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Blue Jays mid-term report card: Grade Lourdes Gurriel’s first half

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Lourdes Gurriel’s first half can be split nicely three ways.

He started the season as our second baseman. He didn’t hit. He didn’t field. And he didn’t last long. April 14th he was hitting .175/.250/.275. And he had made a couple of errors.

So the Blue Jays sent him down to Buffalo. In Buffalo he hit .276/.308/.480 with 13 doubles and 4 homes. Half his hit were for extra bases. He played 12 games at second, 7 games at short and 7 games in left field.

And then, May 24th, the Jays brought him back to Toronto to be our left fielder. Since coming back, he’s hit .355/.401/.739 with 14 home runs, 11 walks (pretty good for a buy who doesn’t walk).

In left field, he hasn’t has made an error yet. He couldn’t make the throw from second base to first and yet, from left field, he’s able to throw to any base without a problem. He has 6 assists (the next best Jay is Teoscar Hernandez at 3 assists).

UZR has him at -1.9 UZR/150. He doesn’t grade out all that well for range but that might have something do do with him standing on the outfield wall as a starting position. I’m hoping they will slowly more him a little closer to the field. He seems to be able to cover a fair bit of ground. He has this odd way of sliding to a ball, he slides to the right of the ball and reaches over to catch it. But it is working. He makes the catch.

He’s definitely a streaky hitter. Over his last 12 games, he’s hitting .431/.464/.863 with 6 home runs. I’d like him to take a walk a bit more often, but when he’s hitting like this, who wants to see him walk. Anyway, he’s walking 7.1% of the time this year, which is almost double Kevin Pillar’s career rate. IF he keeps hitting like this pitchers will be scared to pitch to him.

He’s going to strikeout a bunch. We’ll have to live with it. If he hits anywhere close to this, he can strikeout as much as he wants.

We’ve been worried that we don’t have a star outfielder in the system, but we may have made a star outfielder. If he had been playing this way since the start of the season, and playing left field, he’d be in the All-Star game and, maybe, battling Vlad in the Home Run Derby. With how our infield is shaping up, if we can have 1 star outfielder and 2 average ones, we could have a pretty good offense.

Go back a year or so we were thinking that Gurriel wasn’t going to be a major league player, or, at best, a utility player. Of course, it is possible that pitchers will figure out how to pitch to him, but it is looking like he should be a very good outfielder for the next several years. And I’m starting to think the hair is ok.


For the first half I’d grade Lourdes Gurriel an

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