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Scheduling quirk sets San Francisco Giants up to face MLB’s top prospect

PITTSBURGH — As rain began to fall in the area, Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker pounded against his chest and doffed his helmet to the crowd at PNC Park on Saturday after slamming his first career home run against the Giants.
Tucker’s major league debut was highly-anticipated in Pittsburgh, but it won’t come close to matching the excitement generated when Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reaches the big leagues.
It’s unclear exactly when that will happen, but all signs point to Tuesday’s game against the Giants as the logical date for Guerrero’s debut.
“That’s what I’m hearing, that he’s going to make his debut against us,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Guerrero is the latest heralded prospect who could make his debut against the Giants, joining Tucker and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr., who started on Opening Day against San Francisco in San Diego. Former Giants prospect Bryan Reynolds also debuted Saturday and recorded his first major league hit against his former franchise.
Bochy managed against Guerrero’s and Tatis’ fathers and also played with Tatis’ grandfather, Fernando Aanonio Tatis, in the Houston Astros’ minor league system.
“It shows you you’re getting old,” Bochy joked. “That’s the biggest thing about this. Tatis, his grandfather is the one I played with and it’s kind of cool to see these kids of ex-teammates and guys I managed against do so well.”
Bochy also knows Tucker’s father, Jackie, from time spent together during their childhoods in Melbourne, Florida.
All three infielders –Guerrero, Tatis and Tucker– are younger than every player on the Giants’ 40-man roster, but are promising talents who represent the next generation of the sport’s stars.
Last year, top Braves prospect Ronald Acuña Jr. made his home debut against the Giants in Atlanta and went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Acuña went 0-for-8 to start the series against the Giants, but other top prospects have enjoyed more successful debuts against the Giants.
Tatis recorded three hits in his first six at-bats to open the season while Tucker’s home run proved decisive in a 3-1, rain-shortened, five-inning win over the Giants.
If Guerrero lives up to expectations in his debut, the Giants could be in trouble.
“He’s a different hitter than I’ve ever seen,” said Giants reliever Travis Bergen, who played with Guerrero in the minor leagues. “In the minor leagues, I played with a lot of good players and he’s far and away the best minor league hitter.”
The Giants haven’t played in Toronto since they were swept in a two-game series in May, 2013. While the Blue Jays typically struggle to draw large crowds, that could change in an instant if the organization officially announces Guerrero will play his first big league game against the Giants on Tuesday.

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