I probably should have taken his words more seriously when Yuli Gurriel was quoted earlier this year as saying his brother Lourdes was an even better hitter than he was. High praise indeed coming from someone with a lifetime .294 AVG, who’s also become such a key component of the celebrated Astros offense.
As much as I felt Yuli was simply saying what any encouraging older brother would, the more time Lourdes spends up with the Blue Jays, the more it appears that his brothers words might be right.
Lourdes has proven himself to be such a good contact hitter that the Blue Jays will need to find a position for him come next season. A task easier said than done given that Troy Tulowitzki and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will likely be the starting duo on the left side of the infield. Assuming that both shortstop and 3rd base are spoken for, that leaves either 2nd base or somewhere in the outfield for Gurriel.
As for 2nd base, that position is pretty much reserved for Devon Travis who can’t really play anywhere else. There’s always the possibility Travis gets traded to make way for Gurriel, but the offensively limited Blue Jays probably shouldn’t be getting into the habit of trading away one of their better contact hitters. Travis may only be hitting .245 now, but he still has a lifetime .282 AVG, and may very well be hitting that come the end of the season.
There’s been some talk of Gurriel becoming a super utility player, similar to what the Astros have with Marwin Gonzalez or the Red Sox with Brock Holt. Normally I’d be against such a thing with a young player like Gurriel. But considering how the Blue Jays have no starting positions available, perhaps a role as utility player may be the only way of providing him with the opportunity of playing 140 games in 2019.
With such a healthy number of solid infielders, and nowhere near the organizational depth when it comes to outfielders, the outfield might just be where Gurriel gets plenty of his playing time. I understand there’s plenty of fans out there who like an outfield consisting of Kevin Pillar, Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk. Unfortunately, each of these players has some glaring holes in their game. And until they sort them out, we’ll be talking more frequently about the possibility of playing hot hitting infielders like Gurriel in the outfield so that his bat can remain in the line-up.