Should Vladimir Guerrero Jr. play third base for his entire career? According to the Blue Jays front office, the choice is as easy as pie.
Amidst the chaos of the brief, but informative media availability of Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins Tuesday, a small, discrete tidbit of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. news was mentioned.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, Ross Atkins believes that Guerrero’s “long-term” position will be third base. Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star adds that the organization “think[s] the Arizona Fall League will help growth and development” for the youngster defensively.
At this point, it’s not surprising that Atkins is confident in Guerrero’s fielding abilities. In fact, he’s shown nothing that would lead any fan to believe he’s not capable of playing every day at the hot corner. With flawless routine plays and some flashier, more complex moves at third, Vladdy has looked like he could, at some point in the near future, be a serviceable everyday third baseman in the major leagues.
Although he looks promising now, many have raised eyebrows at comparable players to Guerrero’s skillset. Tigers former superstar Miguel Cabrera, at one time an outstanding offensive threat, is being likened to Guerrero in his youth. While Cabrera enjoyed a stupendous string of seasons offensively, he quickly dropped his defensive stock and required a move to first base and eventually into the designated hitter’s role.
Adrian Beltre, another one time superstar to whom the young Guerrero has been often compared to, has also seen his defensive capabilities worsen later as his career progressed, and a multitude of nagging injuries marred his most recent seasons, although not to the extent of Cabrera.
Now, this isn’t to say that Guerrero Jr. will follow the path of the major leaguers he’s been compared to, but it’s something to think about, especially when the hype for this player is at an all-time high.
Regardless, it’s good to see that the front office, staunch and unrevealing, has confidence in their prized prospect’s abilities on both sides of the baseball.