More was expected from Blue Jays Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in 2017. Join Jays From the Couch in a review of Toronto’s minor league prospect’s 2017
When the Toronto Blue Jays signed the son of a Cuban baseball legend, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. instantly became one of the more intriguing prospects in the Blue Jays system. Armed with a seven-year, US $22-million contract the younger brother of Houston Astros, Yulieski Gurriel turned some heads during Spring Training despite playing just 5 games.
Lourdes Gurriel collected a pair of hits, a double and home run, driving in 4 runs while working a walk and no strike outs. Toronto’s newest prospect showed off a strong arm while playing the infield and good range in the outfield.
The 23-yr-old started the season on the disabled list, making his professional debut with the Dunedin Blue Jays on April 19th at shortstop. Unfortunately, his debut was cut short when he was removed from the game in the 3rd inning after going 1-for-2 with a double, a run scored, and a run batted run in. He was placed back on the DL on the 20th and didn’t return to action on July 19th.
Upon his return, Gurriel struggled both in the field and at the plate. In 18 Advanced-A games, Lourdes batted just .197 primarily playing shortstop. He had a bad patch in the field, committing 5 throwing errors and a fielding error across two games on June 21st and 22nd but only committed 2 errors in his other 16 games.
Despite holding a sub-.200 batting average, Gurriel was promoted to Double-A on July 12th. After collecting hits in his final four D-Jays games, Lourdes Gurriel collected hits in 6 of his first 10 games and finished the month of July batting .263 with 5 doubles, a HR, 10 RBI, and a .716 OPS.
August didn’t go as well. The Fisher Cats infielder batted .230 with 5 doubles, 2 HR, and 17 RBI for the month. He batted just .213 in his final 28 games while splitting time between 2B and SS.
The native of Sancti Spiritus, Cuba hit all 5 of his home runs off RHP, collecting 7 doubles and batting .238. Against LHP, Gurriel collected 4 doubles, 7 RBI, and batted .211.
Prior to the season, Gurriel was described as having a polished approach and good knowledge of the strike zone.
Gurriel struck out 20 times in August while walking just 4 times. Overall, the 6-foot-2 utility player walked 12 times and struck out 43 times. Lourdes saw his BB% increase from 2.9% with the D-Jays to 5.4% in NH while his K% dropped from 18.8% to 16.2% in NH.
With a .061 ISO in Dunedin and .129 ISO in New Hampshire, Gurriel’s power game fell short of expectations. With above average bat speed and a swing with loft, Lourdes was expected to hit for more power.
July 14th, Gurriel went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, 4 RBI and a strike out in 15-8 Fisher Cats victory. Gurriel’s hits came in the 1st with a two run single, a run scoring double in the 4th and 7th.
Lourdes Gurriel’s performance in 2017 can be easily described as subpar. He posted below average wOBA and wRC+ scores with .295 and 77 in Double-A. A lot of his struggles can be attributed to injuries and that he never truly found his rhythm which is why he will be heading to the Arizona Fall League this offseason.
I fully expect to see Lourdes start the 2018 season in New Hampshire. The Blue Jays should continue to split his time between 2B and SS while introducing him to the outfield more. Gurriel will once again be expected to move quickly as he develops into a super utility player…..and because of his contract.
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