Ismael Guillon missed the entire 2015 season. He returned from a torn latissimus muscle in his back in 2016 and joined the Daytona Tortugas. The season got out to a tough start as he allowed two runs in 2.1 innings.He rebounded well, allowing just two runs the rest of the month in 11.1 innings with four walks and 12 strikeouts. After throwing 2.1 and 2.0 innings in his first two appearances the remaining seven appearances were all between 1.0 and 1.2 innings pitched. Guillon posted a 3.00 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP on the month.
The first two appearances of May came out of the bullpen, but on the 9th the left hander made his way into the rotation. The first start didn’t go well as he allowed three runs in 3.0 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. The next two starts were much better. Guillon tossed 4.0 hitless innings on the 14th and allowed two runs in 5.0 innings on the 19th. In both starts he had six strikeouts. He returned to the bullpen on the 24th, but threw 4.0 innings of relief. He struggled with control on the day, walking four batters. On the final day of the month he started the back half of a double header. He again struggled with control, walking four batters in 5.0 innings. For the month he posted a 3.97 ERA in 22.2 innings with 13 walks and 32 strikeouts.
June kicked off with 4.0 no-hit innings against Fort Myers, but it also came with four walks. Ismael Guillon didn’t pitch for nearly three weeks following that outing before returning to the mound on the 23rd. That start was a struggle as the lefty gave up four runs in 3.2 innings. Five days later he returned with arguably his best game of the season to that point. Against Clearwater he threw 6.0 shutout innings with six strikeouts. With just three games he had a 2.63 ERA in 13.2 innings with five walks and 12 strikeouts.
July got out to a tough start in the control department. In his first two starts, Ismail Guillon walked six batters with four strikeouts in 11.0 combined innings. He returned to the bullpen after that, making three appearances in the next week. He threw 7.0 innings without an earned run, three walks and nine strikeouts in that span. On the 24th he tossed 2.0 perfect innings with four strikeouts. The Venezuelan native rounded out the month by making a return to the rotation on the 28th. Guillon dominated with 5.0 shutout innings, one walk and 10 strikeouts. With an ERA of 1.08 in 25.0 innings, 10 walks and 27 strikeouts it was his best month to date.
On the back end of a double header on August 3rd he followed his 10 strikeout start with another one. He allowed one hit, a solo home run in the game. Five days later he threw a hitless inning out of the bullpen. In another start in the second game of a double header, he threw 6.0 shutout innings with a walk and nine strikeouts. In the next week he would return to the bullpen, allowing two runs in 2.1 innings. With his final start of the year he allowed a run in 5.0 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Guillon returned for one final appearance, throwing 0.2 shutout innings on the 28th to wrap up his season. For the month he continued his dominance, posting a 1.80 ERA in 20.0 innings with six walks and 32 strikeouts.
Ismael Guillon has had an up-and-down career since signing with the organization. After missing the 2015 season he put together what was probably his best season of his career. It was the first year that he spent in the bullpen, though he did make 13 starts over the course of the season. While he filled in as a starter, his future is in the bullpen. He saw success in both roles during the year with a 2.30 ERA as a starter and a 2.64 ERA as a reliever.
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Ismael Guillon Scouting Report
Fastball | He was working in the 92-94 MPH range for most of the season and touched higher on occasion. He’s got above-average velocity for a lefty and at his highest he’s flashing plus velo.
Change Up | His bread-and-butter pitch, working in the low 78-82 MPH range, the pitch shows good movement on two planes and he sells it extremely well. It’s a plus offering.
Curveball | A clear third pitch, it’s an average offering in the low 70’s with 12-6 breaking action to it. It can be a bit loopy, but has become a third pitch he goes to rather than a pitch he would rely on over his change up.
There’s some control issues that need to be worked through for Ismael Guillon, but the lefty was strong down the stretch as he walked just 6.3% of the batters he faced in his last 10 appearances and 30.0 innings. That was a big improvement over the first 63.1 innings where he walked 12.9% of the batters he faced. In that final 30 inning stretch he struck out 52 of the 110 batters he faced as he flat out embarrassed the Florida State League hitters from mid-July through the end of the season.
As a left hander there will be a want to utilize him as a LOOGY, but he’s been very strong against right handed hitters too. His change up and fastball plays well against them and he held righties to a .174 average in 2016. They did touch him up for nine home runs in 255 plate appearances though as his extreme fly ball tendencies do make him suspect to home runs. For as good as he was against righties, he was even better against left handers. Guillon held lefties to a .133/.233/.222 line during the year.
The control and big fly ball rate don’t exactly sound like they play the greatest in home run friendly Great American Ballpark. If he’s able to improve his control, like he showed down the stretch in 2016, that could go a long way. He’s got the stuff to miss bats at a high rate in the Majors, so it’s going to be all about making improvements in the strike-throwing department.