Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wants to hit behind Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is going to be counted on to help lead the Blue Jays offence this year, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would like to hit behind him in the batting order.
We’re a little over a week into Spring Training, and while plenty can change before Opening Day, we’re already starting to get some answers to the questions this team entered the off-season with.
We already know that Charlie Montoyo will lead off his batting order with Bo Bichette, followed by Cavan Biggio. We’ve also seen the skipper lining Lourdes Gurriel Jr. up in the third spot in the order, followed by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. That much seems to be more or less set in stone, barring any big changes, and it should be a lot of fun to watch these talented youngsters this season.
I’ll admit that I have been a little surprised to see Gurriel Jr. hitting third rather than Vlad Jr., but it sounds like there are a couple of good reasons for the way Montoyo is drawing things up. First, there’s no denying that Gurriel Jr. is an offensive threat, as he slashed .277/.327/.541 with 20 home runs in just 84 games. Secondly, it sounds like Vlad Jr. prefers to hit in the fourth spot in the order, behind Gurriel Jr.
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun published an article earlier on Sunday, and in it Gurriel Jr. talked about some of the frustrations he faced last year, and the excitement for the season ahead, including that Vlad Jr. and the team have placed so much faith in him.
"“I mean, a hitter like Vladdy who’s said that he’d like to hit behind me? And a manager to say that he’d love for me to hit third? I’m proud of that. And I’m going to continue to work to make the best of it.”"
If Gurriel Jr. can stay healthy and produce like he did last season, the Blue Jays are going to have a very dangerous top of the order, and Guerrero Jr. should have a boatload of RBI opportunities throughout the year. That would be the case if the latter were hitting third in front of Bichette and Biggio as well, but adding one more talented hitter ahead of Vlad Jr. just lengthens the lineup that much more.
Ultimately, the Blue Jays will need to have a healthy roster in order for these nuances to matter much, and that goes for the power-hitting pair as well. To that end, both Gurriel Jr. and Guerrero Jr. changed up their off-season workout routines, and look to come into the new season healthy and ready to take another step forward.
As this group continues to grow together at the big league level, they’ll continue to figure out what’s going to work, and what might need to be tweaked. As for the batting order, it should be a lot of fun watching Vlad Jr. hit fourth ahead of the talented trio at the top.