The MLB’s Next Big Prospect

Josh Calloni, Reporter

With spring training coming to a close, it is becoming more and more likely that Vladimir Guerrero Jr, baseball’s top prospect, is going to play a full season with the Blue Jays.

Guerrero, son on MLB hall of famer, Vladimir Guerrero was signed by the Blue Jays out of the Dominican Republic in 2017. He was a big ticket item, and almost instantaneously landed on the MLB Pipelines Top Prospect list. He worked his way to number one after Ronald Acuna Jr and Shohei Ohtani graduated from the list, and is now one of the most anticipated players in all of baseball. He participated in his first full spring training this year, and batted .211 over 20 plate appearances, but has gone down with a hamstring injury, potentially preventing him from being Toronto’s opening day third baseman, at 19.

“Vladimir Guerrero Jr is going to be a very big talent. He is a big guy, and batting .400 in the upper level of the minors is really something to be proud of for him. I think he is going to be the next big thing in baseball, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the majors,” sophomore Kush Bhatnagar said.

Despite the numbers he put up in spring training, Guerrero mashed minor league pitching. He put up a .381 batting average over four different levels of the minors, including in AA New Hampshire, where he batted .402 over 61 games, which is quite the feat, as the last major leaguer to bat .400 was Ted Williams in 1941. Power is also possessed, as Guerrero hit twenty home runs in the minors this season, 14 of which were with AA New Hampshire.

Currently, it is projected by many around the sport that Guerrero will become a victim of service time manipulation to start the season, meaning he will be in AAA for at least three weeks. This adds another season to Guerrero’s contract with the Blue Jays, meaning he would have to play seven seasons instead of six before he hits free agency.

“Guerrero is a really big star. His swing is really nice I think he is going to have a very good career in baseball,” junior Tommy Flores said.

The only knock on Guerrero thus far is his fielding ability.  Signed as a right fielder, Guerrero was quickly moved to third base to speed up his path to the major leagues, to be then MVP Josh Donaldson’s replacement in Toronto. While he still committed 12 errors in the minors in 2018, good for a .945 fielding percentage, that number was up from 2017, when he saw a .939 fielding percentage, while making 15 errors, in less playing time. Most early comparisons to Guerrero Jr. are to his dads skill set. The elder Guerrero was a struggling fielder with above average hitting stats in the minors when he was first brought up, and eventually, became a Hall of Famer with average fielding stats.

With the current service time situation, and depending on the younger Guerrero health, April 11th would be the first day that the Blue Jays gain an extra year of playing time from the younger Guerrero, meaning more incentive to call him up that day.