Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. began the season down in Double A New Hampshire. Just four months later and he’s now arguably the number one option to be starting at shortstop for the Blue Jays. (Photo courtesy of @BlueJays Twitter)

There’s no denying Lourdes Gurriel Jr. plays hard and plays the game the right way.  Never lacking hustle, it’s an approach you love to see with a young player trying to establish himself in the big leagues.  The way Gurriel plays with max effort 100% of the time is reminiscent of Kevin Pillar from three years ago when he began the 2015 season in left field and was making one highlight reel play after another simply to earn his place as a starter.

Now that Gurriel has made it perfectly clear he isn’t going anywhere, it’s amazing to think how he’s leapfrogged so many players on Toronto’s depth chart.  As for where Gurriel should be playing, with his range and that rocket of an arm, he should be playing shortstop.  Before Gurriel went on this hit streak for the ages, he found himself behind both Troy Tulowitzki and Aledmys Diaz on the Blue Jays depth chart at shortstop.

That’s all changed now.

Gurriel has proven himself to be the sort of player the Blue Jays need in the line-up as often as possible.  Lets just say everyone is healthy to begin next season, it becomes a difficult decision as to which two players should be playing the middle infield.  Let me correct myself…it becomes a difficult decision to determine which single player should be playing alongside Gurriel up the middle.

Would the Blue Jays be better off having Gurriel at shortstop, with Devon Travis playing 2nd?  Or would it be better to have Gurriel at 2nd, so that Tulowitzki can resume his duties at shortstop?  It becomes a question of whether to go with Tulowitzki or Travis.  On the one hand, you’ve got a veteran who brings so much invaluable leadership and still plays (one would hope) solid defense.  Whereas with Travis, he doesn’t contribute as much defensively, but is capable of hitting .300 on a team that is often desperate for hits.

Gurriel’s emergence is the kind of thing the Blue Jays as a team will have to get used to over the coming years considering some of the talent they have steamrolling their way through the farm system.  Gurriel is just the first in what should be a steady procession of young players deserving to be in the starting line-up.  If the Blue Jays think it’s hard now trying to find a place for one newly established player, just wait until they have 3-4 of their top prospects more than ready to be playing in the majors.

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