The current focus of most Toronto Blue Jays fans is the pending free agency of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Rightly so, given that the prodigious power duo have been pillars of the club’s batting order for years.
Whether or not they continue to launch homers while wearing Blue Jays uniforms remains to be seen, but in the meantime fans can salivate at the continued development of what looks to be a future cornerstone of the lineup.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. enjoyed a strong first season in the Blue Jays system and as a result has been named the organization’s top prospect by Baseball America.
The 17-year-old third baseman and son of former big leaguer Vladimir Guerrero hit .271/.359/.449 with eight homers, 46 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 62 games this year for Bluefield of the Appalachian League.
As a hitter, Guerrero Jr. was lauded in Baseball America’s scouting report for his hand-eye coordination, strike-zone judgement and ability to spray the ball to all fields. But what really stands out is his power, which was graded at 70 on a scale of 20 to 80 (50 being the MLB average).
“[Guerrero] should be an above-average hitter with 30-plus homer potential down the line,” the scouting report says. “Some club officials have compared his overall offensive profile to that of Edwin Encarnacion, though with more speed, as he’s actually an average runner.”
Guerrero’s improvement on defence was noted, especially pertaining to his arm, which scouts say can become above-average.
Baseball America estimates the Montreal-born, Dominican-raised Guerrero could join the major league team by the time he turns 20, which would be in 2019.
Below is a complete list of the publication’s top 10 Blue Jays prospects:
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
2. Anthony Alford, OF
3. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP
4. Conner Greene, RHP
5. Richard Urena, SS
6. Rowdy Tellez, 1B
7. T.J. Zeuch, RHP
8. Bo Bichette, SS
9. Jon Harris, RHP
10. Justin Maese, RHP