If we don’t get Vladimir Guerrero Jr this season in the majors, we might burn the league down. He is one of the biggest prospect hype machines heading into the new year, and of course being the son of Vladimir Guerrero is going to help. Regardless of his roots, Guerrero is a huge talent within the organization, and someone we want to see in the majors very soon. He will enter the season 20 years of age, and has an ETA of 2019. He had a .428 wOBA in Triple-A last season, and a .481 wOBA in Double-A. He has mashed through each level of the minor leagues, and his bat is what gets the job done. He is an average fielder, and has an above average arm as well. Vlad might start the season in the minor leagues, but that shouldn’t last long. Third base is wide open, with Brandon Drury only standing in his way. He will likely get the nod, and the career can finally take off.
The Blue Jays ranked 5th in HR last season, and were 7th in slugging. They are bringing back a similar lineup, and have five players projected for over 20 HR, and that is not considering Vladimir Guerrero Jr either. Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales have made a nice 1B/DH duo these last few seasons, and names like Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez might not hit for average, but the power is there. Lourdes Gurriel Jr is also a name that has blossomed into a solid hitter. The Jays are in a good spot if the youth hits soon, and they get some pitching on their lineup. While some of these names are getting older, we shouldn’t expect much of a drop off. Toronto won only 73 games last season, but their offense wasn’t much to blame. Pitching, injuries, and a subpar bullpen led to many of those losses.
Toronto’s pitching staff is looking rather suspect heading into the season. Marcus Stroman hasn’t checked out to be an ace, and looks more like a number two or three moving forward. They signed Clayton Richard and Matt Shoemaker, which heading from pitcher friendly divisions and now going to the AL East is not a good look despite projections having their ERAs be somewhat friendly. There is not an elite starter in the minors that is on the verge of a come up, so it looks like Toronto is going to be in the market if one comes around for free agency. With them in the midst of rebuilding, they won’t be in a rush to grab front end starters, but they will make do with what they have in the meantime.