Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of the top hitting prospects in baseball and the son of the 1990s MLB slugger of the same name, has been called up from the minors and will make his debut for the Toronto Blue Jays this Friday, per MLB.com.
For the occasion, Guerrero’s father on Wednesday night posted a picture to Twitter of himself in a Montreal Expos uniform with his son, as a child, next to him, also in uniform.
“My son! The country that saw you as a child will now see you turn into a big one,” the elder Guerrero posted. “Working hard everything can be done. I’m proud of you!”
Guerrero Sr. played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball between 1996 and 2011 and was the star player in the final days of the Montreal Expos franchise before they moved to Washington. A career 0.318 hitter who hit 449 home runs, Guerrero was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
His son, though, has a chance to match his father’s accomplishments in the same country, Canada, where his dad began his career.
A third baseman, the 20-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been ranked in the top spot on more than one ranking of the top prospects in the game. Signed as an international free agent by Toronto when he was 16-years-old, Guerrero has been sailing through the minor leagues and was described by MLB.com as “the most hyped Minor League player in Blue Jays franchise history.”
“This is a big moment for the Toronto Blue Jays,” Blue Jays manager Montoyo said, per MLB.com. “He’s the No. 1 prospect in baseball. It’s coming Friday. It’s a big moment for us. Hopefully, he becomes what everybody thinks he’s going to become. That’s going to be good for all of us. The city of Toronto, the Blue Jays, the organization.”
There have been whispers, however, that the Blue Jays have manipulated the player’s service time. Per USA Today, Guerrero has been called up late enough in the season that he will be eligible for free agency a year later than he would have been had Guerrero been called up to the team at the start of the season. Teams are allowed to do this under baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, but players have occasionally filed grievances in response.
My son! The country that saw you as a child will now see you turn into a big one.— Vladimir Guerrero (@VladGuerrero27) April 25, 2019
Working hard everything can be done. I’m proud of you!
Love you! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WJyLBVKWoR
The younger Guerrero was born in 1999, and his father played for the Expos through 2003, so judging by his size in the picture, it was likely taken toward the end of the Hall of Famer’s Montreal tenure.