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Guerrero, Bichette to take part in rookie program

Weeklong mini-camp gives prospects taste of Toronto life
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette will get their first taste of life in Toronto when the Blue Jays host their annual rookie development program at Rogers Centre, and fans will be able to meet them at Winter Fest later this month.

In addition to Guerrero and Bichette, the Blue Jays will host: LHP Ryan Borucki, OF D.J. Davis, OF Roemon Fields, RHP Taylor Guerrieri, IF Lourdes Gurriel, RHP Jon Harris, C Danny Jansen, IF Jason Leblebijian, C Reese McGuire, LHP Thomas Pannone, C Max Pentecost, RHP Sean Reid-Foley and RHP Jordan Romano.

TORONTO -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette will get their first taste of life in Toronto when the Blue Jays host their annual rookie development program at Rogers Centre, and fans will be able to meet them at Winter Fest later this month.

In addition to Guerrero and Bichette, the Blue Jays will host: LHP Ryan Borucki, OF D.J. Davis, OF Roemon Fields, RHP Taylor Guerrieri, IF Lourdes Gurriel, RHP Jon Harris, C Danny Jansen, IF Jason Leblebijian, C Reese McGuire, LHP Thomas Pannone, C Max Pentecost, RHP Sean Reid-Foley and RHP Jordan Romano.

Toronto has been holding a weeklong mini-camp for the past several years. Top prospects get put through a series of on-field drills starting on Jan. 15 but just as important are off-the-field seminars which center on life in the big leagues. Players receive additional media training and are educated on issues they might encounter as professional athletes.

The prospects will remain in Toronto all week and take part in the inaugural Winter Fest at Rogers Centre on Jan. 20. The Blue Jays have yet to announce the full list of participants, but it is expected to include a large number of current players, front-office executives and alumni in addition to the announced prospects.

Video: Bo Bichette discusses his strong first pro season

There are some notable omissions on the list of prospects attending the mini-camp, but all of them can be easily explained. First baseman Rowdy Tellez, OF Anthony Alford, SS Richard Urena and RHP Conner Greene were among last year's participants while T.J. Zeuch is coming off a strong showing at the Arizona Fall League. Other top prospects such as SS Logan Warmoth and RHP Nate Pearson were only drafted last year and are still in the early stages of their development.

The development program will only help these young prospects, but none of the players involved are expected to compete for a big league job in Spring Training. Jansen likely is the closest to being ready for the Major Leagues, but he's expected to open the season at Triple-A Buffalo while Toronto goes with Russell Martin and Luke Maile on the 25-man active roster.

Guerrero, 18, and Bichette, 19, are the cream of the crop and likely are another year away from their first big league experience. MLB Pipeline considers Guerrero the fourth-best prospect in all of baseball while Bichette ranks 26th following a season in which he flirted with hitting .400 before finishing with a .362/.423/.565 slash line across two levels in the Minors. Both players are expected to receive an invite to Spring Training in February.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays