2024 Minnesota Prep Baseball Player of the Year: Tyler Guerin

Parker Hageman
Baseball Prep Minnesota

2024 Minnesota Prep Baseball Player of the Year: Tyler Guerin

Minnesotaβ€” One of the main reasons Tyler Guerin was named Prep Baseball Minnesota Player of the Year was his increased confidence, and those around him agreed.

“Between the ears was huge,” said Mounds View head coach Nik Anderson, who has seen him at the college level since Tyler’s sophomore year. “He’s obviously bigger and stronger and throws the ball a lot harder now. The possibilities are endless for a player like him, but the question is always whether he believes it. He’s made good progress mentally and will gain even more confidence as his career progresses.”

The Mustangs trusted Guerin’s abilities in his freshman year and even gave him the ball to start their sectional play in 2022. The Mustangs lost 4-5 in overtime to a very good Maple Grove team, but in that game he pitched ten strikeouts and hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to give Mounds View a 3-2 lead.

β€œYou could see back then that he had what it takes to be the best baseball player on the field,” Anderson says of the emerging talent. β€œAnd in that game you could see the moment when a guy realized he was a Old.”

This year, Guerin says he had a few problems, especially on the mound, and a shoulder injury limited his innings his junior year. But heading into his senior year, he had to prepare by facing two of the state’s most promising hitters in preseason: his older brother Blake, who now plays at the University of Iowa, and former teammate Drew Rogers.

The younger Guerin says playing with his brother – one of the reasons he decided to become a Hawkeye – was one of his favorite memories of his high school years. But like most siblings, the experiences are always mixed.

“With Blake, I learned from him, but I didn’t want to learn from him because he was always trying to tell me what to do,” Guerin said half-jokingly when asked if his older brother played a significant role in his development as a player.

From an evaluator’s perspective, it’s hard not to fall in love with Guerin’s ability on the mound. He’s imposing, has a projectable frame, easy sub-90 mph speed, and incredible run and sink performance. In February, he competed in the Super 60, where his performance caught the attention of Shooter Hunt, Prep Baseball’s vice president of scouting.

“I’m thinking what this 92 mph bowling ball sinker from ’24 Tyler Guerin would do with a metal bat on a cold Minnesota spring day,” Hunt tweeted. “Two weeks in the gym and you get this 6’7″ monster that crushes thumbs in 40 degree weather…”

Guerin was often used as a starter against his league’s formidable opponents – East Ridge, Stillwater, Cretin Derham Hall – some of the best teams in the state. That’s one reason you don’t see eye-popping numbers in his final stat sheet.

“In our first game against East Ridge in the regular season, Luke Skinner hit a fastball off the wall with the first pitch for a double,” Guerin said. Still, he coped well, striking out 13 players in six innings. He also went 3-for-4 at bat and scored three runs in the Mustangs’ 10-4 victory.

On that last point: While most believe Guerin’s future lies on the mound, you have to give credit to his accomplishments with the bat. He’s also done an excellent job of separating the two areas of his game. For example, when the Mustangs’ state tournament hopes were on the line and they needed to beat Rogers twice in the sectional championship, Guerin allowed seven runs on seven hits in one inning and a third. Weaker players might have crumbled in that moment, but Guerin picked up the bat, smacked two hits and scored twice in Mounds View’s remarkable 15-10 comeback.

“I love pitching, but I love hitting just as much,” Guerin says, and he heads to Iowa City with the intention of doing both. His overall numbers this season were highlighted by a loud swing in Mounds View’s quarterfinal game: He hit a hanging slider that he threw into the right field hall of CHS Field for a grand slam.

“I’m not a home run hitter, I’m a gap guy,” he explains his approach at the plate. “I’m supposed to hit one every year and this was a good time to do it. I mainly look for fastballs, but if I see that the spin is really good, I try to put a good swing on it.”

(Wait, you also met was his brother Blake’s answer to the Grand Slam.)

Coach Anderson said Guerin’s ability to contribute on both sides of the ball was another reason he was so important to the Mustangs. His name was at or near the top of the lineup, and his patient approach set the stage for those behind him. He managed 22 walks with just 11 strikeouts and worked his way into the counts.

To get to this championship game, you had to beat the number one team in the state, the undefeated Wayzata Trojans, and Guerin got the ball. This game was crucial for the senior, as he had just put up his worst performance of the season in the sectional championship game against Rogers. In that performance, he had no doubts or doubts about his abilities.

β€œHe just went out and attacked a great team,” Anderson said.

Guerin shouldered the load, going seven innings and allowing three runs against one of the state’s best teams. Quick thinking may also have helped save a run and state title hopes: It was Guerin, during a visit to the mound in the sixth inning and the tying run at third base, who decided they should try a hidden-ball trick with the runner at third base.

Procedurally, the Mustangs may have gotten away with a wrong call, but you have to understand the mindset. “That was a very proud moment for a coach. He thinks about the entire baseball game and notices all the aspects, like the runner running too far down the baseline. Not many high school players think in those terms.”

Mounds View’s goal of winning the state championship fell just short. Guerin got the ball and played five innings, including an hour-and-a-half rain stoppage in the middle. He said he felt good going into the bullpen, but noticed it was harder to get going after the break. He left the game after five innings with a 2-1 lead.

As for the future, he will reunite with his brother this summer, spend a month with the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League, then head to the University of Iowa – and who knows how long after that.

“This is one of the things I’m most excited about,” Anderson says. “Now I can be there as a fan when it takes off.”

Previous Prep Baseball Minnesota Player of the Year Winners

+ 2023: Cale Haugen, SS/RHP, Esko
+ 2022:
Kristofer HokensonOF/LHP, St. Louis Park
+ 2021: Josh KingeryLHP/OF, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City
+ 2019: Drew Gilbert, LHP/OF, Stillwater
+ 2018: Seth Halvorsen, RHP/SS, Heritage Christian Academy