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Aaron Guiel

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Aaron Colin Guiel (Angel)

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[edit] Biographical Information

The brother of Jeff Guiel, Aaron Guiel plays for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

[edit] 1993-1997: In the Angels chain

Aaron was drafted in the 21st round of the 1992 amateur draft by the California Angels but signed too late to play for them that year. In 1993, Guiel debuted with the Boise Hawks and hit well, batting .298/~.447/.490. Aaron starred for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 1994, batting .269/.364/.458 and stealing 21 bases in 28 tries. His 32 errors led Midwest League second basemen but he led the club in runs (84), doubles (30), walks (64) and RBI (82) while tying for the lead with 18 home runs.

Guiel led the Angels minor leaguers with 69 walks in 1995, when he hit .269/~.374/.416 for the Lake Elsinore Storm. In 1996, the 23-year-old made his AA debut and batted .269/~.352/.435 for the Midland Angels. Guiel mostly played third base that year, moved from second.

Returning to Midland and now playing mostly in the outfield, Aaron hit .329/~.433/.609 in 1997. He homered 22 times and smacked 37 doubles and 7 triples in 116 games, scoring 91 runs and driving in 85. He was third in the Texas League in home runs behind Dan Collier and Fernando Tatis. Guiel led the TL in times hit by pitch (18) and slugging percentage and was 7th in average.

[edit] 1997-1999: Padres prospect

Guiel was traded in late August of 1997 to the San Diego Padres in return for Angelo Encarnacion. He batted .385/~.484/.577 in his 8 games with the Mobile BayBears that year.

In 1998, Guiel made it to AAA and hit .311/~.403/.519 in 60 games for the Las Vegas Stars. He was injured and made 8 rehab appearances with the AZL Padres, going 8 for 16 with five walks, 8 runs, 6 RBI and 16 total bases. Returning to Las Vegas the next year, he batted .245/~.355/.498 in 84 games, though he struck out 86 times in 257 AB. In the 1999 Pan-American Games, Guiel went 6 for 27 with a double and a home run for the Bronze Medalist Canadian team.

[edit] 2000: Muscling it out in Mexico

After spending spring training with the Oakland Athletics, Guiel was let go and signed with the Guerreros de Oaxaca. In 56 games for Oaxaca, he batted .365/~.512/.776 and smashed 22 home runs. He scored almost a run per game (55 runs), drew almost a walk per game (52) and drove in 62, over one per game. That earned him notice from the USA again and he was purchased by the Kansas City Royals.

[edit] 2000-2006: Omaha and Kansas City

Guiel would spend the longest stretch of his career in the Kansas City system. In 2000, he hit .287/.389/.512 in 78 games for the Omaha Golden Spikes with 13 home runs. Overall, he had smacked 35 homers that year with 102 RBI, 102 runs and 87 walks.

In 2001, Aaron batted .267/.355/.484 with 21 home runs in 121 games for the Omaha Royals. In the 2001 Baseball World Cup, Guiel started in left field for Team Canada ahead of Jason Bay. He batted .167/.259/.375. Starting his 10th year in the minor leagues, Guiel batted .353/.443/.540 in 61 games for Omaha in 2002 and stole 8 bases in 9 tries. He was second in the Pacific Coast League in average, drove in 50 and scored 44. That led to his finally getting called up to the major leagues. Playing fairly regularly for the 2002 Royals, Guiel only homered 4 times in 240 AB and batted a disappointing .233/.296/.338, far from what he had been doing in the minors.

Guiel began 2003 back in Omaha and hit .279/.408/.474 with 8 homers in 52 games. Kansas City again came calling and made him their regular right fielder and leadoff hitter for the remainer of the way. He batted .277/.346/.489 for the 2003 Royals with 15 HR and 30 doubles in 354 AB. He hit .310/.387/.552 as a leadoff man, finishing second to Marquis Grissom in slugging percentage by a MLB leadoff hitter and second to Ichiro Suzuki in average by an AL leadoff hitter.

Guiel was expected to be a starting outfielder for the 2004 Royals, who many thought to be a strong contender for the playoffs. Guiel struggled mightily (a miserable .156/.263/.296 line) and then underwent multiple laser-eye surgeries to correct hazy vision. He also spent time back in Omaha, hitting .310/.438/.621 in 30 games, homering 10 times.

Aaron spent his 6th year in a Omaha uniform in 2005, hitting .276/.371/.538 with 30 home runs, 94 runs and 95 RBI. He also had 18 outfield assists. He was called up to the 2005 Royals late in August and batted a good .294/.355/.450 (a 114 OPS+) in regular action thereafter. He finished just one home run behind PCL leader Luke Scott and made the league All-Star team, joining Todd Linden and Brandon Watson in the outfield.

Guiel played for Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, joining Jason Bay and Adam Stern as the regular outfielders. He went 2 for 9 with two walks, six strikeouts, a double, a triple and one run.

After hitting .249/.388/.525 for Omaha in 2006 and .220/.339/.460 for the 2006 Royals, Aaron was waived by Kansas City and claimed by the New York Yankees.

[edit] 2006: Yankees

Guiel batted .260/.387/.460 in 16 games for the 2006 Columbus Clippers and .257/.337/.439 for the 2006 Yankees. Overall, he had hit 20 home runs at all levels of competition that year.

[edit] 2007-2011: Japan

Aaron Guiel in 2010.04.03.JPG

In early 2007, Aaron signed a 1-year, $900,000 (US) contract with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows with a club option for a second year. His curly blond hair and gentle behavior earned him the nickname "Angel" from the team's fans. At the All-Star break, he was leading the Swallows with 18 homers and drawing walks but struggling to make contact. He homered in five straight games in September, tying the Yakult record held by Chuck Manuel and Larry Parrish. Guiel finished with a .245/.381/.493 batting line with 35 homers and 88 walks. He was 9th in the Central League in runs (78), tied Yoshinobu Takahashi and Tyrone Woods for second in homers (one behind leader Shuichi Murata), led in times hit by pitch (23), was second in strikeouts (147, trailing only Woods), was second in walks (also behind Woods) and finished 4th in OBP behind Norichika Aoki, Woods and Takahashi.

He was re-signed for $1.3 million (US) in 2008. Unfortunately, he succumbed to injury part way through the season and was sent down to the Yakult farm team for recovery, having played only 79 of 144 games and with a disappointing 11 homers and .200/.306/.396 batting line.

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows announced (in January 2009) that they have re-signed Aaron for the 2009 season. His remuneration has not been disclosed. He is also on the provisional Canadian roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. On June 14, Guiel hit a grand slam for the 10th straight hit by Yakult in a 14-10 win over the Orix Buffaloes, tying the NPB record; it would be broken when Yasushi Iihara followed with a double.

He was playing in a pre-season game in Japan when a 9.0 earthquake hit the country in March 2011. He was given a few days off to visit his family in Canada following the tragedy. He also suffered from back problems and was to see a specialist in Vancouver at that time (he underwent surgery in October 2010). 2011 marked his fifth year playing for the Swallows.

Guiel announced his retirement at the end of the 2011 NPB season. He rejoined the Royals as an instructor and currently works at the team's minor-league complex in Surprise, Arizona.

[edit] Career statistics

As of 2006, Guiel has hit 205 home runs in the minor leagues and 35 in the majors. His major league line was .246/.322/.414.

[edit] Sources

1993-2006 Baseball Almanacs, Worldbaseballclassic.com, MLB.com, 1995 Baseball Guide, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, IBAF site, July 2007 article about Guiel's experience in Japan, Canadian Baseball Network, March 2011

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