Weather curtails Vlad Jr.'s at-bats at Triple-A

Top prospect has yet to play in 3 straight games

April 17th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays want Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to get at-bats in the Minor Leagues more than anything else, but the weather hasn't exactly been doing them any favors this week.

Guerrero, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, has yet to play in three consecutive games this season, and at least part of that has been related to weather issues that Triple-A Buffalo encountered early in the 2019 campaign. Guerrero belted his second homer of the season in Wednesday night's game against Pawtucket.

Buffalo had its game on Monday postponed because of rain and there are more potential delays ahead. The Bisons have a scheduled off-day on Thursday before returning home where the forecast is calling for a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday and an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

The inclement weather has made more difficult for the Blue Jays to evaluate exactly where Guerrero is at, after missing almost all of Spring Training because of a strained oblique. It's also possible the rain scheduled for Buffalo will impact the timing of Guerrero's arrival in the Major Leagues. Either by pushing it back or moving it up to avoid the rain.

"It’s exactly that, it's a challenge, just trying to get into a progression where we’re able to see some things as we’re moving forward," Blue Jays assistant general manager Joe Sheehan said on Wednesday afternoon. "When the weather messes that up, when you’re at the mercy of that in the north in April, it’s a challenge, it makes it hard."

Sheehan held a lengthy availability with the media at Target Field and he touched on all aspects related to Guerrero and some of his teammates in Buffalo. Here are some of the top excerpts:

On whether Guerrero needs to play three games in a row before being promoted ...

Sheehan: "Generally on him, we're just trying to get him in a spot where he's in the best position to succeed. If that's on field or off field, everything about him, just trying to get him where he's in the best position to succeed when he comes up here. If he's able to make that decision easier for us, that would be a great thing."

On whether Guerrero needs a certain number of at-bats, or hit certain milestones in Buffalo, before promotion ...

Sheehan: "There's probably less black and white, like if he does this then that, but it's things like that. Making sure he can come up and be successful. Kind of like anybody else coming up from Buffalo. We try not to have guys come up and struggle. It’s trying to get him in the spot to succeed when he is up here.

Guerrero now part of the club's daily discussions ...

Sheehan: "We've talked about him a lot in the last week and probably are going to keep talking about him until he's up here. We've talking about him a lot for a long time and probably more so recently, and continue to hopefully talk to him about a lot in the future."

Home vs. road debut for Guerrero ...

Sheehan: "We've seen guys do it both places. We've talked about it, but I don't think there's a firm, you can't do it at home or you can't do it on the road, or you need to do it at home or you need to do it on the road. I think there are pluses and minuses to both. We've talked it, but it's kind of like when [Ryan] Borucki came up against Houston, in Houston, and that offense. That seemed to go OK for him. There have been guys like Trent Thornton who debuted at home. It's a factor, but not really one. I think there are other factors that will be driving it a bit more."

On the number of at-bats Cavan Biggio needs before promotion ...

Sheehan: "I think it's probably similar to the Vlad answer. When Cavan's time comes, I think it's going to be similar. Making sure he is in a spot to succeed and have a good year. Offense, defense, adjusting to the Majors. Generally, there's less of a milestone approach on this for us. Less of a, he got to this many at-bats so he's ready now, as opposed to two at-bats ago. It's probably every little at-bat, every at-bat is a little bit more of a, we've got a little bit more information. It's less about, on this day, he's good. When he's going good and accomplished enough at Triple-A, that's kind of when."

Socrates Brito hitless streak ...

Sheehan: "We're trying to help him. To the point about the offense working itself out, I think we’re seeing the same things that we liked 20 at-bats ago. Hopefully it’s a little bit of a blip as he works through it. Guillermo [Martinez] and him, he’s one of the guys that you see working on stuff, working through stuff early and working on video. Hopefully the stuff we liked about him when we acquired him largely is still there. It’s been a rough stretch for him for sure, but he’s trying to work through that and hopefully better days are ahead."