The wait is over. The time is now. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the top prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, and the most hyped Minor League player in Blue Jays franchise history, is heading to the big leagues.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo made the official announcement Wednesday evening following a 4-0 loss to the Giants. The highly anticipated move came just hours after Guerrero went 2-for-5 with a home run in his final game for Triple-A Buffalo.
The 20-year-old missed almost all of Spring Training with a strained oblique muscle. Wednesday marked the first time this year Guerrero played three consecutive days, which was believed to be the final hurdle he needed to pass before a promotion. After Guerrero cleared that obstacle, the callup for Friday's series opener vs. Oakland became a foregone conclusion.
"This is a big moment for the Toronto Blue Jays," Montoyo said. "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."
After months of non-stop hype and speculation, Guerrero closed out his Minor League career in style. In the top of the seventh inning, during Wednesday morning's game vs. Syracuse, Guerrero stepped into the box for his second-to-last at-bat and sent the ball deep over the wall in right for an opposite-field home run.
Guerrero likely finishes his time in the Minors -- minus any potential future rehab games -- with a career .331/.413/.531 slash line and 44 homers over parts of four seasons. In eight games for Buffalo this year, Guerrero hit .367 with three home runs, a double and eight RBIs over 30 at-bats. Outside of his defense, Guerrero had nothing left to prove in the Minors and should immediately step into a prominent role with the Blue Jays as their starting third baseman.
"I think we have to be patient, but I honestly think he's going to do well," Montoyo said. "Whatever happens, we have to be patient. Defensively, offensively, because he's 20-years-old. He's comfortable. He's not going to be nervous and scared of the big leagues. ... I think he'll be fine when he comes here."
Montoyo admitted Wednesday that he has already spent a lot of time thinking about where Guerrero will hit in the lineup. Toronto's first-year skipper wasn't prepared to make any definitive statements before Guerrero's arrival, but it's safe to assume that it won't take long at all for the Dominican native to become a permanent fixture in the heart of the batting order.
The Blue Jays also have spent the past several weeks talking about the roster changes that will be made as a result of Guerrero's arrival. Montoyo confirmed that Brandon Drury will shift from third to second when Guerrero joins the team. Veteran infielder Freddy Galvis, who is currently out with a sore left hamstring, is a possible candidate for the injured list to make room.
"I got to see a little bit of him when I was down in Florida," Blue Jays starter Clay Buchholz said. "He's pretty special. It's fun to watch him in the box. I actually pitched to him a couple of times and he definitely hit a hard ball off me. I think it's going to be good.
"I told him that his dad was the first hit that I gave up in the big leagues. It's pretty cool to be around the son of a guy that got the first hit off me in the big leagues. I think everybody is looking forward to it."
Montoyo has spent the last several weeks answering an endless stream of questions from reporters about the timing of Guerrero's arrival. Even though Guerrero wasn't even in the same country as his future teammates, he dominated the pregame talk on a daily basis. The ironic part is that the player Montoyo has talked about the most this year, is someone he hasn't seen more than a handful of times.
In some ways, Montoyo is just like the fanbase: eager to get his first real look at what the hype is all about.
"The funny thing about it, I haven't seen him play," Montoyo said. "I hear everything from everybody else, which I believe what people say. But the only time I saw him was in Spring Training, the 20 at-bats or so that I saw ... I want to see what everybody is talking about. In person."