It looks like the rest of baseball is getting almost excited as Blue Jays fans about the impending arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019.
It might be discouraging to think about the Blue Jays going through a rebuilding year in 2019 instead of trying to compete for a playoff spot, but there are still going to be plenty of reasons to tune in.
The biggest of them all might be the inevitable arrival of baseball’s top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. I haven’t been following this team throughout their entire franchise history, but I’d venture to guess that there’s rarely, if ever, been a prospect as talked about and anticipated in Toronto’s baseball circles. Of course, there’s a good reason for that.
Guerrero Jr. put up ridiculous numbers throughout Double and Triple-A last year, and did the same during Arizona Fall League play as well. He’s demonstrated without a shadow of a doubt that he’s ready for the challenge of the big leagues, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that he’s still just 19 years old today.
There’s a very good chance that Guerrero will start the season in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons, but that will be for a brief time. Once a few weeks have passed and Guerrero has guaranteed another year of service time with the Blue Jays, he’ll be promoted and handed the everyday third baseman’s job. There’s little doubt that he’ll be able to handle hitting at the highest level, but it remains to be seen how big league ready his glove is at his tender age.
That said, it might not even matter if he hits as well as the projections systems are thinking he will. Despite the fact that he’ll be a rookie and entering the league at just 20 years old, the Steamer system has him pegged for a slash line of .306/.368/.511, and putting up an immensely impressive 4.7 WAR. That would also include 22 home runs, 30 doubles, and 75 RBI in 138 games played.
How good is that relative to other hot cornermen around the game? Steamer has Nolan Arenado of the Rockies at the same number for next season.
What’s even more nutty is the projections place him 15th in all of baseball next year, placing him name among the biggest stars in the game. Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa both have a projected WAR value of 4.8, and Bryce Harper is just ahead at 4.9. We’re talking about some pretty serious company here, and the kid hasn’t even played a single game in the big leagues yet.
These kind of expectations aren’t exactly fair to put on a rookie, but it’s possible that it might not matter to the otherworldly talent. Hopefully fans allow for the possibility that he may need some time to adjust to facing the best talent in the world, but something tells me he’ll be able to handle it just fine. It looks like the scouts believe the same to be true.