TORONTO -- R.B.I. Baseball 19 just got a fresh new hairstyle as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was announced as the game's new Canadian cover athlete on Sunday at the Blue Jays Winter Fest.
Gurriel has always been an avid gamer. From growing up as a young kid with two older brothers to being a 25-year-old in the Majors, there's always been a controller nearby. Following teammates Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, and Marcus Stroman on the cover of a game that he's enjoyed playing himself makes it even sweeter.
"It was extremely exciting. I'm a fan of video games, so when I found out, I was really happy," Gurriel said through the club's mental performance coach and translator, Tanya Bialostozky. "It's one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me."
• Montoyo gets to know team at Winter Fest
Lourdes and his brother Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros are just as competitive off the field as they are on it, and while he wouldn't reveal which of his ratings he thinks should be higher than his brother's in R.B.I. Baseball 19, there's one area where he's not expecting either of them to grade out very well.
"What we both have a bad rating in is [staying] calm," Gurriel said. "We take it very seriously. We're super competitive."
Gurriel is one of many young Blue Jays players with bloodlines in the sport and a famous last name, but he really stepped forward individually in 2018 with a red-hot hitting streak through late July. Gurriel strung together 11 consecutive games with multiple hits, setting an MLB rookie record and Blue Jays franchise record.
That streak was only snapped when Gurriel was held to one hit in his return from a four-week DL stint, but it helped to solidify him as a piece of Toronto's immediate future. Gurriel could be used in a variety of roles by new manager Charlie Montoyo, which the club hopes can open up even more opportunities for him in 2019 and beyond.
Back in the Blue Jays locker room, he'll have some challengers waiting for him on R.B.I Baseball 19. Besides, who better to beat in a video game than the guy on the cover?
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might be first in line, setting up a head-to-head between the cover star and the top prospect in Major League Baseball.
"Right now, I have a very close rival in Vlad," Gurriel said. "That's a new rivalry that's starting to emerge between us, but I just love playing all the time."
Blue Jays fans will have another opportunity to add Gurriel to their collection on April 24, when Toronto hosts the San Francisco Giants at Rogers Centre on Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #PiñaPower Bobblehead Day.