Feb. 22, 2018
The Big Two
If you don't know who I am talking about by now well...I'll let you know. Vlad Guerrero Jr (whose father is now in the Hall of Fame for the wrong team but I digress) and Bo Bichette (whose father will not be in the hall of fame but was a slugger none the less).
These two prospects for the Jays are the best hitting prospects to come through the organization in a long, long time. Let's put this in perspective: these two youngsters are rated #3 and #8 by Baseball America. That hasn't happened since 1995 when Alex Gonzales and Shawn Green were rated in the top 10. I also happened to be wrapping up and epic grade 10 that included...nevermind; you're not here to read about me.
Now I know what you're going to say: "So what, rankings mean nothing. Lots of prospects flame out before the make it to the big leagues." I won't disagree with that one bit. I'll actually agree with you 100%. On the other hand; I'm going to flat out say these are two prospects that really need to be untouchable. I don't care what the offer is; unless it includes Mike Trout...I don't want to hear about it. Don't waste my time or Ross Atkins please.
For the last few weeks; it's easy to say the offseason has been slow. That is probably an understatement. Sure there have been a few trades and a few signings but none of the big names have gone to the Jays. That's lead a few people I know saying the management team is garbage and they need to do more and make trades and on and on and on. The Jays have wanted to make trades the problem is that the other GMs start and finish their wants with Vlad Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette. I don't blame them.
Look at these stats for Vlad in 2017: .323BA .910OPS with 13HR 76RBI and 76BB compared to 62Ks. What is insane is he did this as an 18 year old when most of the guys he was playing against were on average 4-5 years older than him. This is a guy who isn't legally allowed to drink in North America (aside from Quebec off the top of my head) hitting off pitchers who went to college and are fairly polished. Scouts say he won't last at third base but probably end up at first base which is ok because the player they are comparing him to started the exact same way: Miguel Cabrera. That's a Hall of Fame type player. Sure; Vlad probably won't end up that good. Even if he doesn't but he comes close that's not a guy you want to trade away for 2 or 3 years of a guy who isn't an all world player but a really, really good player like Christian Yelich. You could have this guy under team control for the next decade. Guess who I'd rather have on my team...
Here are the stats for Bo: .362BA .988 OPS 14HR 74RBI and 22SB. Those numbers are also insane for a guy competing against guys 2-3 years older. The worst argument I heard about why the Jays should trade him came from one of the band members of the Sheep Dogs on 590 The Fan. I'll loosely quote this because I didn't get it all because I was yelling at my radio "Well seriously...how good can he be? His Dad was Dante Bichette and he was a terrible fielder so how is this kid going to play defense? I'd move him." Seriously????????
Side note: Can we please stop having people who aren't involved in the sport other than players and reporters on television, radio and various news outlets commenting? I mean don't get me wrong; they are passionate about the team and the sport. But the conversation with these guys talked about their tour and how hard they played in their softball league. They then follow it up with "Well he may be a good hitter but his dad couldn't play defense therefore he probably is useless and won't be a good major league player."
I wonder if at any point someone looked at them and said "Well your dad really couldn't carry a tune and never played guitar so you'll never make it." This is a young man who grew up around the game and his dad literally trained him and put him in the best situation to improve throughout his upbringing. All that he has done in the minors other than his is practice his fielding because that was his biggest knock before being drafted. Keep that in mind. Last year at this time he didn't even make the Jays top 10 prospects. Now he's one of the top 10 (depending on which list you look at) in all of baseball. That means he's improving. Also; so what if he isn't a gold glover. That doesn't matter to me. If he can his over .300 for his entire career with some power the team will find a position for him to play.
The idea is assemble as much talent as possible at controllable salaries in the majors so you can go out and overpay for free agents or make the occasional trade that will put you over the top. Right now this team could use a boost in order to compete this year but in my opinion it's not worth mortgaging the next 5-10 years of future success for one year with lots of guys nearing the end of their contracts. Hold onto these guys because they have a chance to special and we haven't had two homegrown position players with the potential to be stars at the same time since Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado. Trust me; the wait will be worth it.