Simon Daniel Gühring
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 200 lb.
Simon Gühring was one of the first German minor league players after Germany reunited. He has won regular-season and finals MVP awards in Germany.
Gühring was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers. With the 2002 AZL Brewers, he batted .238/.295/.288 with 15 RBI in 25 games. He played 19 games at catcher, the most on the team, but struggled defensively. He had 11 passed balls, leading the Arizona League. He hit .281/.359/.333 for the 2003 AZL Brewers but was let go by Milwaukee despite his fine average and OBP. He was not the only catcher on the team from a country not historically noted for baseball - one of the catchers was Gbenga Olayemi, probably the first Nigerian in the minors.
In the 2003 European Championship, he struggled badly, going 1 for 20 with a walk and two times hit by pitch as one of the two worst position players on the German national team. In 2004, Gühring signed with the Tornado's of ADO and spent the whole season with them. In his first start, he was teamed with a battery mate from another second-line European baseball country with Spaniard Manny Olivera as his pitcher. He did not finish among the top 10 in Hoofdklasse in category.
Gühring returned to his home country with Heidenheim Heideköpfe in 2005. He hit .437/.500/.612. He was second in Bundesliga's Southern division in average and hits (45) and sixth in OPS. He throw out 46.7% of attempted base-stealers, best in the league. In the 2005 European Championship, Simon hit .457/.487/.714 with 10 runs in 9 games to lead 4th-place Germany in almost every offensive department. He led the tournament in hits (16), was 5th in average, tied for third in home runs (2), tied Alexander Lauterbach for second in slugging (well behind Ivanon Coffie) and tied for third in runs (10). He failed to make the tourney All-Star team as Sidney de Jong was chosen as the top backstop. In 2006, Gühring batted .419/.466/.695 and led the Southern division in hits (44) while tying for the lead in triples (4). He was third in average and 4th in OPS.
Gühring batted .313/.389/.375 with six runs in eight games in the 2007 European Championship. He hit only .192/.185/.231 in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Germany's first Baseball World Cup in three decades, as their left fielder. He had four assists in seven games, showing off a superb outfield arm. He had 3 of the team's 12 RBI, second on the team, with RBIs against both Silver Medalist Cuba and the 4th-place Netherlands, the top two teams Germany faced.
In the regular Bundesliga campaign, Gühring had his best year yet, hitting .538/.611/.837. He led the Southern division in runs (40), hits (56), doubles (15), RBI (37), average and OBP. He was second in slugging and OPS to former minor leaguer Ben Himes.
Gühring batted .167/.231/.167 for Germany in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament as a LF/C. He had a squeeze bunt that drove in the tying run in a 4-3 win over the South African national team. He almost delivered a game-winning RBI against Team Canada, the tourney champions, singling with Jendrick Speer on second but Speer was thrown out trying to score; Germany lost 2-1 in extra innings.
Gühring became a player-coach for Heidenheim in 2009. He hit .449/.495/.708 in his first 21 games of the regular season. In July that year, he fractured a bone in his left heel, causing him to miss almost the entire playoffs. He came back on the final day of the season, with Heidenheim trailing the Mannheim Tornados 2 games to 1 in the best-of-5 finals. In game four, he homered twice and drove in 7, showing no rust, to power Heidenheim to a rout. In the finale, Simon's solo homer capped a 3-1 win for Peter Dankerl to give his team the title. Despite his injury, Simon finished among the regular-season leaders in average (1st, .038 over Marvin Appiah), homers (4th with 4), hits (1st with 40), doubles (tied for 1st with 9), runs (tied with Appiah for 7th with 22), slugging (1st), OBP (2nd, .009 behind Ray Stokes) and OPS (1st). He was named MVP.
Simon slumped to .267/.357/.406 with two homers in 26 games in the 2010 regular season but did have 27 runs and 30 RBI. He tied for 5th in the league in runs and led in opponent steal percentage (38.9%). He batted .310/.392/.571 with three homers and 13 RBI in 11 games in the postseason. In the 2010 European Cup, he hit .318/.423/.482 with 9 runs in five games but made a surprising three errors. He tied Shurty Tremus and Chris Beck for the event lead in runs, was 8th in slugging, tied for second in homers (2, one behind Brandon Taylor), tied for third with 15 total bases (behind Taylor and Beck) and tied for third in errors, an unusual position for a catcher. He batted .379/.500/.552 for Germany in the 2010 European Championship, one of their top producers with 7 runs and 6 RBI in eight games while throwing out half of those who tried to steal. Germany won a Bronze Medal, their best finish in an international event since the 1975 European Championship. He led the German attack in OPS, was second to Cedric Bassel in runs and tied for second in RBI (behind Ludwig Glaser).
