity and makeup. And the fact that he has been silent since Monday's selection, not speaking to the media like other first-rounders do, further fueled speculation.

Guerrieri told his hometown paper, The State (Columbia, S.C.), that his advisers instructed him not to conduct interviews. He did speak to a Rays area scout Monday night, and Harrison plans to meet with Guerrieri and his family next week to emphasize the importance of getting a deal done.

Harrison isn't concerned about Guerrieri, saying the rumored off-the-field issues were based on a lot of "misinformation" and "blown out of proportion."

"In our business or any business, especially now that there's more media involved … if a kid has some sort of hiccup, rumors start, things start spreading around," Harrison said. "Sometimes (teams) just choose to back away from it. But this guy has got really good ability. … Look, it's life. Sometimes (stuff) happens. We weren't run off by it. …

"And I think because of the fact the kid switched schools his senior year and stuff like that, people start to make more out of it than what it is."

Guerrieri did change schools in late October of his senior year, going from North Augusta to Spring Valley as his family moved to Columbia. Though details are fuzzy, North Augusta assistant coach Vic Radcliff said Guerrieri transferred partly to be close to the University of South Carolina, where he was committed. Guerrieri also was familiar with an assistant coach at Spring Valley, Collin Liggett. The Aiken County School District confirmed it was a legit transfer, and Radcliff said there were "no hard feelings."

Radcliff did indicate that there was some growing up Guerrieri needed to do, though he declined to get into specifics.

"Kids get into things, and Taylor is no different," Radcliff said. "What is glaring above all is he's passionate about baseball, and playing major-league baseball is something he has always talked about, a dream of his. I think he's got a good supporting cast with his parents, they stay on him.

"I just think that with professional sports, there are temptations out there … especially for a young kid who hasn't been exposed to that kind of thing before. I talked to a couple of scouts, everyone is on the same page. They just need to keep a good watch on him and make sure they help him make good decisions."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tampa Bay Rays' first-round pick remains silent amid questions about past 06/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.