What you need to know about Vlad Jr.'s debut

April 26th, 2019

TORONTO -- It's the beginning of a new era in Blue Jays baseball: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has arrived.

One of the most hyped players in Minor League history will make his debut on the big stage Friday night against Oakland. Weeks of endless speculation, years of glowing scouting reports and countless hours honing his craft have all led to this moment.

Guerrero hasn't even played in a Major League game, and yet when he does, it will immediately become one of the biggest moments in franchise history. That's how much attention will be on the shoulders of the 20-year-old, who was born in Montreal and raised in the Dominican Republic.

Baseball fans have been waiting a long time for this day to arrive. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Guerrero's debut, what it means now and what it means for the future of the Blue Jays' organization:

Why is he such a big deal?

Guerrero initially garnered attention because of his Hall of Fame father, but the bat does most of the talking now. Simply put, Guerrero turned into one of the best hitters the Minor Leagues has ever seen, and he did it in almost record time. Last year, in his age 19 season, Guerrero slashed .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs in 95 games across four levels.

Guerrero got a $3.9 million signing bonus in 2015 and has been the No. 1 prospect in baseball -- according to MLB Pipeline -- since last summer. He became the face of the franchise the moment manager Charlie Montoyo announced he was being promoted. This is his team now, rookie or not.

How can I watch?

The game will be broadcast on MLB Network in the United States and available on Sportsnet in Canada. It will also be made available as the MLB.TV Free Game of the Day. On radio, it can be heard on Sportsnet 590 TheFan.

Additionally, Guerrero will be today's Twitter Hitter, which means all of his at-bats will be streamed live on Twitter from MLB's official account.

How will the Blue Jays use him?

Guerrero is the new starting third baseman. Brandon Drury will move across the diamond to second base and Eric Sogard should return to a backup infielder role. Guerrero will be considered an everyday player, but he's also going to receive occasional starts at designated hitter to act as partial days of rest. When that happens, Drury will move back to third while Sogard or Alen Hanson starts at second.

Where will he hit in the lineup?

Guerrero will bat fifth and start at third behind Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman.

What number will he wear?

Guerrero will wear No. 27, which is the same number his father wore during his Hall of Fame career.

Who will he be facing?

Right-hander , who is 2-2 with an 8.28 ERA in six starts this season. Fiers surrendered two home runs in each of his last two outings, and he's allowed six overall. His last start also came against the Blue Jays, when he was charged with six runs on nine hits while striking out four over 3 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old hasn't won since April 2 vs. the Red Sox. Fiers is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in eight career appearances vs. Toronto. After Fiers, Guerrero is scheduled to face lefty on Saturday and right-hander in Sunday's finale.

How did his dad do in his debut?

The elder Guerrero made his debut for the Expos on Sept. 19, 1996, at Atlanta. At age 21, Guerrero went 1-for-5 with a single in his second at-bat of the day. He appeared in nine games that season for Montreal and collected five hits in 27 at-bats, but he didn't become a full-time player in the Major Leagues until May of the following year.

What can we expect from him on defense?

Guerrero is going to hit, but there are still questions about his defense. The Blue Jays don't know where he's going to play on the shift because they're not sure if he'll be comfortable turning a double-play at second. There also are those who question his range or ability to play off the line at third. The next couple of months are going to be very revealing. Guerrero will either prove himself at third and show there is potential to grow at the position, or there will be increased talk of a move to first.

How does the timing of Guerrero's debut affect his contract?

The Blue Jays will have to add Guerrero to the 40-man roster before his debut. Guerrero is not eligible for free agency until at least after the 2025 season. Everyone assumes that Guerrero is in the Major Leagues to stay, but it's worth noting that he can still be optioned to the Minors, which would impact his service time.

Other fun facts to know

Youngest Blue Jay to get a hit: Brian Milner, June 23, 1978, at age 18.218

Youngest Blue Jay to homer: Danny Ainge, June 2, 1979, at age 20.077

Last Blue Jay to homer in his first Major League at-bat: J.P. Arencibia, Aug. 7, 2010

Rookie of the Year Winners: Eric Hinske (2002), Alfredo Griffin (1979)

Youngest Blue Jays to debut:

Brian Milner 18 years, 218 days 6/23/1978 at CLE

Elvis Luciano 19 years, 44 days 3/31/2019 vs. DET

Fred Manrique 19 years, 291 days 8/23/1981 vs. CWS

Manuel Lee 19 years, 297 days 4/10/1985 at KC

Danny Ainge 20 years, 65 days 5/21/1979 vs. CLE

(Guerrero will be 20 years, 41 days old when he debuts vs. Oakland.)