Extremely Brian Fantana voice: “VLADDY WATCH!”
Blue Jays fans are on pins and needles about Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s arrival. Earlier this week, Bob Nightengale reported Vladdy would make his debut on Tuesday. That was debunked shortly afterwards, but the Jays’ rabid fanbase was still left wondering when baseball’s consensus number one prospect will make his MLB debut.
The reports of Tuesday’s debut were only a false alarm. As Vladdy Watch enters day 28 since the beginning of the 2019 season, whispers continue about his official introduction to the Major Leagues.
As of now, the timing seems perfect to bring Guerrero up ahead of Friday night’s series against the Oakland A’s. The Bisons play a mid-morning game in Syracuse today, followed by an afternoon matinee on Thursday. If the organization is concerned about Vladdy getting those extra reps, they could bring him along following the Bisons’ afternoon matchup in nearby Syracuse.
The Blue Jays have an off-day on Thursday following today’s mid-afternoon series finale against the San Francisco Giants, which leads perfectly into a Friday evening tilt featuring baseball’s hottest prospect. That’s enough time to build some momentum going into Friday and sell a few thousand extra walk-up tickets for an otherwise meaningless game for the Blue Jays.
If the Jays wait until late Thursday to make the announcement of his promotion, Guerrero will have taken around 40 plate appearances at triple-A and potentially played four consecutive days at third base. By all indications, the at bats aren’t really a concern for Vladdy (who has an OPS of 1.089 this year in triple-A, by the way), it’s the consistent playing time in the field.
In Scott MacArthur’s latest piece at Sportsnet, he predicts that this Friday will be Guerrero’s call-up date. As MacArthur suggests, there’s no sense in keeping Guerrero down in the minors any longer. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him and the Blue Jays currently have a future MVP-sized hole in their lineup.
To build off what MacArthur said, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs has heard from multiple sources that Guerrero will be in a Blue Jays uniform at some point later this week. Given how close in proximity the Blue Jays and Bisons are playing this weekend, the planets have aligned perfectly for Vladdy to make the trek across Lake Erie later this week.
Several people in baseball have told me they anticipate Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. will be promoted this week.
— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) April 23, 2019
Unless the Bisons miss the next game or two due to weather, this Friday is looking incredibly likely as Guerrero’s official MLB debut with the Blue Jays. I know we’ve already been through this once before, so don’t send any hate replies or “I told you so’s” if Vladdy isn’t in Toronto come Friday, but this feels like it’s going to happen very soon.
If the Blue Jays wait too long, you’d hate to see Guerrero run into a scenario similar to Bo Bichette and sustain an injury and miss the next six-to-eight weeks. Bichette’s ETA with the Blue Jays is a little further down the line than Guerrero’s, but the last thing the organization wants is Vladdy suffering yet another setback during an inconsequential triple-A game.
If you’re hedging bets on when to buy tickets for Guerrero’s debut at the Rogers Centre, this Friday is still the safest bet. Saturday or Sunday in the middle of a series would be an odd time to promote a top prospect (unless there was a catastrophic injury to Brandon Drury or something).
Plus, after this upcoming series against the A’s, the Jays depart on a six-game road trip through Los Angeles and Texas, so this weekend is the last home series to witness his potential debut prior to that road trip.
Everyone’s waiting for Vladdy Watch to come to a close. It shall happen soon enough, but until then, don’t touch that dial … stay tuned to Blue Jays Nation for up-to-the-minute updates on Guerrero’s long-awaited entrance into the Major Leagues.