"Our vision, it really comes down to development, so I just don't see him as a major-league player," Atkins said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio. "Pencil him in, it's done. He's 19 and he has accomplished everything that you can accomplish as an offensive player."
Atkins said there are "so many opportunities for him defensively" to "really maximize the power and the size and the strengths that he has." The Jays general manager said in mid-February the team won't rush Guerrero to the majors in order to allow him to become "the best possible third baseman" he can be.
"Everybody points to defense but it's really not just about defense," Atkins said. "It's about him having a 15-, 20-year career and starting with an incredible foundation.
"That's everything that encompasses ... the physical aspect - base running and the defense - and that physical aspect really plays into what kind of offensive player he's going to be. He has the ability to be so versatile and dynamic and we want to make sure we tap into all of that potential."
Guerrero is widely considered the best prospect in baseball but the timeline for his big-league debut remains unclear, despite his otherworldly minors numbers.
He slashed a gaudy .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs across four minor-league levels last season en route to the 2018 Minor League Player of the Year Award.
Many are expecting the Jays to keep Guerrero in the minors to manipulate his service time to give the team an extra year of contractual control.
The Atlanta Braves used the strategy with Ronald Acuna Jr. last season and the Chicago White Sox will likely do the same with Eloy Jimenez in 2019. The tactic has been criticized by the MLBPA, agents, and players like Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs who have experienced the "awful" service-time rules.