Simon hit .241/.281/.345 in the 2011 World Port Tournament. He produced at a .366/.474/.538 clip with Heidenheim in 2011, fielding .994 and driving in 24 in 24 games. He was 8th in average (between Rodney Gessmann and Petr Čech), tied for 6th in hits (34), tied Mike Larson for 7th in runs, tied for 5th with 18 walks, was 7th in slugging, ranked 5th in OBP and tied Matt Gaski for 4th with 11 steals and had the best fielding percentage of any catcher. He hit .304/.333/.348 in the 2011 Baseball World Cup but only had one run and no RBI in seven games. Playing left field (due to Kai Gronauer being the catcher), he had 15 putouts and no errors and had a huge play against South Korea; with a 5-5 tie in the 8th, he threw out Dong-min Han at the plate.
In 2012, Gühring hit .313/.424/.525 with 26 runs and 30 RBI in 20 games, while gunning down 40.7% of those who tried to steal. He was 5th in RBI, between Larson and Evan LeBlanc. He was second in percentage of runners caught stealing, .5% behind Christopher Howard. He fell to .278/.325/.361 in the postseason. In the 2012 European Championship, he hit .269/.333/.346 with a team-high 9 RBI in 8 games; he was 3 ahead of Glaser, Speer and Howard. He again played mainly left field with Gronauer at catcher. In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he was moved to DH with American imports Eric Suttle and Aaron Altherr as corner outfielders; Simon was 1 for 5 with 3 walks, 4 runs and a RBI while splitting DH with Jake Shaffer. He tied for third on the team in runs, one behind Suttle and Altherr.
During the 2013 regular season, the veteran surged to .395/.435/.851 with 12 homers, 36 runs and 50 RBI in 28 games, fielding .985. He was 5th in average (between Josh Petersen and Jamie McOwen), led in home runs (by 5), led in RBI (14 ahead of former AAA player Petersen), tied McOwen for the hit lead (45), was second in runs (three shy of Beck), led in slugging (.072 over Luke Sommer) and was second in percentage of runners caught stealing (32.1, again second to Howard). He hit .370/.455/.519 with 9 RBI in 7 postseason games. He lost out MVP honors to Sommer, the league's top pitcher as well as a strong hitter.
In 2014, Gühring produced at a .379/.420/.586 clip, scored 29 runs and drove in 28 in 28 games, fielding .995 and throwing out 39.4% of would-be base thieves. He also pitched briefly and well (1-0, 2 Sv, 0 R in 4 1/3 IP). He was 6th in average (between LeBlanc and Spencer Kuehn), was second with 44 hits (14 behind Joseph Dyche), was 8th in runs and had the second-best fielding percentage, regardless of position (only OF Bassel was better). He also tied for second in the Bundesliga-1 South in saves. He hit .342/.457/.474 in the postseason. With Gronauer out for the 2014 European Championship, Simon became Germany's starting catcher for the first time in years, though he had manned the position in the regular season during that period. He struggled both at the plate (.172/.200/.207, 1 R, 2 RBI in 8 G) and afield (.952 %, 3 E). In the 8th inning against Spain, with a 3-3 tie, he made a crucial error to let Franklin Tavarez score the winning run. It was his seventh European Championship,
In 2015, turning 32 years old, he kept on rolling - hitting .393/.478/.661, fielding .990. He was 9th in average (between Glaser and Gary Owens), tied Gronauer and Petersen for 5th in homers (6), was second in RBI (38, 7 behind McOwen), tied Max Boldt and McOwen for 6th in hits (44), tied Marcel Hering and Larson for 4th in doubles (12), was 5th in runs (34), ranked 6th in slugging (between Petersen and Gronauer), was 8th in OBP (between Owens and Jay Pecci) and was 5th in OPS (between Gronauer and Mike Durham). He then hit .314/.345/.412 with 10 runs and 9 RBI in 13 postseason games, including 9-for-20 with two doubles, a home run, six runs and six RBI in five finals games. He was named MVP of the finals as Heidenheim won their second title, following their 2009 run. He was also named regular-season MVP of the Bundesliga South for the second time.
He had one at-bat in the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, batting for Dominique Taylor in the 8th inning of a 15-3 loss to the Czech Republic and grounding out against Petr Minařík. American import Bruce Maxwell handled the catching in that tournament for Germany.