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Toronto Blue Jays Organizational Depth: First Base

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

WILDCARD

Vladimir Guerrero Jr, , Did not play in 2015

  • Signed as an international free agent for $3.9 million
  • Was the top ranked international prospect as rated by Baseball America for 2015
  • Although he’s still listed as a RF and is currently being used at third base, I’d bet more heavily on 1B as a position longterm.

Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote a great article about his signing on July 2nd of this year, a must read. In particular, there’s a level of excitement about this signing that I haven’t seen out of the Jays scouting department. Even when they were able to land the highly sought after Franklin Barreto, the tone was much more muted overall.

Maybe it’s because of his father who was an All-Star for the Montreal Expos for so long, or maybe it’s just because this kid really is that special. We’re hoping for the latter, of course.

It’s pretty great when your own dad’s Baseball Academy can be the one to break the news of your signing on Twitter, as was the case with Vladdy Jr:

Within the article linked above, the best portions entail a series of quotes from the man who spearheaded the efforts to get him to sign with Toronto.

The Blue Jays director of Latin American operations, who has since headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ismael Cruz, was quote as saying the following about Valddy Junior:

On his Power, Pitch Recognition, and Motivation

"“Since I’ve been doing this, I haven’t seen a kid with that power,” “He has pitch recognition for the age and this kid has been playing ball all his life. This kid is not about the money. He has a lot of money. He plays because he likes it. He wants to be better than his father.”"

On Senior vs Junior

"“He has a better bat now than what his father had at that age, and it’s not a swing that’s going to go away,” “He’s had it for a long time and he’s always hit.” “Those guys you don’t come across very often,” “So it was either play all of your marbles on one guy or just go out and get a couple of players that are fine. For us Vladdy Jr.’s a difference-maker. He has the potential to be a very, very special kid.”"

And my favourite quote of all about Vladimir Guerrero Jr,

"“I don’t think it’s going to be plus speed, but it’s going to be good enough to run four bases after a home run,”"

I was blessed to watch Vladimir Guerrero senior play for the Expos for years and appreciate the hand-eye coordination that allowed him to hit balls that almost nobody else could reach. If that gene was passed on to his son, there’s a very good chance that we’re in for a treat in Toronto.

Now that he’s signed a major deal with the Jays and is getting set to play his first season for them, you can expect the pressure to rise season-by-season. It’s never going to get any easier for him, just tougher. But with his father available to help guide him through the process and to support him as he can, there has to be an expectation that he’ll have the support needed to make the best of his tremendous skills.

Vladamir Guerrero Jr is described as a natural born hitter. We’re going to find out how true that is very soon. For now, he’ll remain our wildcard and may soon become the best Jays prospect we’ve ever had if all of the scouting reports are right.

All we know for certain is that self-confidence will not be an issue for this kid, as he expects to reach the majors within 2 years, a lofty goal for a kid that will be 17-years-old when the 2016 season opens.

Next: Now that we know who's best, get swept is next!

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