Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not worrying about whether he will start the season with the Blue Jays.
The 19-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero is considered baseball’s top prospect entering 2019. Yet, it would not be surprising if the Blue Jays kept the third baseman in the minor leagues for the first 15 days and delayed his debut until at least April 12.
By denying him 15 days of major league service, the Blue Jays would delay his eligibility for free agency by a year, until after the 2025 season.
“Controlling what I can control and then working hard everyday,” Guerrero said through a translator on Monday as the Blue Jays held their first full-squad workout. “Making the best out of it. Trying to get better every day and giving the best of me.”
Guerrero hit .402 at Double-A and .336 at Triple-A last year, combining for 20 homers and 78 RBIs.
“Can't relate to being 19 years old and being that even-keeled and cool like that kid is,” new Blue Jaus manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I'm impressed, to tell you the truth. That's the mark of a star. He's going to be a star someday, as we all know.”
Guerrero took part in defensive drills and made several smart plays during a bunting session. He earned a high-five from pitcher Justin Shafer after charging a bunt and picking up the ball barehanded, then making a strong and accurate to first.
In batting practice, Guerrero hit the ball with authority to all fields over 28 swings during six rounds.
“Really talented,” shortstop Freddy Galvis said. “He seems like a really good guy. Good mentality. He's a mature kid. Coming from his father, he was a hard worker. So, he has kind of the same mentality from what I've seen so far.”
When asked about being an improved player compared to a year ago, a smiling Guerrero said “wait for the next game and see.”