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This has been a slow winter for off field activities so here is some diversion.

It is August 2nd, 2018. The Blue Jays are one game back of a wildcard spot. They cannot catch the Red Sox who are in first place.

You are in the midst of an injury crisis. Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales have just gone down with injuries that will keep them out for six to eight weeks, they might or might not be back for the end of the season. Steve Pearce was traded in the off-season so your options for first base from your current roster are Yangervis Solarte or Curtis Granderson.

The trade deadline has passed so you need to call up someone from the minor leagues or make a trade.

Minor league options include outfielders like Dalton Pompey or Dwight Smith, with Curtis Granderson or Yangervis Solarte covering first base (Anthony Alford is injured and Teoscar Hernandez is on the major league roster and playing); Rowdy Tellez who is hitting .250 in AAA; or Vlad Guerrero Jr. who is hitting .310 in AA.

All your front office personnel agree that Vlad Guerrero Jr. would add the most to your chances of winning a wild card spot.

Your minor league staff tell you that Vlad's bat is ready for the major leagues but his glove is not ready to play major league standard third base and he needs six more months of minor league time to be a major league third baseman. He has played a handful of games at first base and can easily play there.

However, if Vlad sticks in the major leagues he won't become a major league third baseman.

Your choices include:

Calling Vlad Jr. up now gives you the best chance to get a wild card berth.

Calling up Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith, Aledmys Diaz, or Rowdy Tellez. However these players would not give you the same chance to win as Guerrero.

You could try for a post-waiver deadline trade but the return is uncertain and would cost you a prospect.

However, once Guerrero is called up and hits, which no-one doubts he will, he will likely never go back to the minor leagues. He will then become a full time major league first baseman.

Alternately, you leave Vlad in the minors and have a major league ready third baseman in mid-2019.

Financially, calling Vlad up starts his service time clock, waiting until May 2019 gives you an extra year of control.

Do you call him up?

You Are The General Manager - August 2018 Version | 20 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
China fan - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 11:28 AM EST (#352610) #
Yes. I'm always in favour of whatever would maximize the team's chances at the playoffs. In the scenario you outlined, the Jays have a reasonable chance at the playoffs, so they should go for it. if everyone agrees that Guerrero is the best option to maximize their chances, I have no doubt that they should do it.

Gibbons has often mentioned the advantages of bringing up a rookie in the middle of the season. It helps the rookie's adjustment. The only disadvantage is financial -- the service time issue -- and I think the Jays can afford the cost. They shouldn't be penny-pinching if they have a shot at the playoffs.
China fan - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 11:30 AM EST (#352611) #
Also, in your scenario, you don't mention whether Donaldson has been extended or whether he is departing as a free agent. If JD is departing, there would be nothing preventing Guerrero from switching to 3B in 2019. A couple of months at 1B would not prevent him from switching to 3B later, if he is capable of it.
PeterG - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 11:41 AM EST (#352614) #
I would only call up Vlad if he has already had success at the AAA level. Otherwise no.
GabrielSyme - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 11:45 AM EST (#352616) #
I question the premise. If Guerrero is only hitting .310 in AA by August, I would doubt he'd be significantly better than a league-average hitter. Defensively, he would be entirely unfamiliar with first base.

I think you either make do with Solarte at 1B (league-average offense, should be capable defensively) or look to the trade market (even though the non-waiver deadline has gone, you should be able to get a platoon 1B at this point through the trade market).

One final option, if Jansen/McGuire have developed - put Martin at 1B occasionally, with more starts to Jansen or McGuire.
uglyone - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 11:59 AM EST (#352617) #
Of course I call vladdy up.

Mostly because I a) don't buy him as an MLB 3B going forward, b) don't think that a few more months playing their defensively in MILB would make a difference to his future there.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 12:03 PM EST (#352619) #
I'd love to have to make this decision.  You do need some additional information to make a fully-informed decision in addition to the Donaldson extension.  How is Hernandez doing?  Has one or more of the young pitchers (Borucki, Pannone, Reid-Foley, Greene) taken a step forward?  How is Bichette doing?  You are 1 game out a wild card spot, but along with how many other teams and how far behind the 1st wild card spot?  Guerrero is hitting .310, but how is W/K and power? How is Bichette doing, and is a conversion to third base in the offing for him?

