Toronto Blue Jays: International prospects that are speeding up the rebuild

SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 08: Lourdes Gurriel
SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 08: Lourdes Gurriel /
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The 18 year old, Montreal-born slugger has reinvigorated the Blue Jays farm. In his first season in Lansing, Guerrero has hit .314, with a .407 OBP and made the Futures Game in Miami.

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In 2015 Toronto lost a lot of its top-tier minor league prospects in trades for Troy Tulowitzki, LaTroy Hawkins, and David Price. But signing Guerrero in July of 2015 was a major boost to Toronto’s prospect depth. He signed for $3.9 million, the most the team has ever given to an international signee and seventh highest in MLB history.

Two seasons later Guerrero is Toronto’s number one prospect and 26th overall according to MLB Pipeline and is projected to crack the big league roster in 2019 at the age of 20.

For the 2015 signing period Toronto originally had a $2,324,100 spending cap. They swung a deal with the LA Dodgers, sending prospects Chase Dejong and Tom Locastro for an additional $1,071,300 in slot space. But they still went well over that cap with the Guerrero deal and as a result were barred from signing any prospects for over $300,000 in the 2016 signing period.

Teams that go 10-15 percent over their slot amount are fined and given a one year penalty. Clubs that go over 15 percent have a two year penalty – the trade with the Dodgers got the Jays to 14.86 percent.

"“We spent some time debating if we were (willing) to get one guy and sit out X amount of years,” said Toronto’s international scouting director Ismael Cruz. “Those guys don’t come across very often, so it was either play all your marbles on one guy or go out and get a couple of players that are fine but for us, Vladdy Jr., is a difference-maker. “He has the potential to be a very, very special kid.”"

Listed at 5’10 and 155 pounds Pardinho isn’t the can’t miss prospect that Guerrero was at 16 and some scouts have expressed concern about his size. But his fastball has reached 95 MPH and he will surely grow and fill out by the time he reaches the Majors.