The Toronto Blue Jays have finally made the announcement we’ve all been waiting for: they’re calling up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the major leagues.
Vlad the Younger had a strong day in Triple-A Buffalo today as the Bisons played the Syracuse Mets and won 5-4. Vlad was 2/5 with a home run to right field (the opposite way) in the victory and has a stellar .367/.424/700 slash line with a double and three home runs in the eight games he’s played in Triple-A, striking out just two times and taking three walks.
The promotion comes after Guerrero was sidelined with an oblique injury in spring training and started the year rehabbing and then getting into four games with the Dunedin Blue Jays after getting into six games in the spring with the big club and hitting .211/.250/.316.
People have said that Vlad, who hit .336/.414/.564 in 110 at bats in Buffalo last year, has been ready since 2018 but the Blue Jays have been accused of manipulating the youngster’s service time in order to give them seven seasons of club control. While that was the hot topic before his injury in spring training, there were also concerns about his play at third base as well as his level of conditioning as his official weigh in had him at 250 pounds when he reported. Word is that he’s down about 10 pounds since then and is in better shape since spring training started in late February.
Vlad has already captured the imagination of Blue Jays fans with his walk-off home run in Montreal last year and his rise through the system at a tender age. Now just 20, Vlad is set to become among the youngest players in the major leagues and will start on his road to matching the type of career his father had.
When I saw Vlad for the first time in 2016 in Bluefield, the scouts I talked to knew that he was a special player. He showed tremendous opposite field power, strike zone judgement and an innate hitting ability that had the scouts impressed despite the disappointment of not being able to see him take batting practice (there was a lot of rain right around the usual BP time that weekend).
I saw Vlad again in Lansing in 2017 and in spring training in 2018 and it was never a question of “if” but “when” he’d make it to the major leagues and Friday, April 26, we’ll all be able to watch the start of something special.
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