Let's make some assumptions.  The team is 3 games above .500, 4 games behind the Yankees who are in the first wild card spot and 1 game behind the Angels who are in the second spot.  Two other clubs are a game above .500.  Hernandez has had a good year- on pace to hit 32 homers and to hit .265.  He looks like he's going to be a good player for several years at least.  One young pitcher, let's say Borucki, has taken a step forward, pitched very well in the pen beginning in June and has now made a couple of good starts in the majors. Another one in the minors, let's say Reid-Foley, is doing much better and looks like he too might be ready in 2019.  And Donaldson is still with the club, but not extended.  Let's say that Guerrero is hitting .310/.415/.550 in double A with an even W/K.  Bichette is at shortstop in New Hampshire and holding his own with bat and glove- .290/.350/.480; your scouts say it is still a stretch for him to play short, but a conversion to third or second base are both reasonable.  Devon Travis has been mostly healthy for the first 4 months of the season- missing only 10 days in June with a nasty flu, and has played in a way consistent with his career to date.

I don't buy that 2 months of major league work as a first baseman will preclude a return to third base- after 2 and 1/2 years at the position.  I do buy that it will make the transition back a little more difficult.  In the particular scenario I have envisaged, I wouldn't be too concerned about the position change. The service time is obviously a concern and I'd prefer to have a long-term deal with Guerrero Jr. before he gets called up.  It's a tough call, but I would probably call him up. 

ISLAND BOY - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 01:12 PM EST (#352622) #
I would call him up with the provision that he not play in the field much. I wouldn't want to set him back a few years just for a faint chance to make the playoffs. I don't think a team should worry about service time unless it's just a matter of spending a few months in the minors, and even then the parent team should be obligated to put the best team on the field at all times.

I also would not even think about a long term contract until you see Vlad Jr. play in the bigs for a few years. No rookie is a sure thing. See how he performs, and if he looks like he will be a star, then try to lock him down long-term. In the meantime you have a young player filling a position on a cheap salary allowing for more flexibility for the rest of the roster.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 01:44 PM EST (#352626) #
So with this premises, all of the Offseason acquisition are doing very well; Tory Tulowitzki, Devon Travis and Russell Martin are still HEALTHY!!! In what Universe are we in? It's not this one.
bpoz - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 01:44 PM EST (#352627) #
Successfully hitting in the Majors is probably the hardest thing to do. He can still be sent down if he struggles. Keep him up the rest of 2018 for the experience and save the option.

For 2019 3B is his because Donaldson is gone. Give him time to learn. 2019 could be the rebuild year with lots of youth. There could be a lot of growing pains. Remember Bell, Barfield and Mosbey.

Vlad will still be younger and faster than older players that are in their mid 30s. Well younger if not faster. Remember Rickey Henderson. Henderson was faster than Delgado I think. Also Willie Wilson faster than a young Olerud. Actually Olerud was not allowed to steal or hit triples due to the brain concern.
bpoz - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 01:48 PM EST (#352628) #
I agree with Richard. Good health and success are contagious.
mathesond - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 02:13 PM EST (#352629) #
I expect Olerud wasn't allowed to steal because he was only successful of 3 of 8 attempts as a Blue Jay (he was 11 for 25 for his career, plus a post-season theft while with Seattle). He did manage to hit 6 of his 13 career triples while playing for Toronto.
budgell - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 02:19 PM EST (#352630) #
Haven't looked at other responses.
If you're saying that by waiting, Vlad is guaranteed MLB at 3rd going forward than I go with one of the other options
But as someone who doesn't believe Jr sticks at 3rd I say call him up, service time be damned. Flags fly forever and, if he's hitting 310 in AA with the same/similar plate discipline as he's shown so far, I want that on my team (and TV) asap
soupman - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 03:41 PM EST (#352636) #
the sooner vlad gets called up the sooner i can enjoy watching him lift the world series trophy...wearing pinstripes.
dan gordon - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 04:06 PM EST (#352639) #
I would play Solarte at 1B, promote Guerrero to AAA and see how he hits there. If Solarte is hitting well, leave things as is. If he is just OK or worse, and Guerrero has success at AAA, call him up in late August/early September. Reasoning - if you use the rough translation of a .310 average in AA to the majors at about 25-30 points lower per level, Guerrero would be hitting about .250 - .260 with some power in the majors - I think Solarte can do that or a bit better.
uglyone - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 04:17 PM EST (#352640) #
The projection systems, based on his numbers only in single A so far, already have him about a league average hitter in the big leagues right now - Steamer 103wrc+/Zips 92wrc+ = Average 98wrc+.

