The Toronto Blue Jays #4 prospect in 2016, as selected by the Jays From the Couch staff, is Dominican Republic native, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Here at Jays From the Couch, we’ve been counting down the Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospects. We started with Honorable Mentions and worked our way from #15 through to #5. All of the previous players have given us some material to work with in the form of 2015 action. But, in the case of Vladimir Guerrero Jr, we don’t have any of that. All we have to go on are scouting reports, but until he plays in real games, it is hard to assess his future. Despite that, we really like his power and potential.
Born: March 16, 1999 (16)
Draft: International Signing July 2015
Weight: 210 lb.
This prospect write-up may have been the toughest of the 15 we at JFTC had to put together. This is not to say there isn’t tons of information available on the newest Guerrero, which there is, but there is no real playing experience in North America to review. After being signed during the July 2nd International Draft for $3.9mm, Vlad Jr, spent time in an instructional league due to not meeting the minimum age requirements to partake in the Dominican Summer League.
While his namesake and familiar swing bring a lot of excitement and potential, the young Dominican seems to have a long way to go before he can realize his dream of playing in Toronto. With a majority of scouting reports, like this one from Baseball America, indicating his upside at the moment, is purely in his hitting ability. It would seem the amount of work required to get Guerrero major league ready, could be substantial.
The drawback with Guerrero is that he doesn’t bring much else to the table beyond what he does in the batter’s box. He’s a below-average runner at best with the thick, heavy body type that suggests he’s going to slow down further
Personal note: While scouting reports are often reliable I would, in this case, not consider this one set in stone. With Guerrero Jr., not turning seventeen until March of this year, it is really hard to determine, in my honest opinion, where his athletic abilities on either side of the ball will end up. Many young adult men can still grow in height substantially during this period, thus changing their bodies and abilities in the process. With his genes, I feel safe in saying, Vlad Jr., should add a few more inches to his current 6’1 frame. Combined with a balanced diet, and his already excellent work ethic, it would not surprise me to see his foot speed and arm strength improve a fair amount. Either may never be graded on the plus side; however they could be enough to make him more than just an exciting bat in the lineup.
ETA: Outside of the Blue Jays using him as a DH only in future years, a realistic prediction would see him make his major league appearance in late 2020.
*Featured Image Credit: jcsullivan24 Under CC BY-NC 2.0
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER@JAYSFROMCOUCH AND BE SURE TO CATCH THE JAYS NEST PODCAST!
Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.