Toronto Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo announced earlier this week that they will finally call up the number one overall prospect in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The slugger will be in the Blue Jays starting lineup tonight against the Oakland Athletics. Guerrero has nothing left to prove at the minor-league level and is definitely ready to take the next step in the big leagues.
The 20-year-old leads the way in the Blue Jays system with a boatload of intriguing prospects who will be making an impact at the major-league level in the very near future. Shortstop Bo Bichette is next to make his way up to Toronto, but a broken left hand will hamper his development in Triple-A, for the time being.
Here’s what you can expect from Guerrero when he arrives in the bigs.
The son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, the youngster has forced Toronto’s hand this year because of one aspect of his game: his bat. There is just a different sound off the barrel when Guerrero squares a ball up. His bat speed is superior to most in this game, hitting towering homers on a regular basis. An oblique injury kept him out for all of spring training, but once he returned, Guerrero produced immediately. In 45 at-bats he hit .333 with three homers and nine RBIs for the Buffalo Bisons. Across 288 career minor-league games, the top prospect hit .331. Last season was his best from a power standpoint, as he went deep 38 times between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. If he didn’t get hurt in the spring, we could have definitely seen the 20-year-old make the big-league club out of spring training.
Guerrero will step in and prominently be a starter for many years to come in Toronto. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see him back in the minors considering the type of bat this kid has. He is an absolute game changer, and if he does what we all expect in the majors — which is rake at the plate — he could even be the American League Rookie of the Year by the end of 2019.
His ability to hit for average and power is extremely impressive. Guerrero isn’t a pull-happy-type hitter either; he can spray balls all over the field. He’s got very good power to the opposite field as well, evident from his last homer in Buffalo where he went deep to right-center field on an outside fastball:
You see this, @BlueJays?
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered for the third time in eight games. 🔥pic.twitter.com/oajPdZLEqs
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) April 24, 2019
Unlike his father, who liked to chase a lot of pitches outside the zone, Guerrero has great plate discipline. He’s very patient, and more often than not, waits for a pitch that he can drive. The third baseman doesn’t strike out much either (he totaled just 139 strikeouts in 1,075 minor-league at-bats). He has shown the ability to square up every type of pitch. Fastballs, curveballs, sliders, you name it. If it’s in his wheelhouse, Guerrero is going to punish the baseball.
The Defense is Still Improving
He isn’t the best athlete at the hot corner, but he can play average enough defense to get the job done and make the routine plays. Guerrero doesn’t have outstanding range, but he has a decent enough arm to make throws across the diamond. Guerrero’s defense may be the one component of his game that could struggle in the big leagues, but he’ll definitely get better with time. Considering his larger frame, he could move over to first base in the future, or even just be a designated hitter. After all, Guerrero is in the big leagues to produce at the plate, not to play third base.
The hype surrounding the 20-year-old has had a lot to do with his name, but he has lived up to every expectation throughout his professional career. Having the top prospect in the game finally coming up to the majors is going to be very exciting for all of baseball, especially if he plays up to the hype.
If you had doubts about his power, I’ll just leave this video below where the slugger hits an opposite field bomb — off a tee. Just so you know, this isn’t normal. Lightning quick bat speed. Enjoy:
The hype is real. The Vlad Guerrero Jr. show is here.