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Blue Jays Won't Rush Vlad And Bo To Toronto

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The Blue Jays invited 13 prospects who don't appear on the 40-man roster to big league camp. Conspicuously absent from the list are two of baseball’s very best prospects: third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette.

What’s up with that?

"Vlad and Bo certainly met the performance and teammate criteria, but they both have less than half a season above Low A,” director of player development Gil Kim said. "The thought is that both would greatly benefit from the reps of individual skill development they will get at early camp.”

The early camp will take place on the minor league side, and keeping the teenagers out of major league camp underlines how careful the Blue Jays continue to be with the pair of potential cornerstones.

Certainly the hype continues to build around both youngsters, but president and CEO Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins have—ever since they arrived—emphasized not skipping steps with any prospect.

Guerrero and Bichette finished last season at high Class A Dunedin after promotions following the Futures Game, and the Blue Jays have been cognizant of trying to manage expectations that one or both could debut in 2018. Guerrero signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 and ranked second in the minors last season with a .425 on-base percentage. Bichette, a 2016 second-rounder out of high school, hit .362 to claim the minor league batting title.

Guerrero and Bichette were the headliners during the club’s annual development camp in Toronto, enjoying a week-long preview of life with the Blue Jays during the January chill.

But steps remain in their development process, and while there’s constant speculation about whether Guerrero could break through this year, the Blue Jays are doing their best to avoid feeding into it.

"The basis for spring training invites is generally some combination of upper-level experience, performance and teammate qualities,” Kim said.

The Blue Jays invited five non-roster position players to big league camp: catcher Max Pentecost, multi-position infielders Jason Leblebijian and Tim Lopes and outfielders J.D. Davis and Roemon Fields.

JAYS CHATTER

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• Toronto also invited eight homegrown non-roster pitchers: righthanders Andrew Case, Jon Harris, Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano, Chris Rowley and Justin Shafer; and lefthanders Jose Fernandez and Chad Girodo.

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