No hype added here. With a name and heritage like Vladimir Guerrero Jr, the hype has surely preceded him everywhere he has gone in his life.
For those of you who have lived under a rock for the last 20 years – Vlad’s father is the great Vladimir Guerrero, who hit 449 home runs with a career .319 average, while playing right field for 16 seasons in the big leagues between 1996-2011. Vlad, Sr. was known for his cannon of an arm and ability to hit any pitch within 3 feet of the plate.
While some guys can be overwhelmed by the expectations that come from following their father’s footsteps, Vlad Jr seems to be flourishing – he even embraces some of his father’s style at the plate.
Vlad Jr was signed as an international free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays in July of 2015 for $3.9 million, at 16 years old. From the start of his first minor league season in 2016, he just hasn’t stopped hitting since.
2016 season – 62 games, 8 home runs, .271 average.
2017 season – 119 games across two MiLB levels, 13 home runs, .323 average.
This year the Blue Jays promoted Vlad Jr to their AA affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a team that also includes top prospect Bo Bichette, and also two other sons of prominent big leaguers – Cavan Biggio, son of Craig Biggio; and Lourdes Gurriel Jr (brother of Houston’s Yulieski), whose father was a star in the Cuban baseball league and a part of the Cuban Olympic team that won the gold medal in 1992.
In what is virtually an all-star team of top prospects, Vlad Jr has been a man among boys. Yesterday he went 4 for 5 with a home run and 2 doubles, which has become just another day at the office for him. In 34 games he has 56 hits, 23 for extra bases. His batting average is an other-worldly .415, with 7 home runs and 40 RBI. Add in that Vlad Jr has more walks thus far than he has strikeouts, and that he’s playing in a league with guys who are 5 years older on average, you start to see that this is one special 19-year-old.
The future is undoubtably bright in Toronto, and while baseball is still a business – one wonders just how long the Blue Jays can afford to keep this young slugger, arguably the best hitting prospect in the minors, out of their big league lineup.
Photo credits: yardbarker.com
Video credit: YouTube.com
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