Blue Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo confirmed on Wednesday that Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the industry-wide consensus top prospect in baseball, will join the team on Friday and make his major-league debut against the Athletics. There had been plenty of speculation that the 20-year-old third baseman could make his highly-anticipated Toronto debut in late-April, but is finally official. The term “generational talent” gets thrown around with almost reckless abandon these days, but it seems to be the only way to adequately characterize Guerrero, who has posted eye-popping numbers throughout his meteoric rise to the big leagues. An oblique injury sidelined him in spring training and ended any hope of him cracking the Opening Day roster, but he’s returned fully healthy and spent the last two weeks vaporizing International League pitching, recording an absurd .360/.429/.640 triple-slash with a pair of homers and seven RBI in seven games at Triple-A Buffalo.
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There are very few sure things in fantasy baseball, but Guerrero profiles as an immediate four-category fantasy superstar, a potential middle-of-the-order masher capable of tapping into his prodigious raw power without sacrificing batting average. He won’t chip in more than a handful of bases, but he possesses surreal bat-to-ball contact ability, sublime plate discipline and also showcases the ability to drive the ball to all fields. After hitting .381/.437/.637 with 47 extra-base hits (20 homers) and walking nearly as many times (36) as he struck out (37) in 91 games between Double-A and Triple-A last year, Guerrero received an 80 overall prospect grade from Baseball America, the highest grade possible on the 20/80 scouting scale. Given league-wide proliferation in over-the-fence power, thanks to the composition of the actual major-league (and Triple-A) baseball, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him eclipse the 30-homer plateau in his first exposure to big-league pitching.
The storyline with the biggest implications to emerge on Wednesday centered around a bullpen shakeup in Los Angeles. In a rather shocking turn of events, Angels' manager Brad Ausmus announced Wednesday that veteran right-hander Cody Allen -- who inked a one-year, $8.5 million deal as a free agent this past offseason -- is no longer the team's closer. He’s indicated that they'll use the other options in the ninth inning while trying to get the veteran right-hander back on track. Despite not blowing a save in four chances so far, the 30-year-old veteran has gotten off to a shaky start, posting a bloated 5.40 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 9/7 K/BB ratio across 8 1/3 innings this season. The most likely candidate to fill the void is 26-year-old righty Ty Buttrey, who converted four saves and recorded a 3.31 ERA and 20/5 K/BB ratio across 16 1/3 innings of work as a rookie last year. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a plethora of options like Hansel Robles, Cam Bedrosian, Luis Garcia or Justin Anderson all factor into the mix as well. The Angels’ quagmire is the latest in the league-wide proliferation of the committee approach. Firmly entrenched closers are a dying breed and it feels like only a matter of time before the entire league trends in this direction, eschewing traditional bullpen roles in favor of mixing and matching in high-leverage situations.
AL Quick Hits: An MRI on Carlos Carrasco's left knee came back negative and he expects to be ready to make his next start … Shohei Ohtani (elbow) faced live pitching for the first time on Wednesday, taking four at-bats in a simulated game. He also extended his throwing regimen to 100 feet and remains on track for a return to the Angels at some point in early May. … Yankees' manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday that Giancarlo Stanton is fully recovered from the biceps strain that landed him on the injured list, but that he also required a cortisone shot in his left shoulder. … Miguel Andujar (shoulder) could play third base in an extended spring training game this weekend … Clint Frazier was sent for an MRI on his injured left ankle on Wednesday. ... X-rays have revealed that Rays infielder Joey Wendle suffered a fractured right wrist when he was hit by a pitch during Wednesday game versus the Royals. … Brett Anderson (ankle) threw a bullpen session Wednesday and is on track to start Friday versus the Blue Jays. … Tyler Skaggs (ankle) will come off the injured list to start against the Royals on Friday. … Blake Snell allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings in his return to the Rays’ rotation Wednesday after a minimum stay on the injured list with a fractured fourth right toe. … Adalberto Mondesi went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI and Whit Merrifield went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, two walks, and three runs in the Royals’ blowout win over the Rays. … Jose Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, four RBI, and a stolen base to power the Indians past the Marlins. … J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored to help the Red Sox rout the Tigers. … Justin Verlander posted eight strikeouts over eight innings of one-run ball to propel the Astros past the Twins. … Felix Hernandez notched eight strikeouts over seven frames in a loss to the Padres … Chad Pinder delivered a walk-off single to lift the Athletics past the Rangers. … Nomar Mazara clobbered a pair of homers in the loss … Andrelton Simmons launched a pair of solo homers, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Angels to a win over the Yankees. … Gary Sanchez went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in his return to the Yankees’ lineup after being activated from the 10-day injured list. … Jakob Junis was removed from Wednesday's start against the Rays with a right hand contusion after being hit by a line drive. … Taylor Hearn will start for the Rangers on Thursday against the Mariners in Seattle. … Rays optioned Ryan Yarbrough to Triple-A Durham.
NL Quick Hits: According to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Brewers and Gio Gonzalez agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract on Wednesday. … Anthony Rendon (elbow) remained out of the Nationals' lineup Wednesday. He hasn't played since being hit on the left elbow by a pitch last Saturday. … Rockies activated Daniel Murphy from the 10-day injured list. … Starling Marte (abdomen) resumed light baseball activities Wednesday. … Kirby Yates recorded his major league-leading 12th save of the season in a win over the Mariners on Wednesday. … Chris Paddack racked up a career-high nine strikeouts over seven shutout frames in the win. … Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run in the Phillies’ lopsided win over the Mets. … Javier Baez clobbered a three-run homer to help the Cubs defeat the Dodgers. … Cody Bellinger launched his 12th round-tripper of the season in the loss. … German Marquez struck out eight batters over seven innings in a win over the Nationals. … David Dahl notched three hits and Charlie Blackmon launched his third homer of the season in that one. … Marcell Ozuna popped a three-run home run and reached base three times Wednesday as the Cardinals completed a sweep of a three-game series against the Brewers. … Ketel Marte clubbed two home runs and notched four RBI in the Diamondbacks’ win over the Pirates. … Josh Bell went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the losing effort … Mike Soroka whiffed seven batters over 5 2/3 frames in the Braves win over the Reds. … Phillies outfielder Roman Quinn exited Wednesday's game against the Mets with a right groin strain. … Cardinals activated OF Harrison Bader from the 10-day injured list. … Jon Lester (hamstring) will rejoin the Cubs' rotation on Thursday against the Dodgers. … Corey Dickerson (shoulder) has resumed throwing on flat ground and is hitting without restrictions. … Phillies recalled RHP Enyel De Los Santos from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.