The 2020 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit our Handbook home page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
We continue our look at the 2020 Blue Jays by examining one of the key players in the young, up-and-coming lineup: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Gurriel was signed out of Cuba in November of 2016 by the Blue Jays and was given a major league contract worth $22 million before even playing a game in the US. He had a strong track record in limited time in the Cuban League and his older brother, Yuli, had already signed with the Houston Astros. Their father, Lourdes, Sr., was a legendary ballplayer in Cuba as well.
Gurriel signed as an infielder and was playing mostly shortstop and second base when he made his US debut in 2017 with the Dunedin Blue Jays. He played 64 games combined between Advanced-A and Double-A and really showed his rust (not having played competitive games for over a year), hitting just .229/.268/.339. He did have a good showing in the Arizona Fall league, hitting .291/.309/.494 with three home runs in 21 games.
In 2018, he played in New Hampshire and Buffalo, combining for a .301/.330/.466 slash line in 51 games and was promoted to Toronto to play 65 productive games with the Blue Jays, hitting .281/.309/.446 with eight doubles and 11 home runs.
In 2019, Gurriel started with Toronto, playing mostly second base, his defensive woes in throwing the baseball from second base had him sent down to the minors to work things out in Buffalo. When he returned to Toronto in late-May, he was a left fielder and went on a tear, hitting in his first eight straight games, including a 4/4 game against San Diego on May 26. He continued to hit the rest of the year although he did miss significant time in August and September but was one of the Jays’ most productive hitters, hitting .277/.327/.541 with 19 doubles and 20 home runs.
Lourdes came into 2020 and hi .357/.419/.571 in the abbreviated spring training and came out of the gate hot, going 10/33 in his first nine games. He played 57 games for the Jays and hit a very solid .308/.348/.534 with 14 doubles and 11 home runs, posting 1.2 WAR on the shortened season.
According to Statcast, he was in the 91st percentile in Hard-Hit ball percentage while in the 80th percentile for exit velocity at 90.8 mph.
Gurriel should continue to be a big contributor to the Blue Jays in 2021 and beyond, although his name has been mentioned in possible trades that the Blue Jays could make this offseason. That said, I think most people would agree that Gurriel has blossomed in the major leagues since his move to left field and has one of the best arms for that position.
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2020) and may not be used without permission.