While it’s probably more noteworthy that yesterday Baseball Prospectus conceded that they had been light on both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in their pre-season top 101, moving them both from off the list into beyond respectable positions — 13th and 29th, respectively — holy shit, the folks at Baseball America may have just one-upped them in terms of glee-inducing hype for the Jays’ two top prospects.
BA released their midseason top 100 on Friday morning, and — piss on my balls! — little Vladito ranks second! SECOND! Trailing only Yoan Moncada of the White Sox, who was the centrepiece of the Chris Sale deal! (Though not the only outstanding prospect; Michael Kopech ranks 20th).
Bichette, it should be noted, ranked 44th — which is up from 93rd, but still behind Anthony Alford (38th, down from 34th), and is confusing the hell out of people on Twitter who have suddenly decided they’re scouts. Lourdes Gurriel remains on the list as well, though he drops from 68th to 90th.
So… that’s a little awesome (provided we forget what happened to the last Blue Jays prospect to be ranked this high on these kinds of lists). Also awesome: the fact that Guerrero and Bichette will be saying goodbye to the Midwest League they have so thoroughly dominated. Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star was the first to report, on Wednesday night, that the two will be promoted to High-A Dunedin following their appearance in the Futures Game during MLB’s All-Star festivities next week in Miami.
The always great Jesse Goldberg-Strassler with the pitch perfect reaction to the news:
I feel awesome. It was time.
Now — where's Riley Adams, Logan Warmoth, et al?
— Jesse G-S (@jgoldstrass) July 7, 2017
They may be gone, but Lansing will always have these sweet, sweet, oh-my-god-I-want-one mugs:
— Lansing Lugnuts (@LansingLugnuts) July 7, 2017
Anyway… uh… speaking of the folks at BA and the Futures Game, we have more “holy shit!” moments, courtesy J.J. Cooper and John Manuel, who chatted about the game and who they were most interested to see on the most recent Baseball America podcast. And… well… uh… holy shit!
COOPER: I know the guy that I’m looking forward to the most is Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
COOPER: That is the answer.
MANUEL: That is the answer.
MANUEL: He’s got the name and he has the no batting gloves and the similar stance, but he’s really not a similar hitter to his dad, J.J., because he controls the strike zone to an insane level.
COOPER: We can say this, because we actually are both old enough — I covered Vladimir Guerrero Sr. at the same stage in his career. … He was the guy who the ball would bounce and he’d hit it out of the park. His son is the guy with the 3-2 count gets that slider that is just off the edge of the plate, spits at it and walks to first. Or, if it’s 2-2 he does that, then the pitcher comes back the next pitch with a fastball that gets more of the plate and he destroys it. That’s what he does. Because he has extremely advanced — extremely advanced — understanding of the strike zone, plate discipline, and understanding of his swing, for a guy who could still be in high school.
MANUEL: Vlad Jr. has already walked more in his year in the midwest year, halfway through it — maybe a little more than halfway through it — than Vlad Sr. did.
Oh, and it wasn’t just love for Guerrero, either.
MANUEL: JJ, if we had to pick a minor league player of the year at this point, Bo Bichette would be the favourite, right? I mean I know he’s tailed off a bit the last week, only because he’s not hitting .400 anymore.
COOPER: At the midseason, especially considering the age that he is, he’s the runaway midseason player of the year.
So… uh… who wants to watch the Futures Game?