LOURDES GURRIEL JR. – IF/OF
When Lourdes Gurriel Jr. left Cuba to come to the MLB, there was significant league interest. The Blue Jays won the sweepstakes, signing the 24-year-old Cuban infielder/outfielder to a seven-year contract worth 22-million dollars. Rated by Jay’s Journal as the #11 prospect entering 2017, Gurriel Jr. could make an immediate impact for the MLB club.
While playing in the Cuban league, Gurriel Jr. did nothing but spank the baseball. In 2015-2016, Gurriel Jr. posted monster numbers, slashing .344/.407/.560. Being new to the North American game, Gurriel Jr. will more than likely start the season in AAA.
While finding a spot for Gurriel Jr. in 2017 may be tough, his versatility makes it a bit easier. A natural second baseman, Gurriel Jr. also played left field, shortstop, first base and third base in his Cuban league career. If anyone begins to struggle and Gurriel Jr.’s game translates quickly, a call-up is likely.
Another factor that must be weighed is that the current middle infield for the Blue Jays, while elite, is also injury prone. Starting second basemen Devon Travis has been injured in each of his two seasons with the team, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hasn’t played more than 143 games in a season since 2011. An injury to one or both of these two players could very well happen, and if it does, Gurriel Jr. could step right in and make an impact.