This afternoon, shortstop Javier Guerra was promoted from Lake Elsinore (High-A) to San Antonio (Double-A). As of yet, no corresponding move has been announced for Lake Elsinore, but Guerra fills a spot left vacant by outfielder Nick Schulz, who was promoted to El Paso (Triple-A) after Franchy Cordero was recalled by the Padres. Cordero was brought up after Austin Hedges was placed on the disabled list for concussion-like symptoms.
The Guerra call-up is a little surprising, seeing as how he is only slashing .226/.227/.358 on the year for the Storm – and this in the hitter friendly Cal League. In 15 games in July, however, he’s hit a more palatable .270/.313/.492. His strikeout rate in July was at 16.4%, less than half of the 33.3% it was during the first three months of the year. He has walked just 19 times this year, good for a 5.1% rate.
At one point, Guerra was considered to be the crown jewel of the Craig Kimbrel trade, but his stock has since dropped far below that of Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje (both currently with the Padres), and even Logan Allen has turned into one of the bevy of promising young arms in the system. His defense at shortstop is arguably the best in the system, including the majors, but his bat has been a question mark since he was acquired.
With that flurry of moves seemingly linked, it will be interesting to see how long Guerra sticks at Double-A. Once Hedges gets back from the DL, everybody could be shifted down a level again (Schulz and Cordero have already bounced back and forth between levels this year). However, since promoting José Rondon, the Missions have had a rotating cast move through shortstop, including second baseman Luis Urías and infielders Noah Perio and Peter Van Gansen.
There is healthy speculation among Padres fans that moving Guerra up from Lake Elsinore opens up a spot for Fernando Tatis Jr. to move to High-A. The slugging shortstop has an .860 OPS in Single-A Fort Wayne this season, but is on a hot streak, with a 1.144 OPS in 24 games since the All-Star break. In fact, the more you analyze the situation, the move seems to only make sense if the reason is to get Tatis Jr. to a higher level of competition.
The Missions are in action tonight, as they look to split a four game series against the visiting Midland RockHounds (A’s affiliate).