Blue Jays: The added value of building a homegrown core

TORONTO, ON - MAY 26: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the San Diego Padres at Rogers Centre on May 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 26: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the San Diego Padres at Rogers Centre on May 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Blue Jays are very fortunate to have one of the best minor league systems in baseball right now, and even more so with the timing of how it’s coming together.

Even though the Blue Jays are currently fourth in the AL East with a record of 21-33, I think most of you will agree that there are still reasons to tune in, especially lately.

The majority of the credit has to go to the young players that have joined the roster, especially the arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. a month ago, and the recent promotions of Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. They’ve joined other rookies like Rowdy Tellez and Danny Jansen who have been around all season, and there are plenty more where they all came from.

For those that need immediate gratification, you may not enjoy the rest of the 2019 season, and it’s possible that it could be just a slightly improved version of this team in 2020 as well. However, the more I look at the talent that’s coming up through the minor league pipeline the more I’m buying into the long term vision. There is still plenty of work to be done, but I’m particularly excited about the talented core we’re seeing emerge right now, and for more reasons than just their high-end talent.

More from Jays Journal

We can talk about the cost-certainty and all the financial freedom that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro will enjoy with this group, especially in their first few years in the league when the majority of them are making near-minimum salaries. It will allow the front office to supplement the roster with needed veterans, and having so much homegrown talent should allow them to bid on pretty much whatever they need when they feel the time is right.

There’s also the fact that it’s been a long-stated desire to get younger and more athletic, and these kids are providing that already. Sure, Guerrero Jr. and Tellez aren’t going to win any stolen base titles, but Gurriel Jr. and Biggio provide a lot of flexibility and athleticism on defence, and there Bo Bichette has been known to be a pretty good threat on the bases.

Beyond their potential, the thing I like the most about these young guys is that they’ve been through the trenches together and have a bond that was formed at the minor league level. It was blatantly obvious when Cavan Biggio hit his first home run, as it appeared that Guerrero Jr. and Gurriel Jr. were more excited about it than the rookie who had just went deep in the big leagues for the first time.

These kids care about each other and support one another, and you can’t buy the type of experiences they’ve had together. They’ve gone through growing pains through the various levels of the minor leagues, through long bus trips, and in some cases, living on very little (although we’ve gotta give kudos to the Jays for being an industry leader in paying minor leaguers).

That’s why we’re seeing the kids celebrate with each other, and we’re bound to see the same thing if and when others like Ryan Borucki, Anthony Alford, Reese McGuire, and eventually Bichette make their way to the active big league roster. Most of them played on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and/or Dunedin Blue Jays in 2017, so they’ve been working and growing together for a while now.

dark. Next. Blue Jays' future should be full of HR power

It should be an added bonus to a talented roster, and in a league that’s become so competitive those smaller details can make a huge difference. It’s still the earliest of stages with these youngsters, but I like what I’m seeing.

facebooktwitterreddit