The offensive sample size is small, and Luis Guillorme is actually considered by most to be a glove-first infielder. Still, the 23-year-old rookie hasn’t struck out in 51 straight plate appearances – the longest active streak in the majors – after flying out to leftfield in the third inning as a pinch-hitter in Tuesday's game against the Reds, proving that his contact skills are legitimate.
“It’s definitely a chance to showcase myself,” said Guillorme, who was recalled on July 28 and figures to serve as one of the primary utility infielders during the final two months of the season. “I’m out here trying to show them what I can do, how I can help the team, so I’m going to just keep trying to do whatever it is they need me to do.”
Guillorme said he never wants to leave the fate of an at-bat up to the plate umpire, hence his tendency to shorten up and fight off tough two-strike pitches. He said that he’ll sometimes chase pitches out of the zone to ensure that he isn’t punched out looking, but he said he trusts his hand-eye coordination enough to warrant doing so.
Hitting .215/.292/.246 over 72 plate appearances, Guillorme is hardly a threat in the box. But he’s only struck out three times (or once every 24 at-bats), and his 4.2 percent strikeout rate is on the opposite end of a nearly baseball-wide trend of increased strikeouts.
“There’s got to be a guy that works the count,” Guillorme said. “There’s got to be a guy that gets on base. Nobody’s going to end up with 100 RBIs hitting solo shots, so they’ve got to have somebody to drive in. I’m the guy that’s going to create the runs. I’m not ‘supposed’ to drive them, per say, but I’m supposed to create them somehow.”
The highest strikeout rate in baseball belongs to Joey Gallo, who entered action Tuesday striking out in 35.8 percent of his 430 plate appearances, or once every 2.8 trips to the plate.
Across town, Aaron Judge (30.6 percent strikeout rate) and Giancarlo Stanton (30 percent) also strike out at a high clip. The difference between Guillorme and those three, though, is that they each possess the ability to drive the ball consistently.
Between 2016-17, Mookie Betts went 129 plate appearances without striking out in the regular season (he struck out once in the 2016 Division Series).
What sets Guillorme apart is his short swing and quick load, which results in a simple, controlled approach.
“Later in the count, you’re just trying to battle to get that one pitch you can do damage with,” Guillorme said. “Early in the count, you can sacrifice a little more and try to drive the ball a little more, but like I said, earlier in the count, depends on the situation – inning, score, everything.”
It’s still unknown if Guillorme, who hit .286/.362/.335 across six seasons in the minors, can be someone who can make an impact offensively. Someone who continuously puts the ball in play, though, is a useful trait on a team like the Mets, who are 23rd in baseball with 114 home runs. They need to move runners along in order to score, and that’s Guillorme’s forte.
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