Once he’s 100% healthy, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be moving up the totem pole in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Guerrero Jr., who is the son of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, will be promoted to Triple-A Buffalo when he is able to return from the disabled list, which he landed on with a left patellar tendon strain. The move to Triple-A makes Guerrero Jr. one step closer to the MLB level.
The Toronto Sun was the first to report Guerrero Jr.’s impending promotion.
There was speculation that Toronto was going to promote Guerrero Jr. straight from Double-A to the Majors, but it looks like they will at least want to give the 19-year-old phenom at least a couple weeks stay at Triple-A before making a final determination. Guerrero Jr. has been rehabbing his injury at the Blue Jays’ spring training complex in Florida after hitting .407/.457/.667 with 11 homers and 55 runs batted in for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Double-A.
Also at the Double-A level, Guerrero Jr. posted a wRC+ of 203, and nearly walked (20) more times than he struck out (21). He fell just shy of record more doubles than strikeouts as well, by three.
For his minor league career, Guerrero Jr. is a .328/.415/.518 hitter, which poses the question, just how more does he have to do to reach the highest level? The Blue Jays say they would like to see Guerrero Jr. improve as a defender, and while we don’t have access to advanced defensive metrics at the minor league level, Guerrero Jr.’s .955 fielding percentage in 392.0 innings this season suggests that some improvement is needed.
It’s unlikely that the Blue Jays, who sit in fourth place in the American League East with a 41-48 record, will make the playoffs this season, so there is no rush to see whether or not Guerrero Jr. could impact the big league club right away like some suggest.
Guerrero Jr. could very well be Toronto’s Opening Day starting third baseman in 2019, especially if Josh Donaldson is not retained this off-season. Donaldson has battled various injuries this season, and is still currently on the disabled list having just played 36 games this season. It’s even entirely possible that the Blue Jays elect to trade Donaldson this month in an effort to get younger.
With Ronald Acuna Jr. graduating from prospect status, Guerrero Jr. is now the top prospect in all of baseball, ahead of names like Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Nick Senzel, and Victor Robles. We will see which one of these five players reach the Majors first, but it looks like the odds favor Guerrero Jr. currently.
Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports