Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Focus on Changing Positions from 3B to 1B

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 10, 2020

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. rounds the bases after a solo home run during a spring training baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays are taking steps to maximize Vladimir Guerrero's strengths as a hitter by easing his defensive burden starting this season. 

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters on Friday the 21-year-old will be moved off third base to "to focus on [first base] and [designated hitter]."

When Guerrero was making his way through the minors, two things most scouting reports agreed on was his ability to hit and his limited defensive skill set. 

"The knock on Baby Vlad is that he's probably a DH in the long run," Keith Law wrote on ESPN.com in Jan. 2019. "He's enormous, and though he's a good athlete for his size, he has gotten so big so quickly that it's hard to imagine him at any position, let alone third base, where he isn't quick enough on his feet to play now and brings only a plus arm to the table."

Despite having essentially no defensive profile, Law ranked Guerrero as the No. 2 prospect in MLB heading into last season. It's a testament to how highly-regarded he is at the plate. 

Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com wrote last year that Guerrero is "one of the best offensive prospects we've seen."

Among 24 players with at least 800 innings at third base last season, Guerrero ranked last in FanGraphs' defensive value (-8.0) and Ultimate Zone Rating (-9.4). 

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Guerrero did post a promising .272/.339/.433 slash line with 15 home runs and 69 RBI in 123 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2019. 

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