by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Blue Jays signed Lourdes Gurriel, the younger brother of Yulieski Gurriel, with a lot of hype after his defection from Cuba. His first professional season didn’t go as planned, hitting .229 with 5 HR and 3 SB over 236 AB between High-A and Double-A. Those numbers caused the now 24-year old to fall off the map for many, but a quick start to 2018 has changed that.
First he was tearing it up at Double-A (.347/.382/.510) over his first 12 games, then came today’s news that he’d earned a promotion directly to the Majors. There obviously are questions about his playing time, but it’s not like Toronto has been getting tremendous production from either middle infield spot:
- Second Base – .169/.250/.200 (the SLG is worst in the league)
- Shortstop – .233/.313/.517 (the SLG is Top 10, but the AVG/OBP are both mediocre)
It’s a big jump, but given those numbers it’s easy to envision an opportunity being given to establish himself. Even during his struggles last season Gurriel showed an ability to make consistent contact (16.9% strikeout rate, courtesy of an 8.9% SwStr%). It’s an extremely small sample size, but he’s bettered that mark while at Double-A this season (7.8% SwStr%), and while he won’t be able to maintain a .364 BABIP he looks to have the potential to hit .270ish or better.
Prior to his signing Baseball America described him by saying he:
“has shown above-average speed and defensive ability in the outfield, and scouts would like to see him give infield a try. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder has long arms and some holes in his swing as a result but also has shown above-average power potential.”
It will be interesting to see if he is exposed a bit in the Majors or if he has closed those holes and continue to make consistent contact. He has yet to tap into his power, but he was hitting a lot of fly balls at Double-A (48.8%) and it’s possible that it comes quickly (especially playing half his games in Toronto).
While there are no guarantees, for those in deeper formats Gurriel appears to be a gamble worth taking.
Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:
- 10 Team League – Monitor, but to shallow to make move
- 12 Team League – Worth Stashing
- 14+ Team League – Good Add
- AL-Only League – Good Add
- Keeper/Dynasty – Must Add
Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings? Make sure to check it out by clicking here. Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists:
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, Baseball America