The highly anticipated arrival of baseball's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline is nearing. And that's Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who retained that top spot on the MLB Pipeline's preseason Top 100 Prospects list, as revealed Saturday night on MLB Network.Guerrero headlines a Blue Jays farm system that boasts four other
The highly anticipated arrival of baseball's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline is nearing. And that's Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who retained that top spot on the MLB Pipeline's preseason Top 100 Prospects list, as revealed Saturday night on MLB Network.
Guerrero headlines a Blue Jays farm system that boasts four other prospects in the Top 100: Bo Bichette (No. 11), Danny Jansen (No. 65), Nate Pearson (No. 76) and Eric Pardinho (No. 98). Exciting times lie ahead for Toronto as these players make their way toward the Majors, with Guerrero and Bichette, in particular, already knocking on the door.
:: Complete 2019 Top 100 Prospects coverage ::
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2019 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Guerrero has already captivated the baseball world with his incredible numbers throughout his Minor League career. The 19-year-old third baseman, son of Hall of Fame right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, slashed .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs in 95 games across four levels last year, the majority of which were spent between Double-A New Hampshire (61 games) and Triple-A Buffalo (30 games). Over his entire Minor League career, he's hitting .331/.414/.529.
Guerrero will likely be with the Blue Jays sometime early in the season, and everyone in and around baseball will be tuned in to watch the Major League debut of a player Callis says "might be the best prospect, all-around, since Alex Rodriguez, if you're talking about the upside."
Bichette, son of former Major League outfielder Dante Bichette, isn't far behind Guerrero, and could make his big league debut at some point in 2019 as well. The 20-year-old hit .286/.343/.453 with 43 doubles, seven triples and 11 homers in 131 games for Double-A New Hampshire last year. In three Minor League seasons, the shortstop is slashing .328/.385/.521.
Jansen, 23, got his first taste of the big leagues last season, making his Major League debut on Aug. 13. In 95 plate appearances for Toronto, the catcher hit .247/.347/.432 with three homers. In 88 games at Triple-A Buffalo, he posted a .275/.390/.473 slash line with 12 home runs.
Pearson, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays at the No. 28 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, and he began demonstrating his value early on, posting a 0.90 ERA in eight starts between Rookie level and low Class A Vancouver in '17. Last year, a back injury pushed his season debut back to early May, and in his first start, he was hit by a line drive that fractured his right forearm, causing him to miss the remainder of the season. He made six Arizona Fall League starts, giving up 14 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings (6.20 ERA).
Pardinho, who turned 18 earlier this month, signed with the Blue Jays out of Brazil in July 2017. The right-hander features a fastball that can touch 97 mph and a strong curveball as his best secondary pitch. He made his professional debut last year, posting a 2.88 ERA in 11 starts for Rookie-level Bluefield, striking out 64 while walking 16.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.