Toronto Blue Jays fans are frustrated about more than the team’s 62-76 record.
One particularly irksome storyline has been the team’s reluctance to call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro was a guest on MLB Network Radio Wednesday afternoon where he explained why reasons Guerrero has yet to make his MLB debut despite lighting it up in the minors.
“It has nothing to do with business. It has nothing to do with anything other than we think the best thing for him developmentally is to play in Arizona and continue to develop,” Shapiro explained. “We think that when he gets here – which would obviously not preclude him from making the team out of spring training next year, which would be evidence of that fact – we think he’s got a chance to be an impact player.”
Shapiro said Guerrero’s situation makes him think back to his time spent with a young Manny Ramirez when the two were with the Cleveland Indians franchise and Ramirez made his MLB debut as a green 21-year-old.
“When [Ramirez] got to the big leagues he was so under developed as a defender and a base runner that it took years for him to catch up in those areas, and we’re trying to do everything we humanly can, developmentally, with an accelerated timeframe to ensure that [Guerrero’s] defence, his preparation, his routines, his understanding of his impact as a leader and as a teammate, all the different things that go into it, that they’re taken advantage of and we can build as strong a foundation as possible when he gets here,” Shapiro said.
Guerrero is the top prospect in all of baseball and he boasted a slash line of .381/.437/.636 in 95 total minor-league games this season. MLB Pipeline named Guerrero its 2018 Hitter of the Year earlier in the day.
“We’re not worried about him as a hitter,” Shapiro added. “That’s certainly something he does extremely well and could do proficiently up here now, but we want to build as strong a foundation as possible to try to get him prepared to be up here and stay up here.”