When it comes to prospects, there's been heavy buzz on Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Blue Jays phenom and son of newly-minted Hall of Famer Vlad Sr. The younger Vlad is the consensus top prospect in baseball and is tearing up Double-A right now.
Guerrero, 19, is hitting .409/.461/.677 with 18 doubles, a triple, 11 homers, 54 RBI and 44 runs in 51 games.
Lots of people are pining for him to get a call to The Show, but a report Tuesday from Jon Morosi of MLB Network will be quite the letdown to those people:
Here's the deal. The Blue Jays aren't contending and probably go into sell mode in July. They are 14 1/2 games out in the AL East and already 10 games out of the second wild card.
Lots of people hate that teams do this, but manipulating service time is nothing new. If the Blue Jays are truly out of the race, they aren't going to start the service time clock of a player the caliber of Vlad Jr. They'll take the Kris Bryant route with him, in all likelihood.
Remember, Bryant was one of baseball's top prospects in 2014. He destroyed Double-A pitching and after 68 games, the Cubs promoted him to Triple-A. They weren't contending. Next season, the Cubs left Bryant down in Triple-A for eight big-league games in order to gain another season of control (they said it was to work on his defense, but everyone knows what they were doing).
I would expect a very similar route here with the Blue Jays and Guerrero. My money is on a big-league promotion after the first week or two of the season next year with this season about half and half in Double-A and Triple-A. Or maybe they wait a little longer like the Braves did with Ronald Acuna (22 games) this season, to try and avoid looking like they are so blatantly manipulating the service time.
Regardless, the pining for Vlad Jr. in the bigs will continue.