In a surprise move, the Blue Jays are close to announcing that 24-year-old Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is going to be recalled to the major leagues after just 12 games for the powerhouse New Hampshire Fisher Cats, according to Shi Davidi at Sportsnet.
The Cuban infielder got his start at a young age in the Cuban National Series and eventually defected with his brother Yulieski Gurriel, who was signed by the Houston Astros, making his debut in 2016.
Lourdes’s scouting report was a little more conservative than his older brother’s but most scouts believed that he could be a useful major league player. The Blue Jays signed Lourdes shortly after his 23rd birthday, meaning that he was (under those international free agent rules) exempt from a signing bonus that would be counted against the international bonus cap and he signed a seven-year, $22 million deal. That deal means that his options clock has been ticking since he was first signed and assigned to the minor leagues and, after being optioned in 2018 he has used two of his three minor league options already. His being on the 40-man roster with a major league contract means that he was going to get a look in Toronto sooner or later.
Gurriel struggled with injuries in his first season in 2017 and hit .197/.217/.258 in 18 games with Dunedin before he moved up to New Hampshire, playing 46 games in Double-A with a .241/.286/.371 slash line, hitting 10 doubles and four home runs. Gurriel played in the Arizona Fall League hitting .291/.309/.494 with seven doubles and three home runs.
Gurriel hit his first home run of 2018 on Thursday, after hitting .347/.382/.510 in 12 games, smacking three doubles, a triple and the one home run.
My own scouting report ($) of Gurriel, after seeing him last year in New Hampshire, is that he could use some more patience at the plate (as his three walks in 55 plate appearances this year can attest) and more refinement in the field but he definitely has big league power potential.
With Teoscar Hernandez remaining with the Blue Jays and Kendrys Morales slated to be activated from the DL today, Gift Ngoepe and Tim Mayza are on tap to be optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. Mayza pitched one inning in his time with Toronto this year, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out a batter in one scoreless frame while Ngoepe has been a typical good-glove, no-bat infielder, going 1/18 with a walk and 12 strikeouts thus far in 2018.
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