With the Philadelphia Phillies possibly playing more games against the AL East this year, we look at five Toronto Blue Jays who will present a challenge.
The Philadelphia Phillies already find themselves in a division with a lot of depth. While it remains uncertain whether there will be a 2020 season, as negotiations continue between the MLB and MLBPA, one schedule proposal floating around is for games to be played regionally at home ballparks.
For the Phillies, regional is east, which means the entire regular season schedule could feature games against only the NL East and AL East.
If that were the case, there will be opponents from the AL East who the Phillies don’t play as often as those in the National League. One such team is the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, the Phillies and Jays face-off each year in spring training, but the regular season is different. Last season, there were no regular season games between the Phillies and Jays.
With the potential of facing some new names, we take a look at five Blue Jays who the Phillies will not want to face.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The Blue Jay gathering the most attention as the franchise’s face of the future is third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., MLB Pipeline’s top prospect in 2018 and son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero.
Guerrero Jr. made his major league debut at the start of last season after finishing 2018 with a combined 20 HR, 78 RBI and .381/.437/.636 slash line in 95 games in the minor leagues.
It took him seven games to record his first major league RBI and 14 games to record his first major league home run, having a total of eight HR and 25 RBI entering the All-Star break, where he took part in the Home Run Derby.
Guerrero Jr. did everything but win the derby, advancing to the final round by beating Joc Pederson in a second tiebreaker, 40 HR to 39. In the final round, he lost to Pete Alonso by one homer, finishing with a single-Derby record of 91 home runs.
Guerrero Jr. significantly increased his RBI and batting average numbers as the regular season continued, ending the year with 15 HR, 69 RBI and a .272/.339/.433 slash line in 123 games.
While he has yet to face the Phillies in regular season action, he impressed in 16 interleague games, primarily against the NL West, hitting four HR, nine RBI and .379/.455/.638. As a top prospect, who’s shown improvement as the season progressed, and who National League pitchers are not yet familiar with, Guerrero Jr. could provide a challenge for the Phillies this year.