19-year-old Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. is destroying Double-A pitching

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Blue Jays minor league third baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. — yep, the son of the former major leaguer by the same name — is baseball’s No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, behind Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña.

Guerrero, who is only 19 years old, has been proving why he’s worthy of such a high ranking, entering Monday’s action batting .398/.455/.624 with three home runs, 30 RBI, and 20 runs scored in 113 plate appearances with Double-A New Hampshire. He kept it going on Monday, blasting a pair of no-doubt homers. Baseball America’s Ben Badler provided the video:

MLB Pipeline expects Guerrero to reach the majors next year, but it shouldn’t be long before he earns a promotion to Triple-A. He signed with the Jays as an international free agent back in July 2015.

Guerrero isn’t the only son of a former major leaguer making waves. Padres minor league shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. is baseball’s No. 8 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. Bo Bichette, playing shortstop at Double-A for the Jays, is the son of Dante Bichette, who spent most of his 14-year career with the Rockies. Bichette is ranked No. 13 in baseball among prospects. In other news, I feel old. I vividly remember Tatis, Sr. hitting two grand slams in one inning off of Chan Ho Park back in 1999.

Astros star Altuve has surgery on broken thumb, a WBC injury

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Houston Astros star Jose Altuve had surgery Wednesday on his broken right thumb, an injury that occurred in the World Baseball Classic and will significantly delay the second baseman’s 2023 debut.

The Astros announced that the 32-year-old Altuve had the procedure done in Houston and will stay there to begin his rehabilitation, with only one week left in spring training. The Astros will fly there on Sunday following their final Grapefruit League game in Florida, before playing a pair of exhibitions against their Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, in Texas.

Altuve was hit by a pitch on Saturday while playing for Venezuela in the WBC. He might not be ready to return to the lineup until at least late May. The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP batted .300 with 103 runs, 28 homers and 18 steals for the World Series champion Astros last season. Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are the leading candidates to fill in for Altuve at second base.

Altuve isn’t the only Major League Baseball star who was hurt in WBC play, of course. Mets closer Edwin Díaz will miss the 2023 season because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee as the freak result of an on-field celebration following a WBC win by the Puerto Rico national team.


The Astros also scratched right-hander Hunter Brown from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Brown, who is ranked by MLB as the organization’s top prospect and competing for the last spot in the rotation, has discomfort in his lower back.


The New York Mets sent catcher Francisco Álvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the opening day roster.

Álvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League exhibition games. Ranked by MLB as the third-best prospect in baseball, Álvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.

The Mets have newcomer Omar Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher with Tomás Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.

Speaking of the Mets, Díaz turned 29 on Wednesday – a rather subdued milestone for the right-hander considering his situation. Diaz nonetheless posted in Spanish an upbeat message on his Twitter account, thanking God for another year of life and describing his health as good and his outlook as positive in this initial stage of the roughly eight-month rehabilitation process.