If he posts a similar line in AA this year as to what he posted in single A last year, that projection will increase significantly to well above average.
dan gordon - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 04:36 PM EST (#352644) #
The accuracy of any system of estimating what a player might hit 2 or more levels higher is, of course, problematic. I also expect Solarte to be an above average hitter now that he is away from San Diego. That's why I suggest seeing how Solarte hits and how Guerrero hits in AAA. Another factor not stipulated in the scenario is how has Guerrero's season gone from April to August. If he hit .220 in April, .270 in May, .320 in June, .380 in July, that's a different story. In that case, I'd say bring him up now.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 04:39 PM EST (#352646) #
if you use the rough translation of a .310 average in AA to the majors at about 25-30 points lower per level, Guerrero would be hitting about .250 - .260 with some power in the majors - I think Solarte can do that or a bit better.

The New Hampshire to Toronto power translation for a right-handed hitter is not at all clear.  There are the usual quality of competition issues, park effects and the apparent dampening effect of the minor league ball as compared with the major league ball. 
uglyone - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 04:52 PM EST (#352649) #
"The accuracy of any system of estimating what a player might hit 2 or more levels higher is, of course, problematic."

most definitely. but we're trying to guess at potential impact this year so I thought it's useful to see what they thought.

Just to add, that's based on hitting lines where he hit .323 last year and .271 the year before.
dan gordon - Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 05:23 PM EST (#352651) #
Mike that's a fascinating article about the difference between the major league ball and the minor league ball. I had no idea that such a huge discrepancy existed. The player they examined (Mancini) basically doubled his HR rate when he reached the big leagues due to hitting the major league ball instead of the minor league ball, and the difference can be explained by examining the physics of the ball's drag coefficient. It helps to explain guys like Aaron Judge, who hit 17, 20 and 19 HR's in his 3 full minor league seasons, and then suddenly hit 52 in the big leagues. Frankly, I find this kind of disturbing. If mlb used the same ball as the minors, maybe Judge only hits about 26 HR's. We're getting a very distorted view of players' abilities. There shouldn't be such a huge difference in the ball. Ideally, they should be the same, I would think. Also, it would seem to indicate that minor league hitters are better than you think, and minor league pitchers are not as good as you think. Maybe opens up the possibility of adding value by trading pitching prospects for hitting prospects.
AWeb - Friday, January 19 2018 @ 11:27 AM EST (#352665) #
A few weird assumptions to make (why can't he ever play 3B again?), but playing along with them, I'm calling up Vlad right away. Take the shot this year, because there are no guarantees in the future, especially with a middling payroll.

There's nothing wrong with having a great player at 1B. Delgado, McGriff, having these guys was a great thing. Since Delgado left at the end of 2004, here are the primary 1B according to baseball reference:
Eric Hinske (1.1 WAR)
Lyle Overbay (3.2, 1.1, 2.6, 2.9, 2.5) (five years!)
Adam Lind (0.2, 0.3)
Edwin Encarnacion (4.0, 3.6)
Smoak (1.3, -0.4, 3.2)

That's not as terrible as I remember, and Overbay was nicely average+ for five years, but Delgado had 6 seasons better than any of these, McGriff had 3, and Olerud had 1 (he didn't peak until he left). I'd take a hypothetical ready to go Guerrero for 6-7 years. Heck, just sign Donaldson, Arenando, or Machado if you need a 3B later. Hypothetical money is no object!
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