Some folks may be getting tired of asking when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to make his MLB debut, but his debut is finally drawing very near.
The Blue Jays took their second straight game from the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night, hanging on to a 6-5 win that came down to a play at the plate to seal the deal.
The win brings their record to 7-11, and while this season really isn’t about their place in the standings, you can’t help but get the feeling that most of the shine has worn off of this young team already this season. We should all expect there to be some lumps through the campaign, but it’s an odd feeling to see so much frustration and hopelessness from the fan base already.
There are some good reasons for that of course, between the piling strikeouts, the demotion of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and even the struggles of Socrates Brito, who is getting an extended look despite producing next to nothing on the field. Add it all up and it’s understandable that Blue Jays fans are frustrated so early, but let’s all keep in mind that there is plenty to look forward to in the short and long term. Fortunately, that short term could get exciting in the very near future here.
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Of course, I’m talking about the pending promotion of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who is already tearing up Triple-A after starting the year a little behind because of a strained oblique muscle this spring. It was safe to assume that he might need a few week’s worth of at-bats to get up to speed, but it appears that the young phenom is already locked in and is arguably ready to make his final ascension to the big leagues.
We no longer have to worry about the whole service time issue, so at this stage it’s just a matter of when the Blue Jays feel the timing is right. Even if I wanted to watch him hitting in the big leagues yesterday (and yes, I have him in some fantasy league pools as well), I understand and support the decision to let him get his feet under him in Buffalo putting him up against the best in the world. However, there’s only going to be so long the Jays can hold him back, and chances are we’re going to see him debut very soon.
How soon? No one knows for sure other than maybe Ross Atkins and his team, but the speculation is starting to ramp up, and even some normally reserved baseball people are starting to take a guess.
The Blue Jays have two more games in Minnesota before they head to Oakland for a three-game set. After that, they have a day off on the 22nd, followed by a two-game series at home against the San Francisco Giants. After another off day, they’ll host Oakland at the Rogers Centre for three games before leaving for L.A. at the end of the month.
A lot could happen in the next week or two, but I would agree with Mike Wilner’s guess that the top prospect in baseball will make his debut next week. It could come against the Giants, but I’m going to guess he faces makes his debut when Oakland comes to town on the 26th. This is purely speculation from me (and I assume from Wilner), but there are a couple of reasons I would put a few bucks down on that being the date circled on the secret Vlad calendar (there’s gotta be one, right?).
Some baseball people believe that debuting a player on the road is the right approach, mostly because it allows them to get their feet wet before the home fans can get too excited and add a bit more pressure to a big day for a young player. I don’t believe the Blue Jays will worry about such a thing, for at least four different reasons:
- This kid doesn’t seem to know what the word “pressure” means anyway
- The team is struggling at the plate, and the expectation to win isn’t that great.
- They’re not home again until May 6th
- They’re going to sell a lot of tickets when he debuts (which I suppose, will be the case whenever he plays his first game)
Even Ross Atkins admitted recently that it wouldn’t’ be long until we see the 20-year-old phenom facing off against big league pitching. In a season that has been pretty frustrating, and at times downright boring, getting to witness the first pages of this talented kid’s story will be worth coming out to the ballpark, and tuning in on your television set. And there’s a good chance that day is coming very soon.