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Better Know Your Blue Jays 40-man: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting, waiting for a transaction, doesn’t exactly make you want to write about other things, but the Jays seem to be testing our patience.

Lourdes Gurriel has had four seasons in the majors and has two years left on his original $22 million contract.

Once again, he had a slow start to the season. He seems the reverse of Randal Grichuk. Randal seems to start hot, Lourdes cold. As always, it would be best to start hot. Managers, broadcasters, fans, all are slow to catch onto that Lourdes has got the bat going.

May 13th, Lourdes was hitting .195/.215/.276. And then started the slow climb towards his regular numbers, finishing the season .276/.319/.466, not quite up there with his career numbers, but pretty respectable.

The trouble is that when you start slow, and the manager needs to sit someone out, you will be the guy. So while Randal Grichuk moves up in the other, you move down and sometimes out. Lourdes and Randal ended up with about the same number of at-bats, but Lourdes finished with a 111 OPS+, Randal 89. Lourdes finished with a 2.7 bWAR, Grichuk 0.8.

I thought that Gurriel was a hot weather hitter, but we started the season in Dunedin, and Dunedin in spring is pretty warm.

Lourdes is 28 this year, just in his prime. It would be nice to have that great season this year, get off to a good start and carry it through the season.

Gurriel was a 'finalist' for the Gold Glove in left field for the second time. I don't know if I'm missing something or if the voters are, but I don't see him as one of the best defensive left-fielders in the league. He has an excellent arm, but he often takes interesting routes to play balls. He doesn't go back on the ball well, though he is getting better, and sometimes, he goes for sliding catches when he shouldn't. FanGraphs has him at a -0.5 UZR/150.

The team doesn't seem to think a lot of his defense either. When it is time for a defensive replacement in the outfield, Lourdes is the one who comes out of the game. You would think that if Lourdes deserved consideration for a Gold Glove, they wouldn't take him out of the game for defensive reasons.

He is a very likable guy and fun to watch. You know something interesting will happen when he is in the game.

Last year in spring training, the team had Lourdes working at third base and first base. We asked which spot he would play more. 13% said first, 33% said third, and 55% said neither. He ended up playing 68 innings at first and none at third.

And we set the over/under on home runs at 25. 60% took the over. He was just under at 21.

This year, PECOTA figures him to play 144 games, with 19 home runs and a .267/.317/.439 line. That's a bit of a step down from last year.

With his contract running out at the end of next season, the team may want to make a decision on trading him or not this year. His trade value would drop in the last year of his contract. But we don't have any outfield prospects ready to take a spot in the majors.

Poll

If the over/under for Gurriel’s games played is 144 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Over
    (136 votes)
  • 61%
    Under
    (216 votes)
352 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If the over/under on Gurriel’s home runs is 20 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Over
    (326 votes)
  • 10%
    Under
    (38 votes)
364 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Gurriel still be a Blue Jay in September?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes
    (220 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (68 votes)
  • 23%
    Yes September, but he’ll be gone before the start of the 2023 season.
    (87 votes)
375 votes total Vote Now