While it might seem crazy, the Blue Jays should return Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Double-A rather than promoting him to Toronto
From the title, the snap judgment from the vast majority of Blue Jays fans will be that I’m an idiot. While this may be the case with many of my opinions, I don’t think this is one of them. So, hear me out before skipping the entire body of this piece and head straight to the comment section to provide troll-ish comments.
Do I think Toronto’s super prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. can handle pitching at the Major League level? Yes, I do but I felt that way prior to Guerrero Jr stepping on 1st base awkwardly and spending several weeks on the disabled list.
Do I think VGJ should be a September call-up? No, this is a business and he should be held back until the end of May 2019 to gain an extra year of control. The only way I have Vladdy on my 2019 Opening Day roster is if he signs a long-term, ala Jon Singleton or Scott Kingery, but I’d want more term and throw Josh Donaldson (23M) final arbitration dollars at him to buy out his first couple free agent years.
Since being promoted to Triple-A from the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats on July 31st, the 19-yr-old 3rd baseman owns a .330/.417/.546 triple slash with 6 doubles, and 5 HR. In 27 games Vladdy has posted a special 13.0 BB% and 8.7 K% while hitting for a very good .216 ISO and providing highlights like this in the field:
And let’s not forget that he homered in 4 straight games (he’s no Kendrys Morales….I kid)
With all these amazing stats and highlights, you might be asking ‘why in God’s green earth should he be demoted?’
It is simple, New Hampshire is playoff bound and Buffalo is not.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will not be a September call-up. No amount of bitching, moaning, and calling Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro name calling will change that. The Bisons packing up their lockers at the conclusion of the next series, sending Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to New Hampshire will get more at-bats. At-bats which he missed due to the above-mentioned injury.
It appears that Toronto also wants to get Vladdy more at-bats this season, as his name was included on the list of Blue Jays prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League. Vladdy will be joined by Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, as well as relievers Zach Jackson and Jackson McClelland. Starter Shawn Morimando will also join the Saguaros roster.
Vladimir Guerrero played 61 games in 2018 for the Double-A Fisher Cats. Had it not been for his injury and promotion, he would likely be leading the Eastern League in every power related stat. To say he had very little trouble with Double-A pitching would be an understatement.
So why not just let him rest up for before heading to the AFL and facing off against some of the best prospects in baseball?
Winning is an attitude and a contagious one at that. After the Vladdy, Bo, and Biggio claimed the Florida State League Co-Championship last year, this trio waste little time showing the EL they meant business. Adding Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the Fisher Cats lineup would almost ensure a long playoff run for New Hampshire (I’d also demote Sean Reid-Foley to strengthen the rotation).
It doesn’t matter which level at-bats come from, regular season at-bats are different than playoff at-bats. The more pressure at-bats Vladdy gets, the more pressure at-bats every NH batter gets, the more pressure innings NH pitchers will get. This all aids in the development and progress of the prospects in the system.
Don’t underestimate the significance of minor league playoffs. It speaks to the strength of the system. Vancouver won the championship in 2017 and the graduates from that team have pushed the Lansing Lugnuts into the playoffs and helped Dunedin return to the playoffs (Kevin Smith, Kacy Clemens, and Zach Logue).
Would you rather have your best prospect sitting around waiting for the AFL to start or learning how to winning and developing a winning culture with other future Blue Jays?
You know my answer. Let the blowback begin, just keep it professional. If you want to converse directly, join Shaun and I tonight:
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) September 1, 2018
*Featured Image Credit: R.Mueller
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.