Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has the potential to do really big things if he can remain on the field in 2020.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and his untapped upside often get overlooked in the Blue Jays shadows due to the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, however, it wouldn’t be a stretch if the 26-year old put up better numbers than both the phenoms this season. Gurriel is that good!
The native of Cuba has had some tough luck with freak injuries since making his MLB debut in 2018. The injuries have limited him to just 149 games over the past two campaigns. Coupled with the injuries, mix in a position change and demotion last season when Gurriel struggled on the infield defensively.
Through all that, Gurriel Jr. sports a career .279/.320/.499 slash line with 31 home runs, 85 runs batted in, seven stolen bases and a 1.7 WAR in 606 plate appearances. Those are some legit numbers despite dealing with injuries and the defensive pressures of a new position.
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Gurriel inked a seven-year/ $22 million dollar pact with the Blue Jays in the offseason of 2016 in a deal that has the makings of being a huge bargain when it is all said and done. The outfielder will not get a sniff of free agency until 2025.
Thus far in Grapefruit League action play, manager Charlie Monotyo has utilized Gurriel Jr. in the three-spot in the batting order nestled between Cavan Biggio and Gurrero Jr. The third baseman went on record earlier this spring confiding that he prefers Gurriel in the three-hole ahead of him as pitchers attack him similarly, this affords Gurrero an opportunity to gain valuable intel before he steps up to the plate.
Gurriel may see more fastballs this season with opposing pitchers preferring to pick their poison with him rather than Vladdy. That could also be short-lived once the outfielder starts making pitchers pay for that poor life choice.
The top of the order is going to do some serious damage this season and Gurriel may be the straw that stirs the Blue Jays offensive drink.