Toronto Blue Jays: This should be Guerrero Jr’s last season at 3B

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 27: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays grounds out against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fourth inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 27, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 27: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays grounds out against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fourth inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 27, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of the Toronto Blue Jays top young players, is currently entrenched at third base for the foreseeable future. Given his defensive numbers and movement on the diamond after his rookie season, this should probably be his last year on the hot corner.

Coming into 2019, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the top-ranked prospect not only in the Toronto Blue Jays organization but in the entire MLB.

Known for his eye at the plate and raw power in the box, Guerrero Jr. did get off to a rather slow start to his MLB career, going 4 for 26 in his first 7 games without any home runs and only 1 RBI. By the start of August, Guerrero Jr. started to find his groove and was putting the ball in play, and would go on to finish his rookie season with a .272/.339/.433 slash line, 15 home runs, 69 RBI’s and a .772 OPS.

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Defensively, Guerrero Jr. did struggle to live up to the expectations of being an everyday third baseman. He tied for second place for errors committed by third baseman with 17 and would finish with a .936% fielding percentage, finishing 34 out of 37 for all 3B in the entire league.

Given that it was his rookie season, one could argue that he was still getting his feet wet at the MLB level and maybe next year could see an improvement to his fielding ability. To be fair, Guerrero Jr. has noticeably lost some weight this off-season given his social media accounts and this could help with his movement at third base, which could in turn help with his fielding.

The reason I suggest moving Vladito away from third base stems more towards making space for another top prospect in the Blue Jays system in the form of infielder Jordan Groshans.

Groshans is very similar to Guerrero Jr. in that both players are known for their hitting ability and bat speed in the box, as well as getting on base and driving in runs. They also both have had some issues with fielding, but Groshans has the upper hand when it comes to speed and overall fielding ability on the defensive side of the diamond.

As of right now, Groshans currently splits his time between shortstop and third base, but an injury-plagued 2019 season saw the right-hander take more reps at shortstop. The only problem with this scenario is that the Toronto Blue Jays have a very dependable player manning that position in Bo Bichette, which could prevent Groshans from making the active roster given that Bichette is not going anywhere anytime soon.

If I had it my way, I would move Groshans over to third base and keep him there permanently, given that the shortstop and second base (occupied by Cavan Biggio) positions currently have solid MLB options, and let him grow and work at third while working to move up the Blue Jays farm system. He does have the arm and speed to play at third base, so this really wouldn’t be too far out of his comfort zone or setting him up for failure, with many scouts already saying he’s more of a lock at third compared to shortstop.

Given that Groshans is still an estimated 1-2 years away from making the MLB, this would allow Guerrero Jr. to keep playing third base over the next season and continually getting into the lineup before his replacement arrives on the scene.

Once Groshans arrives, you would then have Guerrero Jr. move over to the 1B/DH role, where you can now have both players in the batting order, along with other Blue Jays young stars in Biggio and Bichette.

Guerrero Jr. could even platoon with Rowdy Tellez or Travis Shaw (depending on who wins that battle after the 2020 season ends) which keeps all the power bats in the lineup but also allows the players to be rested for the rigorous 162 game schedule. You could even play the righty/lefty pitcher to batter matchup as well given Shaw and Tellez both bat left and Guerrero Jr. bats right-handed.

By having Guerrero Jr. move across the diamond, the Toronto Blue Jays can now have their top bats in the lineup on a regular basis with ample coverage if a player gets hurt or needs a day off. This would also help the team from a fielding standpoint given Groshans does project to be a better fit at third over Guerrero Jr., which would prevent errors and unearned runs from happening over the course of the game, hopefully resulting in more wins.

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In the end, I don’t see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being the long term option at third base for the Toronto Blue Jays, and by having Jordan Groshans prepare to take over third base now while he is still developing in the minor leagues, the Blue Jays roster could shape up to be even more exciting than it already is.