It’s not out of the ordinary for an outstanding high school baseball pitcher to play in the field on days he doesn’t take the mound.
But few excel so well on both sides of the ball that a Pac-12 school recruits them with two-way play in mind.
W.F. West’s Tyson Guerrero, who is The Olympian's 2018 All-Area baseball player of the year, is such a player.
The senior finished with a 7-0 record on the mound and 1.17 earned run average. At the plate, he hit .439 with 39 runs scored and 28 RBI.
The impressive combination convinced Washington State University coach Marty Lees to give Guerrero a look in multiple roles.
“We believe Tyson could pitch anywhere in our system,” Lees said after Guerrero committed to the Cougars in March. “He’s also unique because he can play center field at a high level. He’ll be given the opportunity to be a two-way player for us.”
W.F. West coach Bryan Bullock, who has started Guerrero on the mound and in center field for the past three seasons, doesn’t doubt he can meet that particular challenge.
“Tyson will go over there ready to compete," Bullock said. "I expect him to go into their program doing whatever it takes to get on the field. He’ll adjust and develop himself.”
Guerrero, who struck out 76 batters while walking only 11, was the Class 2A Evergreen Conference co-MVP this season.
Not bad considering he hadn’t pitched until reaching high school.
“The coaches wanted me to try pitching, and I just kept getting better and better,” Guerrero said.
“The games Tyson controlled on the mound, he had a huge impact,” Bullock said. “As our leadoff hitter, he had a huge impact on every game offensively. When you think of an MVP, you think of somebody like him.”
Guerrero shared MVP honors with teammate Brandon White, a fellow WSU commit and pitcher who is mulling over an offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers after being drafted by the club in the 14th round last week.
When W.F. West traveled to the 2A state tournament in Yakima in May, White got the start in the semifinal game against Ellensburg.
That left Guerrero knowing he would get the ball in the state championship game if the Bearcats advanced, or the third place game if they did not.
“I won’t be nervous,” he said beforehand. “I usually stay pretty calm.”
Ellensburg beat W.F. West, 4-0, sending the Bearcats to consolation.
But in the third-place game, Guerrero was true to his word, tossing a no-hitter — his second of the season — and striking out 12 as the Bearcats rolled, 12-0.
“He was spot on, had all three of his pitches working,” Bullock said.
Guerrero throws a curve ball and a change-up in addition to a fastball that lives in the high 80s, but occasionally reaches 90 mph.
“I was a little mad we were playing for third or fourth instead of the championship,” he said. “The heat was really helping my arm. Nobody was clocking the pitches, but that was as fast as I’ve ever thrown. They couldn’t hit it.”
Bullock recalled other big moments from Guerrero’s career — the game-winning hit that sent W.F. West to the 2017 final four, a home run in a comeback win over R.A. Long in this season’s Southwest District championships, and another dinger against Ephrata in the state regionals.
On the mound, he had a 15-strikeout game against Tumwater last season.
While Bullock understands what the Dodgers saw in White — a 6-foot-8 righty with plenty of upside — he is less certain why no MLB team selected Guerrero.
“It baffles me what you have to do to get drafted as a position player,” he said. “They talk about five-tool players and Tyson’s the definition of that.
"I hope he goes over to WSU and has the type of career that will make somebody draft him in the future.”
Guerrero is looking forward to the challenge of college, which he calls part of the “real world.”
“I’d like add some bulk, get a little bigger and stronger,” he said.