Vlad Jr.'s time is coming ... just have to wait a bit

April 22nd, 2019

TORONTO -- There was some speculation over the weekend that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might make his Major League debut as soon as Tuesday. According to an MLB.com source, that's not going to happen and instead Guerrero's debut won't be happening until at least later in the week.

The Blue Jays left Guerrero in the Minor Leagues this weekend to continue his development and receive more at-bats, but in the end, it didn't happen.

Guerrero wasn't able to complete any of the three scheduled games for Triple-A Buffalo because of rain. Friday night's matchup was postponed hours before the scheduled first pitch because of inclement weather, and it wasn't much better the following day.

All Guerrero has to show for his last four days in Buffalo is one walk in one plate appearance and a couple of barehanded attempts on slow grounders to third. Not exactly ideal conditions for MLB Pipeline's top prospect, but to the surprise of no one, Guerrero feels he's ready for the next step.

"It’s out of my hands," Guerrero told reporters through an interpreter this weekend in Buffalo. "I'm not frustrated. I continue to play 100% and when the time comes for the call, I’ll welcome it. It’s obvious I’m ready. I feel ready. I can’t control what happens. I just control what I can do myself."

Here's a closer look at where things currently stand with Toronto's top prospect:

Did the rain impact timing of his debut?
The easy answer here is yes. Under normal circumstances, the upcoming two-game series vs. San Francisco might have been an ideal time for Guerrero's debut, but the rain washed away any chance of that. Entering play on Monday, Guerrero had received one plate appearance since Wednesday.

By Tuesday, Guerrero would have gone almost a full week between playing nine innings at any level. That's less than ideal during the best of times, and it's even more problematic for a player who has appeared in just five Triple-A games this season, after missing almost all of Spring Training with a left oblique strain. After all the organization's talk about process and putting Guerrero in a position to succeed, it would seem almost reckless to call him up immediately following such a long delay. If the Blue Jays waited this long, what's a few more days?

If not Toronto, where will Guerrero be playing on Tuesday?
Early indications are that Guerrero will still be playing for Triple-A Buffalo, which is scheduled to open a four-game series in Syracuse on Monday night. Guerrero has yet to play games on three consecutive days, and this might be his first opportunity to do so.

One possible scenario would see Guerrero play the first three games of the Syracuse series and then use Thursday as an off-day/travel day before joining the Blue Jays for his Major League debut on Friday vs. Oakland. The weather in Syracuse should cooperate with mostly sunny conditions scheduled in the forecast with the exception of some showers on Wednesday.

What happens when Guerrero arrives?
Guerrero will immediately become the Blue Jays' starting third baseman and everyone else will have to adjust accordingly. Brandon Drury, who is finally heating up after a slow start to the year, should transition to second base, where he will be backed up by veteran Eric Sogard. Guerrero will start every day at the corner-infield spot while occasionally starting at designated hitter to partially rest.

The expectation is that it also shouldn't take very long for manager Charlie Montoyo to throw Guerrero into the heart of his lineup. Guerrero might find himself hitting in front of Justin Smoak out of the No. 2 or No. 3 spots in the lineup and this will not be a case of a rookie being eased into the Majors by hitting in the bottom third. Once Guerrero arrives, he'll be here to play and the expectations will be lofty from Day 1.