- Guerrero perched as MLB’s Top prospect after 20 home runs in the minors in 2018
- 19-year-old remains a longshot to make the Blue Jays out of spring training
- After exceeded expectations in the minors, Guerrero pegged as intriguing +16 bet to win 2019 AL ROY honors
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continued his highly anticipated march towards the major leagues last season, racking up 20 home runs in 95 games with four minor league squads. But with Guerrero looking increasingly unlikely to open the 2019 MLB season with the Toronto Blue Jays, the 19-year-old slugger has emerged as a heavy favorite to hit UNDER 23.5 home runs as a Blue Jay during the upcoming campaign, sporting short -150 odds.
Vladimir Guerrero – 2019 Batting Props Wagers
|At-bats in 2019 for the Toronto Blue Jays||Odds|
|Batting Average in 2019||Odds|
|Home Runs in 2019 for the Toronto Blue Jays||Odds|
Vlad Poised for MLB Debut Following Breakthrough 2018 Campaign
Guerrero enjoyed a breakthrough in his second season of minor league ball in 2018. The son of Hall-of-Fame outfielder and namesake Vladimir Guerrero Sr. was quickly promoted to AA New Hampshire after brief early-season stints with Toronto’s rookie league affiliates, and blossomed under intense media scrutiny, batting .402 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs through 61 contests.
ICYMI: After dazzling 2018 season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is Blue Jays' biggest hope https://t.co/mM2ZTYqJEi
— Buffalo News Sports (@TBNSports) January 19, 2019
The Dominican Republic native faced a somewhat harder road during a late-season call-up to AAA Buffalo, going long on just six occasions over 30 outings with the Bisons. However, Guerrero maintained a high level of consistency at the AAA level, recording at least one hit in 22 games including 10 multi-hit outings.
Those numbers have further bolstered the already high expectations that Guerrero has faced since signing with the Blue Jays as a 16-year-old while pegged as Baseball America’s top-ranked international free agent in 2015. Now perched atop the list of Major League Baseball’s Top 100 prospects, Guerrero is pegged as a short -120 bet to compile a batting average of OVER .295 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2019 MLB season.
Slugger Looking Unlikely to Remain with Blue Jays Following Spring Training
However, with Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins publicly stating his concerns about whether Guerrero’s readiness to make the transition to the big leagues, it remains unclear when the slugger will make his highly-anticipated major league debut.
Will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Be In The Toronto Blue Jays 2019 Opening Day Lineup?
|Will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Be In The Toronto Blue Jays 2019 Opening Day Lineup?||Odds|
A number of factors come into play for Blue Jays management as they wrestle with the decision as to when to promote their prized prospect. Contract concerns are at the top of list. By delaying Guerrero’s arrival in Toronto until May, Blue Jays management can effectively delay his rights to salary arbitration and free agency by a year.
GM Ross Atkins: Vlad Guerrero Jr. is not a Major League player right now…
… not yet. pic.twitter.com/ydqZdvXFro
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 26, 2019
With the Blue Jays in full rebuild mode, and lagging at a lengthy +10000 on the World Series odds, there is no rush for the team to press their budding young star into service prematurely. And while Guerrero is clearly a rising star at the plate, he remains a work in progress playing in the field at third base, where he made 11 errors in 78 total appearances in New Hampshire and Buffalo, and saw his fielding percentage dip to .937 following his move to the Bisons.
Guerrero Facing Competition for Job as Blue Jays 3B
Another obstacle to Guerrero’s arrival in Toronto is the Blue Jays’ current depth at the hot corner. In addition to Brandon Drury, whom the team picked up in the trade that sent pitcher JA Happ to the New York Yankees last season, the Blue Jays must also make room for infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
— The Athletic Toronto (@TheAthleticTO) July 30, 2018
The 25-year-old has earned a shot at a full-time job with the big club following an impressive 65-game major league debut last season, highlighted by an 11-game multi-hit streak that smashed an American League record set by Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1912.
Will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Win The 2019 AL Rookie Of The Year?
|Will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Win The 2019 AL Rookie Of The Year?||Odds|
With so many factors in play, it is not surprising that Guerrero sports strong -140 odds of recording UNDER 495.5 at-bats with the Blue Jays this season. However, one thing has become certain about Guerrero since he made his minor league debut in 2017, and that is to expect him to exceed expectations, which is likely to fuel interest in attractive +160 odds of Guerrero becoming the first Blue Jay player to claim AL Rookie of the Year honors since Eric Hinske took home the hardware in 2002.
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